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How Yoga Can Help Stroke Survivors?
By Sherrell Moore-Tucker
In recent years there has been more awareness on recognizing when someone is having a stroke than in the past, and I believe that speaks to our evolution as a society. Health is at the forefront in many regards and not just the recognition and prevention aspect, but rehabilitation, as well.
The statistics, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), show that on average, one American dies from a stroke every 4 minutes, and more than 795,000 people in the U.S. have a stroke each year. In addition to these numbers, strokes are also the leading cause of disability among adults in the United States. An estimated 6.8 million people–2.8% of the U.S. population– are living after having had a stroke, including 3.8 million women and 3 million men.
Yes, we now live in a culture full of survivors, and it is important to survivors and their families to ensure that rehabilitation, including holistic options, are made available when possible. One holistic approach to consider as an aid in a stroke survivor’s healing and recovery process is yoga. When someone suffers a stroke the blood flow to an area of the brain is cut off, according to WebMD. When the brain is deprived of oxygen the effects can lead to impairments in the physical body such as:
Yoga can be defined a number of ways, but basically, it’s a health system that uses meditation, gentle postures and breathing techniques which can decrease stress and help raise the survivor’s quality of life.Impairments like the ones listed above significantly impact one’s quality of life, and yoga can bring mental and physical relief no matter your fitness level. Yoga can be defined a number of ways, but basically it’s a health system that uses meditation, gentle postures and breathing techniques which can decrease stress and help raise the survivor’s quality of life in such diverse areas as fitness, stress relief, wellness, vitality, mental clarity, healing, peace of mind and spirituality, according to the National Yoga Alliance.
Yoga can be defined a number of ways, but basically, it’s a health system that uses meditation, gentle postures and breathing techniques which can decrease stress and help raise the survivor’s quality of life.
Research shows that breath work, increasing strength, balance, and flexibility aid in the stroke recovery process.
Mindful Breathing and Meditation. Abdominal or belly breathing aids in reducing pain, as it activates the parasympathetic nervous system triggering the “rest and digest” part of your brain while meditation allows time for stillness and reflection on how you are feeling mentally and physically in that moment.
Gentle Yoga Postures. Poses like mountain and tree pose, with the use of props like a chair, wall, or blocks aid in restoring balance, building muscle strength, reduces fear of falling, and improving posture.
Mindful Breathing, Meditation, and Gentle Yoga Postures. All the components of yoga may be used separately or together to rediscover self-awareness and cultivate an inner calmness while building mental and physical strength and stability. By using all that we have–your mind, your body, and your will– to survive and truly live!
Sherrell Moore-Tucker is a best-selling author, speaker, registered yoga instructor with the National Yoga Alliance, and a group fitness instructor certified through the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA). In 2013 she created her wellness business which tends to a person’s spiritual, mental, and physical wellness. You can learn more about Sherrell at www.sherrellmooretucker.com.
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