When a Kick-Ass Class Leaves You Feeling Less Than 100%


I woke up today to what I like to call a yoga hangover. It feels a little taboo to put it that way, but it’s true. As I got out of bed today, my body felt achy, my stomach felt queasy and I felt really foggy moving through my morning routine. It definitely took more time than usual to get into the flow of my day.

How does one get a “yoga hangover” you ask?

For the first time in a long time, I attended one of my favorite Vinyasa classes last night. Most Mondays my schedule does not allow for such a treat, but yesterday was different. My schedule changed and low and behold I was able to make it to class. Class was challenging, yet fun. I recall that about halfway through I thought, “wow, either I’m out of shape or some stuff is really moving here.” The queasiness started mid-flow. Listening to my body I could tell the toxins were releasing. It wasn’t pleasant, but I kept moving and breathing and working with the asana.

Asana is designed to build your internal fire, or tapas, in order to burn off the impurities and toxins that build up in the body. Whether that’s from too much stress, overeating or drinking too much, or in my case, a new regiment of medicines to get my health back on track (ironic, eh?), toxins build up in the body and our asana practice works to break them down and flush them out. Getting rid of toxins helps to clear the body of all the rubbish we put in it (knowingly or not) so that our prana (life force) can move more freely within us. In the end, the clearing out of toxins helps us live healthier, stronger, happier lives. So what do we do when the “yoga hangover” hits? There are not a lot of people out there talking about how crappy they feel after class. Which begs the question, are we too proud to even admit that we have a yoga hangover? I have to say, I almost didn’t prepare this piece thinking I’d be too harshly judged for associating yoga with a hangover. In my opinion, this observation is not a bad thing, only honesty around an experience that many of us may have had from time to time. We always hear about the wonderful and miraculous emotional and spiritual break-thrus one might have when practicing, but waking up the next day following a kick-ass class and feeling like crap…not so much. I imagine just starting a new yoga practice and feeling like I did and never wanting to go back again. Trust me, this happened to a friend of mine and no matter how hard I try, she hasn’t been back to yoga since!

Today I’m drinking tons of water and eating as healthy as I can and aiming to go to another class tonight. Yes, that’s right, in my opinion more yoga may be the answer. It’s clear that I’ve got some flushing to do and perhaps my more restorative at-home practice isn’t doing the work I need, so I’ve made a date tonight with my mat to get moving again and see what happens. I’m not sure what tomorrow morning will bring, but I’m hopeful it will be a) much better than this morning and b) exactly what I need.

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