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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Body awareness

When I was doing various rehabs it was mentioned that "yoga would help".  I do it now, but in the beginning it was a challenge due to balance.  I thought it wildly interesting that I could lose perception of a whole side of my body.  I tilted to one side, I was all bruised from banging into things on the left. But I was not aware of my tilting, and every time I hit something I was shocked.  I lost all ability to be conscious that I even had a left side.  My favorite* strange thing was my left hand letting go of stuff if I didn't watch it.  Just flat out dropping plates and cups filled with drinks.  It was almost as if it was no longer a part of my body, but an acquaintance that I had to keep an eye on so she wouldn't destroy my dishes and harm herself.   I also recall when I began driving that I had to be purposeful in using the mirror on the left side.  It was no longer automatic to check that mirror when merging -- I had to think about it with focus. I know those of you who have this understand, but I find it very hard to put words to losing a part of yourself.  There is no awareness that my left side existed.  No wisp of memory, no "I used to be able to do that".  When I sleep my head wants to tilt to the right.  It feels natural to lean that way.  Super comfortable, and comforting.  Since the stroke I have forced it to tilt left. Pretty much anything that feels void and awkward if I can make my body do it, I do.  And tilting left when I sleep is not a good feeling.  It is not that is hurts, or is uncomfortable, it just feels unsettled.  Like there is no recognition of my body existing in this position.  Not relaxing.  But I have done it over and over again.  Consciously turning my head to the left, moving the left side of my body, my leg, my torso. I can now fall asleep with my head to the left, but the muscles cramp up.  It is all a big process. What do they say?  More a marathon than a sprint.   I get that feeling of wanting to not care. To give up. To take the easy road and exist in my right sided realm.  Most of the time, I fight that.  When we do closed-eye practice in yoga sometimes I open my eyes and find my body has twisted to the right.  All I can say is that it is good I am stubborn and like to win - so when my body torques to the right and feels lovely... I pull it back in line or to the left where it does not reside in peace and make it stay there. 

Son Wilder's art project for school.
18 months later, looking in my car's left sided mirrors is back to being automatic. I pick up my left foot when walking so stumble less. I carry things without dropping them.   But I have way more bruises on the left side of my body that I don't know where they came from, and have joint problems in my left knee and ankle due to my loss of communication between my torso and brain.

This topic idea came from Grace  over at wrote recently about proprioception and her navigating therapies.  It got me thinking about all of this...


  1. What a truly excellent description of how it feels. My left side works pretty well most days, but it feels off, not comfortable and like you said .. unsettled.

    I now like life to happen over to my right side.

    1. Oh I hear you...such strangeness we have learned to deal with!