Balance is the ability to maintain steadiness. It is an essential need as we age. You need balance at every stage in life, whether you want to plant tomato saplings or you want to fetch the peppercorns from the top of the shelf. Maintaining your balance allows you to practise continuously, the complex activities you love, as well as spending time with nature. Balance prevents you from a fall which is always dangerous.
Fraser Pratt, 44, lives in USA with his wife Emma, 42 and two children. “I think I’m having a stroke,” I joked to a colleague. My head felt fuzzy and an email I’d just touch-typed was a jumble of letters.
It was 8 June 2018, the day before my 42nd birthday, so I finished early and went home to rest. As soon as I stepped through the door, I was overcome with dizziness and had to ask my nine year old son Tom, for help.
The next part is a blur. The right side of my face felt heavy and my speech was slurred. Then, terrifyingly, I lost my sight. By the time I was hospitalised, I could barely stand or speak and was so tired. It was a stroke brought on by my diabetes. After four days, I was discharged and given an intensive course of therapy each day for six weeks.
Despite making progress a year on, I still had balance issues and felt nervous going out alone. I managed to go back to running my marketing company by January 2019, but had to scale back.
Then, in the summer of that year, Emma took a trip to India with friends, where she tried yoga. When she talked about the techniques, we wondered whether it might help with some of my issues. I found an online class and now I practise every day. As well as improving my fitness, yoga has helped make my anxiety easier to control. In fact, a few months ago, I took Elsa (my daughter) to a yoga retreat in Portugal. It was a challenge, but a great experience, too.
I still struggle with short-term memory and am easily tired, but I have developed techniques to help. My stroke has become part of my history, but it no longer defines who I am. I am determined to live a long and healthy life – as everyday I grow stronger and more confident with my yoga discipline. Trust this 15 minute beginner yoga video. It can’t hurt to try!