Befriending Your Affected Side

After a stroke, there can be so much bitterness when it comes to thoughts towards the affected side! I still find myself getting frustrated at the pace, the agility, and the strength of my right side. I don’t like how I consistently wear out the toe of my right shoes because that foot drags a little bit with each step. But, if I check myself before I wreck myself, I can also take note that the toe of my right shoe is wearing out because I am walking and taking steps, which is something to be very happy about!

As you read this and you bring your attention through your body, notice the thoughts that may come up and any judgements that may be present. If you notice these, try your best to accept these differences today. Even if only while you read through this.

Bring your attention to your shoulders. Add movement to the shoulders, then let the shoulders relax.

Take your attention to your hands, through each one of the fingers. Close your eyes for a moment and add movement to your hands, even if that movement is only in your mind.

Now notice the movement of your chest as it rises with each breath in and falls with each breath out. Take a nice deep breath while your attention is here.

If you are sitting as you read this, notice the surface beneath you, the surface supporting your weight. Let your body relax into that support.

Now bring your awareness down to your feet, adding a bit of movement to each of the toes. Again, closing the eyes and feeling the movement just as sensations in the body. Doing your best not to have any judgments or any expectations.

Doing a short body scan like this can be helpful if you notice any of that bitterness showing up towards the affected side or affected areas. As you go through your days, try being mindful of those thoughts and emotions, try to let those expectations go, and try to express some gratitude towards that side.

I’d say that side is trying just as hard as the rest of you.

Ashley Voth

Ashley is a Yoga instructor and a Stroke Survivor. She was drawn to become a yoga teacher after having the yoga practice be a valuable part of the physical and spiritual journey through stroke recovery. She helps fellow Stroke Warriors feel empowered, build inner strength, and embrace individuality in this moment.

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