It surprised me that this man, a yoga instructor I had just met 15 minutes ago, with long hair, big muscles and tattoos all over his body, was not frightened by my disability and was so genuinely interested in working with me. “I’ve never done this before and I think I’m going to learn more from you than you from me…” he said. His honesty made me trust him even though neither of us knew what we were doing and what the outcome would be. We went into the studio and he asked me what would be the best way to get me to the floor. I guided him to wrap one arm around my back and the other under my thighs, as he scooped me up for the first time of many and lowered me to the mat. We began with breathing and basic postures. Inhale, Exhale, Feel, Be Present.
I went into that hot room cold and afraid. I came out warm, transformed and addicted. My life changed that day. It changed the way I thought about my paralyzed body. It boosted my confidence and reduced my pain. I wasn’t broken and fragile. I felt sexy!
Over time I gained balance and strength both physically and emotionally. Although my body is paralyzed, it is still alive and I need to love it, care for it and most importantly understand and listen to it without judgement or comparison to those around me. Funny how this thing I was afraid of trying was exactly what I needed to lead me into happiness and well-being.
Reveca Torres, founder of the SCI/D nonprofit BACKBONES, is enthusiastic about cameras and photos. Her bimonthly column uses images to explore how changing your perspective can change your life.