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Showing Migraine Who’s Boss

Monday evenings, the local yoga studio offers a fantastic gentle class. The teacher is kind and funny and doesn’t take herself too seriously. Her class is a perfect blend of soothing and athletic. It is definitely exercise, but not the hard, sweaty workout a lot of people associate with yoga.

Every one of my Mondays is focused on attending this class. The time is blocked out on my calendar; I eat early so I won’t be full at class time; I take a nap if I need it. Then I hold my breath, hoping that my migraine attack won’t be bad enough to keep me home. Despite my efforts, seven weeks elapsed between my last two classes. Before that, it was 10 weeks.

Thanks to all the time I spend on the couch with a migraine, the gulf between what I was once physically capable of and what I am now able to do is immense. At the last class I went to, my lack of strength and stamina were glaringly apparent. With embarrassment and frustration simmering, I reminded myself that at least I was there.

“I am here.”

That simple phrase embodies tremendous fortitude. Most weeks I’m too sick to go to class. The day I was well enough to attend, I did. I am physically weak and struggle to support myself in poses that were once second nature. Still, I was attempting them. I had to do the gentlest form of the poses and my muscles trembled. But I was building my strength.

When I was well enough to do so, I showed up and I worked hard. That’s how I know migraine is not the boss of me.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Kerrie Smyres moderator author
    6 years ago

    Thank you for your kind words! And for the Yoga Journal suggestion. I get a special charge out of class that I don’t get in a home practice, but the stretching is good no matter what.

  • mjsymonds
    6 years ago

    Kerrie, I very much admire your fortitude. Thanks for sharing this story.

  • Theresa Mitchell
    6 years ago

    I feel so bad for you and I go through the same thing. Yoga has some basic yoga moves and some intended for headache sufferers. Many be in those hour when you are o.k. but there is no class you can try some classes. I know your disappointment because it’s so important to be out with people and doing normal things. I hate this disorder!!!!

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