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Right now, I’m only teaching yoga one day a week but I’m practicing multiple times a week (usually about three or four days for an hour). On the day that I teach, I practice my sequence at home before going to the studio and then going through the sequences with the students. I teach two different classes, one slow and one fast, so I get a range of exercise on that day.
Since it’s only week two, I’m having a tough time managing my blood sugars on that day. Splitting my Lantus doesn’t seem to have done me any favors on that front either, but I’m watching it to see what changes I need to make. I’m struggling with lows and a few rebound highs. This week, they interfered with my last class so I’m incredibly frustrated.
Before leaving for the studio for my first class, I checked my blood sugar and saw 87 on the meter screen. Irritated, I chugged a coke and ate peanut butter crackers hoping to be back above 100 before my class started. I felt fine so I knew I was okay to teach at least. I wouldn’t be slurring my words or missing my poses. I went through the first class, the slow Yin, with flying colors. My teaching was much improved from last week.
Getting ready for my next class, I didn’t feel right. I could feel the slow brain, the slight shaking of the hands, and the butterflies in my stomach. I checked in at 76. I have 15 minutes between my two classes so it’s not like I have a lot of time to let my blood sugar rise. I drank a juice and ate more peanut butter crackers while explaining to my students that I was diabetic and I was low so bear with me.
After my last student came into the class, I was getting ready to start the sequences by checking the lights and so forth. Somehow I ran into the door frame and just had to laugh it off to the students. But I knew that there wasn’t enough sugar in my brain to really be teaching. I knew for sure that I couldn’t go through the sequence with my students, especially given that it’s heart-racing and sweat-inducing. They seemed okay with this, but I felt awkward.
Even though I prefer to teach openly talking the students through the class without doing the poses myself, these are new students and I’m a new teacher so it’s not conducive to the class to only talk through the postures. I led them through the flow, knowing that I was going a lot slower than I’d practiced it at home. My brain wasn’t working fast enough to move them through each pose quickly. I had to refer to my notes a few times, which I hate.
It’s a small class as well so there’s not a lot to do while they are flowing through the poses. Corrections are minimal so I felt like I was just staring at them most of the time. It definitely didn’t feel like a good class to me and I hate that diabetes can interfere in my life so vividly. I may seem fine to the outside world, but on the inside, I was fighting so hard to hold all the pieces together. To make my brain function, my hands not shake, and my stomach to stop flipping over and over.
I hope to start teaching more classes on a regular basis. I’m demoing a class next week at another studio and waiting on one last piece of certification before I can apply at some of the gyms locally. It’s my goal that if I can teach and practice regularly, I may be able to reduce my overall insulin and avoid these lows. Feeding the lows doesn’t work because yoga keeps my numbers flat-lined for hours despite the snacks. I just don’t want diabetes to interfere with yoga like that. I don’t want to have to change my classes to cater to my blood sugars. It isn’t fair and I won’t let it happen.
Michelle Kowalski, a writer, editor and photography hobbiest living in Phoenix, was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in February 2005. In January 2008, as part of her quest to start on an insulin pump, Michelle learned that she actually has type 1 diabetes. (Read More)
Nicole Purcell lists having type 1 diabetes last when she's asked to provide information about herself - because that's where it belongs. (Read More)