Sunday, June 2, 2013

Sunday Stroke Survival ~ Yoga, Lamaze, and Yoda

You may have looked at the title of this blog and went huh? I wonder how she's gonna pull this one off. Keep reading and be amazed at my connective powers in tying yoga exercises, Lamaze childbirth classes, Yoda (the little, green guy from Star War) and make it relate to my stroke. I'm developing my own form of Jennifer Logic with this one. Allow me to convince you.

The discipline of yoga is one of focus, breathing, and stretching out
both your mind and body. I think we can all agree on that, right? It's a meditative force which allows you to relax your muscles and stretch them farther than anyone would have thought possible. I know you seen some pretty far out there yoga pics online so I won't add them here. But I will say that if you found some Kama Sutra sex positions beyond imagining, some of the Yoga poses are equally challenging.

Essentially you stretch your boundaries, and alter your reality of what is and can be accomplished. Basically mind over matter. Levitation is possible through meditation although I've never seen it. It's also about balance. Balance is a major stumbling block for most stroke patients. I Googled, after my stroke a year ago looking for alternative thinking about recovery, "yoga post stroke" and ran across 500K discussions about it. I skimmed about a quarter of them of them, but the premise is the same as I stated above. I do hold a degree in herbatology and aromatherapy after all. Alternative or natural medicine is my pet love. It also falls within my survivalist mentality.

Lamaze childbirth classes several decades ago, taught me the what was possible with focus and breathing techniques. Yes, I had all five of my children using Lamaze or natural childbirth. I even coached one of my daughters through two natural childbirth experiences. In Lamaze you focus on an object and breath in a controlled manner, and visualize what is being achieved with each contraction and promoting it happening.

Are you getting the connection? Now for the last one ...Yoda. In the Star Wars movie, where the Frank Oz Muppet first appeared, Yoda was this old Jedi knight who taught young, training Jedis how to be Jedis by using the force. In Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Yoda says to Luke...

Yoda: Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? Hmm? Hmm. And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes. Even between the land and the ship. 

The fact that we are paralyzed does not matter. It shouldn't be our primary focus. Movement of our paralyzed limbs should be. Before the spasticity set into my paralyzed arm, my husband watched me in my sleep. He said I opened my hand, raised it from the bed and wiggled my fingers... an OT therapy move or what they wanted me to be able to do and visualized myself doing it.

He related this to me the next morning. In disbelief I asked him if he was dreaming. He assured me that he was coming to bed when he noticed the movement. He said he watched me repeat it over ten minutes. I knew he wasn't crazy, but try as I might, I couldn't repeat it while awake. He watched each night for a repeat performance and two of the night five nights he was rewarded with a show.

My hand and fingers today
As I said, this was before the shoulder injury and the spasticity set in. I was flummoxed and I emailed Rebecca Dutton about it, because my other therapists had never heard such a thing. She said if only our subconscious mind could communicate with our conscious one we wouldn't be paralyzed anymore. But even the subconscious mind was reviving pathways in the brain. That's the whole gist behind focus.

Picture is how my wrist, hand and fingers look today a year post stroke. Notice the fingers are NOT closed in a tight fist as they were earlier. Yeah Botox and last time around in OT. I'm still waiting on this new series of shots to work so I can begin again. But I digress...darn my "ADD/dyslexic" brain.

Focus all you mental powers on movement, relaxing muscles with focused breathing on outcome and achievement, and as Yoda says, "May the force be with you."

Nothing is impossible with determination.


  1. "Nothing is impossible with determination."
    Great idea and one that is hard to follow through. So often, our conscious mind refuses to allow even the hint that something will be accomplished.

    Now I need to concentrate of all of this and, maybe just maybe, I'll get my MS finished. ; )

  2. To accomplish anything in life, you have to have determination to do it. If you are determined nothing stands in your way. Mountains become bumps in the road.

    Finish that MS, Zan Marie!

  3. We all put limitations on ourselves, but you've demonstrated that we're all capable of much more than we realise. And very interesting how you tied those three things together.

  4. Nick, you had the example in front of you with Andrew. Everyone has the potential to do. It is a personal choice.

  5. I agree. If you are determined, you can do anything.

    I hope you had a lovely Sunday. ☺


I love to hear from you! Agree, Disagree, matter. Even if it's to say you were here.