Photo by Ramona Arellano

My inner child can still recall how the raised therapy mat supported my young body as Gretchen’s voice attempted to guide my unruly muscles through a series of simple movements.

“Press your feet down into the mat. Use the muscles in your belly to lift your behind. Hold your butt up for as long as you can. See, your body looks like a bridge. Come down slowly. Control your movement,” she ordered in a calm and structured voice. Gretchen said all the words, but I did all the work.

My 9-year-old self did not like physical therapy one bit. Even then, my developing psyche had received the message that my cerebral palsy, my constant companion, was a problem in need of solving. So by extension, I was a broken being in need of fixing. After all, none of my nondisabled classmates were yanked out of science to have their tight hamstrings stretched, range of motion measured, or gawked at in their underwear while the special clinic doctor recorded their yearly progress. Needless to say, I was not the happiest or most cooperative kid during my time on that raised mat.

Trading Old PT Memories for New Yoga Ones

Twenty-five years later, I traded in those sour old memories of that therapy mat for a set of happier memories on a yoga mat. Even before I had any notions of beginning my own practice, I knew yoga was the latest, hottest fitness craze among the nondisabled population. Plenty of these folks regularly twisted themselves into all kinds of interesting poses on a weekly