Yoga For Stroke Survivors


As many of you know, last year things changed drastically for me.   I experienced two brain aneurysms, the treatment of which resulted in a stroke leaving me with severe right sided weakness.  I was fortunate to encounter some amazing physical and occupational therapists who taught me to walk again and to do the most basic of things, which most of us take for granted - like tying shoelaces or writing my own name.

At the end of my physical therapy program,  the feeling of being set adrift to find my own way forward was difficult.  A friend suggested I attend  her gentle yoga class, as she was convinced it would help with my balance and strength building.  I had doubts, mostly doubt in my own abilities;  however it quickly became apparent just how much I could do and yoga became my passion!  I started attending classes regularly and practicing at home, and improvements became noticeable,  on a physical level, from the very first week.  But what really struck me, was that this was finally what made me feel like me again.   It helped me to re-establish the connection between mind and body, not just brain and body. The realization as to just how much yoga could help other stroke and brain injury survivors was like a lightbulb going on.

Yoga is beneficial on so many levels - emotional, spiritual, mental and pnysical.   My hope is to show other stroke and brain injury survivors how yoga can help rebuild confidence, lower anxiety, reduce stress and build self-esteem.    It also helps with left brain/right brain integration, co-ordination and focus.  All areas affected by a stroke. 

I will be embarking on an intensive yoga therapy education, beginning with a 200 hour teacher training program at The Bhaktishop Yoga Center  here in Portland, Oregon. This will result in a Yoga Alliance 200HR Certification, starting me on my path to becoming a teacher. I'd like to make yoga therapy available to people in rehabilitation and community centers, where this kind of support is invaluable.

The program costs $3500 and runs from January to May 2015. This will enable me to start teaching and gaining experience while I continue on the path to becoming a Yoga Therapist. I am asking for your help to get me started on this exciting journey. I have a burning desire to help others who are going through what I went through, and believe yoga can provide that much needed support to survivors on the road to wellness.  
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Rachael Austin 
Portland, OR
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