It took another hour for me to calm down. After the attack subsided I was exhausted but I decided that Sweetie was right and headed to the 4:30 class. On my way to the studio, I felt like I was going to have another attack. I tried to keep calm and get in the room.
When I got to the studio I advised the instructor of how I was feeling. She said I should go on in to the room (this was 15 minutes before class), lie down and concentrate on slow, deep breathing. Once class started, she advised that my only job for this class was to focus on my breath. In Pranayama, she asked me to try to inhale every last bit of air I could, then really BLAST it out, almost to the point of exaggeration, and push every bit of air back out. If I had to take a knee or lay down, that was cool, but really FOCUS (there is that word again!) on every breath. With that advice, class began. I opted for a spot in the back by one of the doors... just in case.
First set of Pranayama began. I made very sure to inhale really deep and force my elbows up more than usual, while keeping my legs locked. On the exhale, I finally did what they always say: push all the air out until there is NOTHING left and you start to feel a little dizzy. Guess what? By the end of the first set I felt much better. My heart was still trying to race, but it was better. Second set was improved. My Half-Moon was better than normal because I was really keeping tabs on my breathing. In fact, my standing set was not bad, considering the events of the day. I started to lose my composure after Triangle, and my heart started racing again, but just for a moment. I slowed back down and made it through Toe-Stand. On the floor, I was cool until Rabbit. I always feel smothered and claustrophobic in Rabbit, and I came out early both times.
Class ended and I stayed in the room longer than normal. I was really glad I stuck it out -- I had a greater sense of accomplishment than usual -- lately I've just been glad to survive. After a meal and a good night's sleep, I felt much better this morning. I did spend some time this morning trying to figure out why it happened or what triggered the panic attack, but after a bit I just let it go. No sense in worrying. Besides, now I can overcome it with a few deep, focused breaths!!
"Hatha Yoga teaches you to tyrannize your body and make it your slave, so your body does not tyrannize you and make you its slave. Only then, when you control the physical, can you begin to know the God."
Slowly, I may be beginning to "get it".