22 In life/ yoga

heart center + the cardiologist.



Boom… … boom-BOOM.

My heart beat, at heart center. So clear that’s all I heard at yoga practice. So loud that it distracted my drishti.

I normally sink deeper into warrior two, farther into back bends and hold dancer longer, not modify postures and spent extra time in supta baddha konasana and child’s pose. My sole focus at a recent vinyasa practice: my heart beat. It was all I could do to stay in the heated room on my mat, even as I tried to focus on my breath and my mantra be present.

Since high school, I’ve known my heart occasionally skips a beat. A slight heart murmur, my doctor told me, but nothing to be concerned about.

The past month, though, it’s beat a little louder, thumped a little harder, skipped a little more often, reminding me of my heart center.

So, after chatting with my primary care PA and my good friend, Dr. Sonia Karimi, I scheduled a visit to the cardiologist at St. Joseph’s Hospital. I’m a worrier (thanks for the worry gene, Dad!), and given how much I’ll be training for Ironman Canada in the coming months, I needed to rule anything out.

Dr. Johnson was fantastic from the get-go. He asked tons of questions – family health history, my life, my health history, my fitness – and answered all of mine. It was calming just to visit with him.

After two EKGs (a couple nodes were attached upside down the first time; the first, wonky, the second, normal) that day, Dr. Johnson recommended I have an echocardiogram and wear a holter monitor for 24 hours.

I went in the following Monday morning, and after a quick change and attaching five nodes to my chest, my heart appeared on the monitor. I’ve had cool medical procedures in the past – including a cortisone shot + dye for a functional MRI injected in my hip, all while watching on monitor – but this was… wow. Clearly seeing my heart’s four chambers, its valves opening and closing, and the blue and red of oxygenated blood and non-oxygenated blood flowing in and out was amazing. Clearly seeing MY HEART was amazing.


Sooo… I probably should have clarified this picture a bit more on instagram and twitter! It’s my heart, not a baby! The two dark spots are chambers of my heart.


The holter monitor… attached to me for 24 hours. I didn’t even notice it on a 5.2-mile run.

After a couple days of anxiety… waiting… and still feeling my skipping heart beat, my doctor’s office called.

All tests were normal.

Thank. God.

However, Dr. Johnson was out this week, so once he returns next week, he’ll review test results, and we’ll reassess next steps, if any, since these tests didn’t determine what’s causing my abnormal heartbeat.

Not gonna lie… my worst fear is finding out I have some crazy heart condition and can no longer swimbikerunyoga. Because that would be devastating and dream crushing and… just… there are no words, and it brings me to tears to even think about it.

But, I’m not going to think about it.

Instead, I’m focusing on my heart center, my mantra.

Be present.

I’ll update you next week :)

Have a warm weekend, friends!

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  • Sharlene Klegstad
    02/02/2013 at 9:10 pm

    It’s going to be fine, Erin!

    • erin
      02/08/2013 at 1:06 pm

      I know, Mom!

  • Luv What You Do
    02/02/2013 at 9:57 pm

    You do have an amazing heart!
    Stay strong and positive!

    • erin
      02/08/2013 at 1:07 pm

      Thank you! Yoga breathing :)

  • hyedi
    02/02/2013 at 10:04 pm

    How scary! But I know that everything will be JUST fine!!

    • erin
      02/08/2013 at 1:07 pm

      It’s been super scary and stressful. Thanks, friend! :)

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  • Christina
    02/04/2013 at 9:39 am

    You have a beautiful heart Erin! :) I know everything will turn out ok!

    • erin
      02/08/2013 at 1:08 pm

      Awww, thank you, Christina :)

  • Emily Dingmann (@nutritionisteat)
    02/04/2013 at 10:31 am

    I was wondering what that holter monitor was about…thinking of you (and your heart!) and glad to hear that everything is normal and as it should be!

    • erin
      02/08/2013 at 1:08 pm

      Much thanks, dear :)

  • Carrisa
    02/04/2013 at 5:31 pm

    I’m glad to hear that things are looking normal and will keep you in my thoughts!! It is amazing what technology can show us in our bodies though, isn’t it?

    • erin
      02/08/2013 at 1:09 pm

      The technology is incredible! Thank you, dear :)

  • Candice
    02/04/2013 at 6:20 pm

    I am glad to hear your heart is healthy Erin!

    • erin
      02/08/2013 at 1:09 pm

      Me, too, Candice! Thank you!

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