Monthly Archives: October 2015

Have you ever been so afraid or nervous that you fainted? I have. I’m not proud of it – after all, when it comes to the “Fight or Flight” instinct, I’d like to think I’m a strong fighter or at least fast enough to run to safety. But in this case, I didn’t fight or take flight. I just dropped.
I’d come close to fainting twice before. It’s a bit morbid (fitting for Halloween I suppose), but my first close call was in the cadaver lab in college. I must have thought too much about the man whose soul once occupied the lifeless body in front of me. While thinking about his life and his family, I started sweating and feeling light-headed. Luckily I snapped out of it by reminding myself that I was here to study and learn.
Fast forward a couple years. I was observing a neuro-stimulator being implanted into a patient’s spine. I thought, How can they operate in such a complex and delicate area of the human body? They have to be so precise, because with one slip of the surgeon’s hand… ugh. 🙁 I was making myself paranoid! As nervous thoughts raced through my head, again I felt sweaty and light-headed so I sat down. Thankfully, I held it together and stayed conscious.
But then I found myself in the operating room in a hospital in San Francisco, in the final stages of an interview process to become a medical sales rep. I really wanted this job. The surgery was an ACL reconstruction, which I could personally relate to. Again, I must have become too emotionally involved, partly because of my own experience and trauma. It pushed my brain over the edge. I felt sorry for the patient, and  I noticed the surgeon’s hands seemed shaky and nervous. Does this doctor know what he’s doing? Maybe he’s new and inexperienced? I started feeling hot and short of breath. My vision was quickly going black around the edges. Very quickly, my tunnel of vision shrunk smaller and smaller until there was complete blackness – peacefulness, stillness, quiet – like the best, deepest, most pleasant sleep I’d ever had in my life.
Then, (cue music) like a damsel in distress, I was rescued by a strong, brave, handsome man. He swiftly lifted me up and said
“This woman needs a doctor!”
Oh but wait, I was already with the doctor!?!
Just kidding!
Here’s what really happened: …Within a few moments, my blissful beauty sleep was interrupted by urgent, loud voices:
“Get her to the ER!”
“Check her for a concussion!”
“She’s going to need stitches!”
Reality swept in. I slowly came to and realized I had fainted during this surgery/interview. 🙁 I was mortified. I figured I could kiss this medical sales rep job goodbye. My first words were,
“I’m so sorry, doctor.”
And the man who was standing next to me when I fainted said,

“I’m sorry! I usually catch people before they fall!”

At least I knew I wasn’t the only one.

maxresdefaultTo add to the chaos and my embarrassment, while falling to the floor, I’d clobbered my head against the IV Stand and slashed my forehead open. I was bleeding profusely. It took 3 layers of stitches from a plastic surgeon to repair, so I walked around like Lady Frankenstein for several weeks. No need for a costume. But I was fine, and I was very relieved when the stitches came out and the scar slowly healed into a super fine line. Great work by that plastic surgeon. Now my fainting episode makes for an intriguing, funny, character-building story! And hopefully, great blog material! Please comment if you think so. 😉

To me, the most interesting thing about all of this is how powerful my brain was over my body. It was like an emergency shut-off switch. The information it was gathering from my senses and my emotions correlated to danger. Skipping breakfast that morning – and likely having a low blood sugar level – probably contributed too. My brain resorted to a kind of defense mechanism – granted, fainting was not the most ideal solution. 🙁 Thankfully, it hasn’t happened again since then. For a quick and quirky explanation of this kind of fainting, check out this video.

The brain – and my episode of fainting – is still a big awesome mystery to me. While putting this blog together, I discovered an amazing National Geographic documentary called Brain Games hosted by Jason Silva. I watched several episodes, and I highly recommend it. Here is a quick glimpse of the episode on Fear:

My advice to you, especially in this Halloween season, is
  1. Don’t be afraid! Please don’t ever psyche yourself out and faint, like I did!
  2. Always eat breakfast and take care of your brain – it is your body’s control center.
  3. Only “drop it to the floor” when you’re dancing or doing Zumba to Pitbull! You just might hear that catchy song when you come to an upcoming Boomin Body class! In that case, I say go for it!
Happy Halloween!

IMG_9185Meet Sarah Brown, our Boomin Body of October AND Boomin Body Yoga Instructor. Perhaps you’ve seen her in a Boomin Body Zumba class. You know, the beautiful girl-next-door-looking one with a Zen vibe? The one who often brings her gorgeous blondie children to class? Well, she is also a remarkable yoga instructor and a nurse.  Her first 3 years of being a traveling nurse took her to Virginia, Hawaii, San Diego and New York City which delayed her relationship with Drew, the man of her dreams. They met at a bar on New Year’s Eve shortly before going their separate ways to pursue their career ambitions. But they reconnected in Denver 4 years later, got married and moved to San Diego, where they worked, enjoyed surfing and beach-going and started their family. Lucky for us, Drew is a Bay Area native, and in the Spring of 2014, his job opportunity at Stanford brought them back. After settling their family of 4 in Los Altos, Sarah’s new neighbor Abby brought her to my Zumba class, and she was hooked!

Through her work as a nurse, Sarah has developed a strong sense of compassion for those in ill health, both physical and mental. Nursing has given her an appreciation for her own health. About 10 years ago, her work in the in-patient psychiatric unit was particularly stressful, so she decided to try yoga and quickly discovered its therapeutic benefits – better sleep, feeling more grounded and more physically fit. She became “addicted” to the way she felt by the end of each class. With the dizzying multitude of drugs used today (both prescriptive and recreational), Sarah strongly believes that a holistic approach to human health is best. She says Yoga is her “drug of choice”.

In 2005, while still nursing, Sarah certified as a Yoga instructor so she could share her newfound love and its healing power with others. She teaches her favorite style of Yoga, Vinyasa Flow, which means “breath with movement”. It is a faster paced yoga which trains your breath and your body to rhythmically move through various poses with occasional holds to lengthen and enjoy the position while maintaining a state of grateful self awareness. Sarah says,

“For me, Vinyasa Flow Yoga is the perfect workout.  I feel the cardiovascular benefit, and truly am able to tap into my breath and calm my mind.”

When asked what students get out of her yoga class, she said hopefully, it helps them develop a positive self body image – contentment, confidence and appreciation of their own bodies. In her own words,

“I hope people can simply enjoy moving their bodies in ways that feel good…at the very least, a smile on someone’s face because they were able to laugh, appreciate, get
lost, let go, even for a few breaths. …Yoga is a constant reminder that everyone is built
differently and looks differently. I think there i
s so much beauty in that alone.”

IMG_9456-EditIn addition to her Yoga practice, Sarah stays strong and healthy by regularly running and doing Boomin Body Zumba. She enjoys hiking, camping, kayaking, swimming, and leisurely bike rides. Also, this past year, Sarah participated in Cycle for Survival at Equinox in Palo Alto and the Tahoe Tough Mudder.
“I believe in a healthy diet and a healthy relation to food.”
Sarah eats well as a pescatarian and enjoys trying out new recipes with and for others. She’ll eat any recipe from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day cookbook, which she often recommends and gifts to friends and family. She seems to share a green thumb with her husband as they have a plethora of fresh herbs growing in her garden, of which I am quite envious and very thankful that she has been willing to share. 😉
“Besides yoga, what are your favorite ways to meditate and center yourself?”
“It may just sound like housework, but I really enjoy cooking, folding laundry (please don’t tell my family), working in the yard, and finger knitting.  Essentially anything that slows me down and connects me to the earth.”
I’ve become fast friends with Sarah, and I am delighted that she is now leading the most exhilarating Yoga classes for Boomin Body members to enjoy. Sarah is one of the best instructors I’ve ever seen. Her unique background as a psychiatric nurse brings an authenticity to her class. She truly wants to help people. When yIMG_9207ou come to her class, she respects your body and your space and makes you feel comfortable. You can sense her genuine intention to help you learn and strengthen your mind and your body. She helps you get the most out of each yoga class with her calming voice, helpful verbal cues and gentle adjustments or enhancements. I hope
you get to experience one of her upcoming classes for yourself. If you’d like to sign up, just click here.