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Using My Heritage to Teach About the Importance of Functional Squatting

My family is originally from Gujarat, India. My parents migrated to the US in 1972. Me and my four older brothers were very young when we moved here to the US. I was only 2 years old.  When I was in middle school my father decided to take me and one of my brothers to India to visit my grandmother. This was my first time ever traveling to our home country. I spent all summer there with my grandmother who was widowed. She lived in a very small village with a very small home. We had very little running water. Most of our water came from a well, which I remember having to go get for her in big barrels. No central air and an outhouse with no westernized toilet seat.

My most memorable memory of this trip was when my father took me to the toilet at the airport.  When I walked in, I looked for the toilet seats and everything looked very different.  I was very scared and then a women next to me kindly showed me the toilets.  She took my hand and showed me the holes in the ground that had a water basin next to them. She showed me how to squat down to use the bathroom and use the water to wash. I was so embarrassed and but did what she showed me. That summer I learned so much. Squatting was something that was normal for every function of daily life.  Not only did we have to squat to use the bathroom, we had to squat to bathe our bodies, squat to help wash our clothes in the creek, squat to cook, and squat and bow down to pray. I learned such a great deal about life during that summer and many more summers that I had the privilege to go visit my grandmother. 

It is amazing to me how God has brought me full circle. I use those things I learned that summer and my past experiences as a pelvic floor therapists today on a daily basis. Functional squatting and the importance of keeping our neutral spine for ADLs is a crucial part of my teaching. I reflect back to my days in India as I try to educate my patients on squatting and pelvic floor training and am so thankful that I have my past to be able to do this with.