Update from Maui

I’ve had the incredible opportunity to come back to Maui and work with Alejandra and her staff and share her amazing perspective and approach to my recovery. I’m a little over halfway through my time here and I must admit I’ve been pretty unplugged from everything and everyone, but I finally have the time, motivation and videos/photos to give a quick update.

As a quick reminder, Alejandra has created her own unique form of therapy she calls Neurokinetic Pilates which utilizes the concept of Neuroplasticity (the belief that the brain and nervous system can repair and rewire damaged connections as a result of injury, illness, etc.) and the understanding of the lines of fascia (the tissue that surrounds and connects all of our muscles) to perform exercises and movements that mostly use Pilates principles and equipment. (I wrote a couple of posts about my last experience with her from a few months ago, if you want to reference, the links are here and here).

This time around, it was right back to work immediately after arrival from the airport. Alejandra is incredibly focused, highly motivated, and does not like to waste one second of  our time which are qualities that I share and a few of the many reasons I like working with her so much. We had barely finished greeting each other before we were back at it, analyzing what had gotten stronger with me, what was still weak and what needed to be done during my time here.

So far, the main emphasis has been on connecting and strengthening muscles that will assist me with standing and starting to take steps. Alejandra refers to these muscles as “sleepy” as they haven’t been used much and need to be reawakened. Her skill lies in the ability to come up with exercises that find that precise body position that I need to be in (and there is very little margin for error in terms of my positioning) in order to engage those muscles. If my positioning is ever so slightly off, then the ability to connect that muscle is lost. Once we’ve woken up those sleepy muscles, then it’s just a matter of strengthening that connection by repetition.

The main muscles we’ve been working on are my glutes and hamstrings – and to a lesser extent my calves – as these are the muscles that will allow me to bend my knee from standing, lift my hip and take a step. The following video/photos show some of the exercises we’ve done everyday to connect these muscles:















Before I sign off, I have to mention Grant Korgan who has been an inspiration for me since I first got injured and was the one who told me about Alejandra and how much she had helped him with his recovery from SCI. I’ve mentioned and linked to him a few times on my blog but now I’ve had the great fortune to spend some time with him and his wife Shawna out here. Big shoutout to them, from Ale le le waterfalls on the east side of Maui.

Ale le le falls

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12 thoughts on “Update from Maui

  1. Hi! I thought of you few days ago when I saw this short video explaining some new discovery about rewirering thenervesin the spinal cord; it comes from scientists in Switzerland woh expreiment with rats. They discover that motivation was essantial to the process, I think you have a lot. In the rats case, they used chocolate. What would it take for a human? They did not say. Anyhow, it’s worth watching. Have a good time in Maui.


    1. Wow this is so cool. Thank so much for sharing this with me. Motivation is key, whether scientists say so or not and it’s great to see empirical proof of that with rats. I appreciate you taking the time to send me the story. -AB

  2. Thank you Arash for a great update. Great to everything moving in the good direction and you’re having fun too!

  3. Excellent update – I love the connections you are making inside your body and outside your body by getting to spend time with your friend Grant and his wife! Sending you good energy as you continue on the path of recovery!

  4. I’m a vent quadriplegic. I would be excited to just get off the ventilator and be able to breathe on my own. I’ve always felt there had to be exercises for my diaphragm. Thank you for the update and the encouraging work you guys are doing.

    1. Good luck to you. I’m sure there are some exercises you can do to improve your breathing. Maybe ask your PT/OT/Rehab doctor what they suggest? I know when I started, I had very little lung capacity and I had to spend weeks practicing taking deep breaths. It helped over time as I got a bit better, although my breathing is still pretty poor in comparison to before. And my diaphragm has a hard time engaging but I keep trying… -AB

      1. Were there certain exercises you did?
        After I was 1st injured, they told me I would never be able to eat/drink. One of the therapists gave me some swallowing exercises. I remember how hard I worked. Needless to say, I have no feeding tube and am able to enjoy eating/drinking like everybody else.

  5. Hi Arash,

    I just read your article about waking sleep muscles, neuroplasticity, and Alejandra. The pictures tell the story too. I am grateful that your friend Grant connected to two; you look relaxed and upbeat. I am so happy to hear the news.

    I had a wonderful trip to Japan; it was my first tour with a group. The people in the group were wonderful, we all got along and had connections from the past even. But the leader wasn’t up to handling 24 adults and so we got rushed around which was the antithesis of being mindful at the zen temple. It was fun, nonetheless. I had good weather, my sister was a great companion, and now I am home signed up for 1:1 apple classes so I can move up in the world of iphones and mac books.

    aloha to you and I hope you have a great rest of your trip.


    1. Glad you got a good sense of what I was trying to explain Linda. It’s pretty amazing work I’m doing here, that’s for sure. So happy to hear about your good trip, although I wish you had better leaders. Wish I could have taken you there when I worked for Backroads. 🙂 Much love -AB

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