How do you center yourself, if you were off center to begin with?
March 6, 2009 11:53 AM   Subscribe

I have been blind in one eye since the age of two, so I know nothing of this whole binocular vision thing that people keep talking about,

I have made it to forty without feeling I have missed anything (except the whole 3D magic eye posters from the early 90’s) but last year I started taking yoga and now I feel unbalanced, as if I am leaning to the side with the good eye, as a possible result I have developed tendinitis in the leg on my dominant side, Has anyone else have the result of feeling off balance from yoga and how do you realign yourself to a position that wasn’t plum to begin with. I just started a new job so I will have to wait a few weeks for my health insurance to catch up before I can start going to physical therapy.
posted by kanemano to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I guess that I would shut my seeing eye to try to feel the right balance without vision for short periods of time.
posted by nicolin at 12:06 PM on March 6, 2009

I have zero experience with this, but my knowledge of perception makes me want to chime in. I think you have really 2 options here, 1: close your good eye, leaving yourself blind, and allow your body's proprioception sense to kick in and tell you what is balanced and what isn't, and/or 2: talk to your yoga teacher about your problems, and have him/her come over and correct your leaning problems to put you in the correct position, that way you can learn what that feels like to your body and thus prevent the problem.

Honestly, you are probably going to have to do both, use your eye to get yourself into the position, have your teacher correct you, and then close your eyes to learn how that feels to your body, then keep trying to do it without vision. Over time you will learn how to do it and you can reopen your eyes, but that may take some time because as humans we are programmed to rely on vision to the exclusion of other other senses often.
posted by katers890 at 12:24 PM on March 6, 2009

If you've been looking for an excuse to get a Wii, learning to balance with precision is what Wii Fit focuses on. Given that you can monitor your balance on a 2-D grid in many of Wii Fit's "games," it may be the perfect tool.
posted by eschatfische at 12:29 PM on March 6, 2009

I'm legally blind in one eye, so I have an idea of what you're talking about. Since you're looking at PT, this is probably going to sound slightly ridiculous, but my family has a Wii Fit and the yoga section is quite good for balance problems. The board you stand on keeps track of where your weight is centered and it displays this information as a squiggly line on a graph so you can see exactly which positions are unbalanced/off-center side-to-side or front-to-back. I used think I was just terminally clumsy, but being able to actually *do* yoga (instead of just trying to hold a lean until gravity triumphed) helped me a lot over the past couple of months

On preview: like eschatfische said, yeah.
posted by teremala at 12:37 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

Start walking around in the dark. What you're experiencing is faulty sense of preprioception - and walking around in the dark helps that.

I used to practice - walk down my hallway and see (feel) how close I could get to the stairway bannister without running into it (stairs going up, so I didn't have to worry about killing myself). With practice, I could positively *graze* it at will.
posted by notsnot at 12:44 PM on March 6, 2009

Just a little something to add to the Wii Fit recommendations:

You could check out your local rental places, to see if they have consoles and balance boards available. Then you could try it out before plopping down a wad of cash for it.
posted by CKmtl at 1:27 PM on March 6, 2009

About a month ago, I started working with a movement specialist--a personal trainer, really, but a specialized one. She showed me, using proper chair and a mirror, what it looked like to sit up straight. I have been so perpetually hunched for so long that when I was sitting up straight I felt like I was reclining. When I felt like I was sitting up straight, I was still actually pitched forward quite a bit.

Once I learned what it felt like to sit or stand up straight, I started doing it, even when it felt like I was leaning back at a ridiculous angle. It's only been a few weeks, but already my inner sense of where my body is is beginning to shift as it gets used to the new stuff I'm doing.

So I would second talking to your yoga teacher about it. Perhaps your teacher can help you get into a balanced position, and you can learn what that feels like.

I have had physical therapy in the past, several times, and in my experience they tend to focus on whatever specific problem brought me in: neckache, headache, back pain, sore knee. This new trainer I'm working with is looking at my body's mechanics and helping me learn about how I'm using my body doing ordinary things, and how to re-train it to use the correct muscles and so on. Balance, and learning what to pay attention in my body as I move, is a big part of it. You mentioned physical therapy but I wouldn't be surprised, based on my own past experience, if your yoga teacher weren't better prepared to help you with this specific problem.
posted by not that girl at 1:53 PM on March 6, 2009

I'm amblyopic/monocular from birth, and I was also going to recommend the Wii Fit.
posted by matildaben at 3:12 PM on March 6, 2009

I have been waiting to hear someone complain of balance problems from yoga.

I suspect the root of your problem is that some of your otoliths (otoconia) have been displaced from their normal location into one of the semicircular canals in your inner ear by one or more of the yoga exercises you have been using:

Within the labyrinth of the inner ear lie collections of calcium crystals known as otoconia. In patients with BPPV, the otoconia are dislodged from their usual position within the utricle and they migrate over time into one of the semicircular canals (the posterior canal is most commonly affected due to its anatomical position). When the head is reoriented relative to gravity, the gravity-dependent movement of the heavier otoconial debris within the affected semicircular canal causes abnormal (pathological) fluid endolymph displacement and a resultant sensation of vertigo. This more common condition is known as canalithiasis.

There is a simple and effective (~80%) treatment for this, however, the Eply maneuver, which moves the otoliths out of the circular canal into a position in which they no longer cause problems. It was invented by a doctor, and doctors use it, but the linked page offers instructions for doing it at home.

I don't mean to cast aspersions on yoga; it's been around for a long time, and is very sophisticated. I'd be surprised (along with not that girl) if there are not yoga moves that are the functional equivalent of the Eply maneuver, but I have no idea what they might be.

I'd also guess the role of your blindness in one eye in this problem could be that, for most people the false information provided by the displaced otoliths is overruled by visual cues so that they do not experience these difficulties, but you lack such visual cues on one side.
posted by jamjam at 4:00 PM on March 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

I am in a similar situation as you are. I was cross eyed as a kid and have been near sighted in one eye and far sighted in the other. Contact lenses can correct the imbalance, but never have I experienced true binaural vision.

I see with both eyes and it is great for peripheral vision but never do I focus with both at the same time. When I have to accommodate bright lights, I tend to squeeze shut one I and only look with the other.

But this lack of binaural vision only tends to hurt you around about the first two meters. Otherwise the eyes are too close together to help you with 3D vision anyway. So bad times serving champagne without touching the rim of the glass but no problems doing yoga whilst gazing at mount Fuji. (To exaggerate slightly).

So relax it's not your eyes. Read jamjams post, maybe thats it. Tons of people haven't binaural vison and are doing fine doing yoga.
posted by mmkhd at 4:20 PM on March 6, 2009

Response by poster: thanks for the responses but I may have overstated the severity of the problem, I see fine, am not clumsy and am actually quite agile. to me this is normal, it felt normal for years, I used to do Tai Chi with no problems and felt then more centered during and after practice, since stating yoga I feel pulled to one side as if I am now more aware of the discrepancy in my vision, so basically my question is how can I turn off my new found awareness of my lack of vision and go back to where I was, blissfully ignorant, and can my awareness throw off my body kinetics.

and mmkhd, I can pour champagne just fine, due to a excess of practice.
posted by kanemano at 4:32 PM on March 6, 2009

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