First – as with any yoga practice – stay present and really tune in to your body. If something isn’t working for you – there is NO reason to continue to do it. Practice with a lot of space around you in case you stumble or fall (near a wall is helpful).
First of all, pick your classes carefully. Know that there may be days where a hatha or vinyasa yoga class is just not appropriate for you, as much as that might disappoint you. Trust me, I’ve been there! Maybe a gentle, restorative (next blog), or a deep stretch class would be better on that day. Hot yoga? I can’t imagine hot yoga working well for someone with a vestibular disorder so I would proceed with caution there, but again, if it works for you, go for it. Learn to tune in to your body and your vestibular system while practicing. Honor both every time you step on your mat. Begin to find your limits and modifications and learn to live within them, making peace with what life has given you. And celebrate with so much gratitude those days when you are well enough to do ANY practice.
Modify. Modify. Modify.
That’s going to be your mantra for your practice right now. For example, if you find that camel pose (ustrasana) makes you dizzy or makes the world spin (vertigo), then while the rest of the class is doing camel – you can sit in heroes pose (seated on your heels) and breathe. I don’t know of a yoga teacher that would oppose to that (you just may want to let your teacher know ahead of time that dizziness and vertigo are issues for you and that you might be modifying certain poses). For me – camel pose is fine as long as I don’t drop my head back (see picture below). I lengthen the back of my neck and keep my gaze forward. I also don’t take the full pose (hands to heels) and keep them on my lower back instead.
I had a student stop coming to class because she got dizzy in final relaxation (savasana). Savasana does not have to be fully supine to be effective. If you find that lying on the floor is NOT relaxing because it makes you dizzy, find what works. I don’t know any yoga teacher that would rather you skip class. They would much rather help you find an alternative. Just don’t skip final relaxation. In my humble opinion, it’s the most important pose of the practice. Maybe you need to keep your eyes open (just keep them soft and try to truly relax). Or place a bolster under your knees and/or a blanket under your head. Or lie on one side (your good side – many people with vertigo, especially BPPV, know what that means). Or recline on a bolster or bolster/blocks so that you are not fully supine (shown below). When getting up – take extra time. Don’t rush – taking several breaths on your good side, and then sit up very slowly, letting your head come up last. You can even do savasana seated if need be.
Love and light to you!