Yoga has been the one form of exercise that I steer away from because of my hearing challenges. I would work up enough anxiety trying so hard to listen and look around trying to follow along, that it really defeated the benefits. Yoga has listening infused into the whole experience. The challenge of having a hearing loss begins with odd-sounding names for each pose, lights that are lowered, and soft music playing in the background. Many of the poses such as downward facing dog puts your back to the instructor and your line of sight behind you. Child’s pose brings your face towards the mat, again relying on listening to move into the next yoga pose. Relaxation is best done with your eyes closed and your mind clearing, another challenge when listening with hearing loss.
BUT there are so many benefits of yoga that I really did not want my hearing loss to hold me back. From improving flexibility, posture, balance, mental clarity, boosting immune system, and better sleep; I felt an urge to try it again.
Getting a cochlear implant has forced me to take risks and get out of my comfort zone in many different areas of life. Simone Biles, world champion gymnast quotes “I’d rather regret the risks that didn’t work out than the chances I didn’t take at all”. Wow!
I decided now is the time to take the risk and sign up for the yoga class that is offered at my gym, Intelligent Fitness. Reflecting on my previous unsuccessful experience (before CI), I was afforded a framework for what to expect and prompted me to think about how I could minimize my new risk and put Yoga into action.
Taking on the risk and engaging in Yoga for several months, I wanted to share my top 5 Risk Reducers for starting Yoga with a cochlear implant.
- Familiarize your self with the Yoga vocabulary! I went onto Pinterest and looked up Yoga poses and was able to find dozens of infographics and short videos describing the motions of each yoga pose.
- Find an instructor that you are comfortable with and you can have a conversation about your hearing challenges (Thanks Linda!)
- GAME CHANGER-Use your remote microphone technology!!! I take my Roger select to every class and grab a yoga block to place it on. I make sure that I position my mat close to the instructor.
- Pick a front row mat. I love being close to the instructor so I can put my Yoga block and remote microphone by the instructors mat. The added bonus of being up front is when you are in the Down Dog pose, you can always look behind you if you missed the listening instructions.
- Keep going, the more you go, the more familiar the listening becomes.
I am grateful that I took a risk of trying yoga with my cochlear implant, hearing aid, and my Roger Select. Each session I feel more confident, and I am enjoying the true benefits of the yoga experience. What risk do you need to take? Take it today and see where you end up!