Yoga and Flipped Eyeballs

Ed said to me a few months ago that he wanted to start doing yoga and he wondered if a local gym where many of our friends exercised had a yoga program.  He asked around and I asked around and we were each told by quite a few people that the gym did indeed have a yoga class.  And then, we did nothing about it for weeks.  We’re proactive like that.  Gym memberships spontaneously appear in your wallet if you wait long enough.  So in November, the memberships still hadn’t spontaneously appeared in my wallet and Ed was begging me to take care of the membership situation, so I went up to the gym and signed up.  The guy who did the initial paperwork with me was a bit of an ass, but I figured he wouldn’t be in any of the yoga classes so I wouldn’t have to put up with his arrogance very often and I was right.  We attended our first yoga class the very next day.   The Yoga instructor, a blonde, new age-ish kind of girl,  arrived wearing stilettos and a dress.  She thanked everyone for coming, turned on the yoga music, and started us on the difficult Indian Style Sitting Pose while we breathed deeply in and out through our noses.  We were told many times throughout the class to practice each pose with our eyes closed, but it’s really hard to follow in a new yoga class while feeling like an absolute moron with your eyes closed.  You want to look at the instructor as she changes positions.  You want to look at your husband and make sure you are more flexible than he is.  You want to make sure the entire class hasn’t gotten up to encircle you  and point and laugh as you try a new pose.  Or that they haven’t all gotten up to encircle you with machetes.  Or Machine guns.  And how do you really know that a ninja intent on killing you hasn’t slipped down through the ceiling tiles if you have your eyes closed??  So I kept my eyes open the entire time, as did Ed.  And really, if you don’t keep your eyes open, how can you look at your husband’s cute butt?  So it was in this very first yoga class with Ed and the weird, new age music and my open eyes that I first did the Downward Dog.  For those of you who have never done a Downward Dog,  you bend over at the waist and lean forward until you get your hands to the floor, basically making yourself an inverted V.  We stayed in the Downward Dog position for eight of the yoga instructor’s breaths, or about ten minutes.  It was during the Downward Dog that my eyeballs flipped.  Yes, flipped. 

And now it’s time for the physiology portion of this story.  You have neurons, aka nerve cells, in your eyeballs that send any image you see to your brain, but somewhere along the way, the image has to be flipped in order for us to see the image with the right side up.  Researchers who were having quite a bit of fun with some college kids put their subjects in special goggles that flipped the image they were seeing and then waited for the subjects brains to flip the image right side up again.  Once they removed the goggles, the subjects had to wait a certain amount of time before their brains were able to flip the image again.  I think every student in an Anatomy and Physiology class has heard of this study and probably never actually read the case study and such is the case with me.

Now, back to the cool part of my story.  There I was in the Downward Dog position, eyes open, trying in vain to breath deeply in and out through my nose, giving up and breathing deeply through my mouth, watching the instructor as she told us to inhale deeply about every seventy seconds, watching Ed’s backside and checking his form when I realized that my arms and legs looked like they were connected firmly to the ceiling.  I watched my trembling arms and thought that I could just straighten out my legs   and stand where I was.  The whole experience was a bit surreal.  I looked forwards and backwards just to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing and sure enough, the floor had changed to my ceiling.  And then, too much blood finally rushed to my head and I got dizzy and the trembling in my arms reached its limit and I had to pull out of the pose and went down to all fours.  I was finally able to sit quietly in the class for a few minutes with my eyes closed, but it was only because I needed a break from my upside down world.  My flipped eyeballs (very technical term, I know) flipped back very quickly as they hadn’t been flipped the wrong way for more than a few minutes.

Now that you know you can flip your eyeballs, are you going to try it?

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