You can do everything right — well, most things — and still find yourself with a heart out-of-beat. You can avoid clogging your arteries and still be in trouble. I’m slowly working my way through Heart Disease for Dummies but understand that the rhythm of the heart is controlled by communication between the sinoatrial node and the atrioventricular node. And that’s just the beginning of the story. I was hospitalized (taken into custody) with pneumonia in February and have since been burdened with a defibrilator vest. While incarcerated for the pneumonia over a very long 6 days a rhythmic irregularity was detected and here I am, mired in the diagnostic process.
And I stop to ponder the yoga-class instruction to “open your heart”. It’s taken on new layers of meaning for me. I never want to hear it again. I want to hear “open your chest” but I intend to protect my heart from now on. That’s what the ribs are for. Not that I’ve been to yoga class in a long, long while. First there was a shoulder injury. And now there’s the defibrillator vest, and its monitor (the size of a small yoga blog). I’ve managed to modify my home practice to allow for this equipment, including removing it altogether for my handstands (my electrophysiologist knows about this, and it’s okay). But I can’t figure out how to work with this extra stuff in class.
With a little luck I’ll be free of the defibrillator equipment in the next few weeks. My torso will be unfettered. I’ll be looking for space for my mat in a real yoga studio in one of Jonathan’s classes. For now I’m doing a lot of shoulder and chest opening, giving my heart the room it needs to do its work. But I won’t open it. Don’t ask me.