Sports FAQ
Home / Yoga

Seizures in Warrior Pose

micoder2010-07-04 18:34:28 +0000 #1
I have been doing hatha yoga since 1988. About a year ago I began having seizures while doing yoga. This only occurs when I do the warrior pose. This is the third pose I do in my routine and the seizures start about 10 minutes later. I simply wait through shaking and gasping for air (about 2 minutes) and then continue with my routine. After the seizure is over, I feel very very good. I cannot really explain this feeling very well. This feeling makes me feel like everything is perfect and I feel extremely calm.

I realize most people would just say stop doing the warrior. However, I really like doing it and I like the feeling I get after the seizure is over.

I started doing yoga to stop my pain from arthritis. I am 65 years old. This works really well and I cannot stop doing yoga without falling back in to really bad arthritic pain. I have no real problem with going through the seizures each time, but my wife reminded me that I might have some sort of pathology going on.

I feel really well. I don't want to see my doctor because she will just tell me to stop doing yoga. As I said, I do not have the choice to stop because of my arthritis.

I have never had a yoga teacher. My physician of twenty years ago gave me a little pamphlet on doing yoga when I was diagnosed with arthritis. I lost this pamphlet years ago, but my memory is good enough that I continued my routine.

Does someone know something I could do that would stop the seizures without stopping the good feeling that comes after?


InnerAthlete2010-07-04 18:45:55 +0000 #2
Hello Michael.

You realize this thread you've posted in is over a year old right?

So this would get more "play" as a new topic on the board.

Never the less, I'll reply here as best I can.

The difficult part in responding is that there is no way for me/us to know what you are doing. I say this because you've clearly stated that you began with a pamphlet which has since been lost. I simply could not know anything about the process, parameters, or protocols you are enlisting.

In yoga we grow to hear and heed the subtle language of our bodies. Some refer to this as awareness. A yoga practice that does not, over time, heighten the students awareness is likely just gymnastics. There's nothing wrong with gymnastics, of course, but it is not appropriate for me to call gymnastics "yoga". So the instructions to listen and stop the pose that is causing your body to convulse (literally) is going to be the best advise from any well trained yoga teacher. Refusing to do so is "your choice" but it goes directly against ahimsa, one of the building blocks of yoga itself.

Even if I were to presume you were doing sound asana, I do not know what poses you are doing preceding Warrior nor do I know if you are doing Virabhadrasana I, II or III. I could presume it is one (1) of course but presumption leads us astray.

If I were to throw a dart in the dark and hit something other than your rear end I'd say you are doing Vira I and tossing your head back either violently or in such a way that you may be folding rather than curving the cervical spine. Again I want to stress this is a Pin the Tail on the Donkey guesstimate.

Such things should be viewed and assessed by a skilled, therapeutically trained, alignment-based yoga teacher, IMHO.
Alix2010-07-04 18:56:19 +0000 #3
Made into new thread for you.
micoder2010-07-04 19:43:43 +0000 #4

I don't really know what most of my poses might be. I know that I do not do any violent motions. Everything I do is in slow motion. The poses I do know that I do are the crane, camel, warrior with arms straight out. The other poses I would have to look through pictures of yoga poses to figure out which ones I have been doing. The seizures are certainly a mystery. Like I said, if I skip the warrior, I get no seizures. I also get no really great feeling that I explained. Normally yoga just relaxes me and keeps me from having arthritic pain. This new thing has its ups and downs. If there is no danger in the seizures, I will most certainly continue as I have. That really great feeling I can only describe as a sort of profound calmness. It is too bad our language is not more expressive.

I do not know the meaning of some of the words you used.

Virabhadrasana ahimsa Vira

Thanks again for being so kind as to try to help me with my question,

InnerAthlete2010-07-04 20:05:28 +0000 #5
Hello Michael,

So you describe Warrior II: as the pose in question. If you are doing it as the picture of the Resident of the United States is in the link above then it seems unlikely my guesstimate was at all accurate.

Please try doing the pose with your hands on your hips instead of up, extended, and parallel to the floor.

There is no point in yoga where I would define convulsions as "safe" though I may not, depending on the circumstances, define them as "dangerous". My concern is that you have not received a diagnosis from the health care practitioner of your choice. That would make things much easier to deal with.

Ahimsa is the first of several yamas which make up the foundations for yoga practice. Student used to be forbidden from practicing asana (postures) until they had learned and employed these precepts. Ahimsa is defined in a variety of ways from simple to complex. For our purposes it is safe to say it is a precept of non-harming. In fact some one say it is a precept of love (the opposite of harming)

Virabhadrasana is the Sanskrit term of Warrior posture. Vira is my shorthand.
micoder2010-07-04 18:53:22 +0000 #6
Thank You InnerAthlete,

I am reluctant to see my doctor because I would expect her to say "stop doing that", or worse, think that I was crazy. Yoga is not an acceptable practice in the small community in which I live. The Christian community here believes yoga and other types of meditation are "against Jesus". So, I am forced to do what keeps me pain free in secret. The picture you sent me is almost exactly how I do that pose except that my hands and fingers our straight out parallel to the floor. I do not have one finger sticking out and a fist in one hand. I found the name of another pose I do, it is the triangle. The warrior and triangle are my favorite poses. They are my favorites because I feel really good doing them.

I will try your idea of putting my hand on my hips. I do not expect this to be easy for me. I have developed a sense of balance for all of my poses with my eyes closed. Any deviation from my normal pose sets off my balance. However, I will try to master doing it this way. I will report back if there is any change in the results.

My physician of 20 years ago was a great guy. He knew how to relieve my suffering from arthritic pain. He did not just give me the pamphlet. He had me do each pose so that I was doing it to his satisfaction, and when I was not, he did it himself to show me how. That is so rare in physicians now.

I do have another question. You certainly do not have to answer if you do not want to. Do you feel this profound calmness part way through your routine? If you do, would you ever give it up?

Many thanks

Pandara2010-07-04 19:22:41 +0000 #7
Hi Michael,

May I ask you where your seizures start, in other words, where is the origin, for example in the middle of the spine or perhaps in the coccyx? I have a feeling and I am talking under correction here and also not from a medical pov but from a yogic pov, that your seizures might be something different.
mr.aaronfast2010-07-04 19:43:09 +0000 #8
I also am interested if these seizures are a medical problem, or an intensive process you're passing through on your path of spiritual growth. In particular, I am reminded of Krishnamurti. I don't want to be dangerous in disregarding something that might be symptomatic of a deeper issue. Still, I do think it's important to understand another perspective on psychological growth phenomena, no matter how irregular. (I have been through some similar phases of intense mental/physical agitation giving way to tremendous peace. I think they can be valuable, but it really would be very advisable to have some support form your community...)

here is an excerpt from the WIkipedia entry detainling Krishnamurti's episodes, which struck intermittently for about a year, and have become a defining moment in his biography:

"...It was there, in August 1922, that Krishnamurti went through an intense, "life-changing" experience. It has been simultaneously, and invariably, characterised as a spiritual awakening, a psychological transformation, and a physical "conditioning". Krishnamurti and those around him would refer to it as "the process", and it continued, at very frequent intervals and varying forms of intensity, until his death. Witnesses recount that it started on the 17th, with extraordinary pain at the nape of Krishnamurti's neck, and a hard, ball-like swelling. The next couple of days, the symptoms worsened, with increasing pain, extreme physical discomfort and sensitivity, total loss of appetite and occasional delirious ramblings. Then, he seemed to lapse into unconsciousness; actually, he recounted that he was very much aware of his surroundings and while in that state, he had an experience of "mystical union". The following day the symptoms, and the experience, intensified, climaxing with a sense of "immense peace".[43]

"...I was supremely happy, for I had seen. Nothing could ever be the same. I have drunk at the clear and pure waters and my thirst was appeased. ...I have seen the Light. I have touched compassion which heals all sorrow and suffering; it is not for myself, but for the world. ...Love in all its glory has intoxicated my heart; my heart can never be closed. I have drunk at the fountain of Joy and eternal Beauty. I am God-intoxicated."

Let's not get too googly eyed ourselves, I don't want to hurt anybody and send them off an a delirious mystical quest, but honestly, I have become more wary of needless medical intervention that stunts the process of spiritual growth than the experience of perplexing phenomena that might seem frightening to the outside world, but are silently accepted and understood by the inner self.

I can't stress enough how important a physical teacher has been to me. I wish you would not be so meek in your practice, and find a way to bridge a gap between two beautiful spiritual traditions (each of which have their own corruptions). Maybe just speaking with people, calling it "exercise" or "stretching" and explaining what it has done for you will get them over their fear of "other". I understand, as I too have been in Christian communities (well, we're speaking of certain types of Christian communities, not the larger spiritual tradition) as a yoga practitioner, and chose to minimize its outward exposure.

God bless you, and good luck.

I feel the most important thing is peace with your own Self. If you are doubting and worried about what might be happening, seek any attention you can get. If you feel greta about it, and even, as you say, look forward to it, rest in your own sovereignty over your own life experiences. I really hope I am not sounding ignorant and caustic, but the process of spiritual growth is almost universally understood, in my experience, by western medicine, and in some cases, stunted by it. Good luck, god bless you, may you make your home in that peace.
mr.aaronfast2010-07-04 21:12:43 +0000 #9
I'm sorry, I made an error. Krishnamurti's "episodes" were actually said to have lasted the duration of his life. he was, however, a spiritual giant, and content with these episodes, not to mention the fact that he lived somewhat peacefully until 90 (his death was of pancreatic cancer).
micoder2010-07-04 22:04:42 +0000 #10
Thank you all for your help.


The seizures start at my midsection at the base of my spine. They very quickly spread outward to my legs and arms. My muscles will be causing my legs and arms to jump all over and my breathing is impaired because of the jumping around of my chest muscles. I do not feel anxious during this because I know it will quickly pass.

Mr. aaronfast,

I must admit there has been something going on with me mentally. I am retired now and have more time to think. When I was young and in the military, I lost many of my friends. I began feeling their presence about a year ago. It is as if I am being followed around by their ghosts. I am not a very religious person.

However, I see flashes of their faces sometimes. This period in my life when I lost my friends, I thought had been put behind me. It appears not. After experiencing the seizures, I feel completely at peace. I feel OK that they died and I lived. But later when this feeling wears off, I am back to what we call normal consciousness. I don't feel so Ok that they are gone and I am still here.

As I said, I am not on a spiritual quest. My reason for doing yoga was always to avoid pain. I realize from reading some of the posts here that this sounds like kind of a poor reason to do yoga. But, pain can be a powerful motivator.

My reasons now for doing yoga have become more complex. I have become very attached to what InnerAthlete calls euphoria. The anticipation of this euphoria makes my very first pose different from what it ever was. As I do my first pose I immediately feel what I would call an anticipatory calmness and happiness about what is coming. It is almost as if I were watching myself do the pose and approving of the pose and myself. So now I have shared some very personal stuff and I feel a little embarrassed. I would not have the nerve to tell this to someone face to face.

I appreciate the fact that no one has flamed me for doing things wrong or just complaining. I think you guys are really far more into yoga than I can every imagine being. You all seem to have a lot of insight that it is difficult for me to understand sometimes. I am ignorant of the words that are used to describe yoga. I appreciate that you are all taking the time to speak with me about this.

Bless you




Other posts in this category