In life we need to be flexible in many ways. Not only physically but also in the way we think and act. Sometimes, people forget this or do not care. For example, when education is very rigid and structural the creative side of the brain is ignored. This results in having little flexibility in the way we think and react to what is happening around us. Or when a community creates a habit that in time turns into a strict rule. Anything out of norm in this community consequently becomes strange or is looked upon as not normal. Or, sometimes men tend to think that flexibility is only for the body. They are afraid of appearing soft and thus avoid doing yoga, missing the chance to practice the flexibility of the mind.
About three and half months ago I had a stroke. It was strange and very difficult to understand; a yoga teacher who has been teaching yoga in more than 250 retreats in the last 11 years? My Self could not believe it – have I not been talking about yoga as eight limbs applicable in real life and living my life adhering to these teachings? And now, I have this stroke happening to me?
First, I was not able to do anything, even thinking was very hard. A few days later I started being able to use my brain, able to speak, and keep trying to move my body. Another few days later I found out that the cause of my stroke is ‘protein S deficiency’ (PSD), which is hereditary. The puzzle was solved! I stopped feeling guilty and was able to concentrate on how to live my life by training other parts of my brain to compensate for the damage.
With the help of yoga – the benefits of which I strongly believe in and have personally experienced – I am able to make a new pattern for the part of my brain that is not damaged, using the concept of plasticity. Today, I feel very much back to my earlier shape and looking from outside, you would never know what happened to me just a mere three and half months ago. I am very grateful for what I am able to do, for the incredible plasticity of my brain and the flexibility in thinking.
– Iyan –