Monthly Archives: February 2011

The North and South Node – Aquarius/Leo

The Nodes of the Moon are two very important points in the interpretation of an astrology chart. There are probably millions of web pages, not to mention hundreds of books on the subject. But I just wanted to add my 2 cents here, specifically around my own nodal experiences using my own chart.

This astrologer writes a simple blog post on using the nodes in interpretation. The standard idea is South Node = karma, what you came into this life with, what you are “used to,” and what you can “get away with” or let others “get away with” and North Node = the soul’s purpose in this incarnation, the experiences the soul wants to have in this lifetime.

In addition to these ideas, I also find that the South Node represents behaviors and tendencies so deep in the subconscious that the native is unlikely to even be aware of them. These are the things you just do, without thinking: ways of being, doing, thinking, relating, problem-solving, etc. You can think of the South Node as what you came into this lifetime with: experiences, tendencies, and even perhaps deeply held memories.

The North Node, in addition to containing hints to what the soul wants in this lifetime is also a bit like a sign pointing to the areas where you will find the most spiritual growth. This is especially colored by the house placement.

Using my own chart as an example, my Aquarius North Node in the 6th house of service reinforces what I believe is my purpose in this lifetime: through service (yoga and healing) I can help bring about changes that affect humanity as a whole (an Aquarian theme). Look to where your North Node is, the sign and house placement. What are the themes of that sign? The house the North Node is in should give you a hint as to how to play out those themes. My North Node would be expressed differently if it were, say, in my 5th house of creativity or in my 2nd house of material possessions and values.

To borrow from Elizabeth Spring’s blog post I linked to above, the South Node contains the “gold of the shadow.” What are the positive elements of the sign in the South Node? Mine in Leo would point to warmth and gregariousness; its negative sides are over-indulgence in comforting things (food, shopping, sex) or a tendency to feel neglected if not the center of attention. Look for the “gold of the shadow” in your South Node to bring things from your past lives into this one. These may be tendencies so deep a part of you that you are unaware of them unless you look for them.

We can look at our Nodes are signs pointing the way. If we get stuck in our South Node comfort zones, we may never find our soul’s potential in this incarnation. Usually the North Node will be in a sign and placement that you instinctively say “yuck” to, but if you take the time to examine it, it should make sense. Nodal placements are gut-level, intuitive things, so don’t let that North Node scare you…move towards it and give your soul what it is asking for, for its own development.

Tibetan Yogis have been able to remember past lives and seek to achieve certain meditation techniques in present lifetimes so they can make an indelible mark on their mindstreams! If it is possible to know your past lives and think about your future ones in this lifetime, the Nodes become ever clearer guideposts!

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Moving into the Bones

a cross-section of bone

Since I received the multiple diagnoses about my skeletal and joint conditions, I have been searching for more information which could help me live a better life with these conditions. I intend to use my personal experience to help others with similar conditions, and thus I am very interested in studying Yoga for Arthritis, Body-Mind Centering, yoga therapeutics, and other movement/healing modalities.

Last week I had a visit with Kim-Lien Kendall, a teacher I met when I was studying at Levitate, which later became Reflections. I always enjoyed Kim’s teaching style and her knowledge of anatomy. I learned a lot from Kim’s classes, and appreciated her fun, exploratory approach to asana that was solidly grounded in deep understanding of anatomy.

I reconnected with Kim when I asked her to recommend teachers for yoga therapeutics, and mentioned my recent diagnoses. She offered me to come to her studio, saying she could help me. We met this past Monday in her private space on W. 27th St. She had a life-size anatomical skeleton in her office (“Jacques,” cast from a male skeleton) where she was able to show me exactly the locations of my bone spurs and worn cartiledges as I told her the MRI and x-ray results. And the best part is…she thinks everything I have is “fixable” and “manageable.” I knew it was manageable, but to think I could fix something? Wow…this was exactly the word I wanted to hear.

We discovered I have several movement patterns that are directly related to the areas of my body that are experiencing wear now. I favor my left side by about 65% and have carried my (way too heavy) bag on that side for years. I sit in the front of my hips, which is where the wearing is in the labrum. Years of wearing high heels have probably contributed to lumbar discs either bulging or (I don’t know yet what the condition of my discs is; still waiting to see the doctor for this report) leaking fluid or who knows what.

As Kim observed my body and movement patterns, she also noticed that I tend to rotate my femur internally and hold it in the top of the socket…again, corresponding to where my joint is worn. With a few simple exercises to “get me into the bones,” Kim palpated the bones of my feet, my sacrum (especially the SI joint, which is so much tighter on the left than on the right!) and my femur to help me connect to the bones.

Body-Mind Centering sees the body as cells that become membranes that become organs (or bones or nerves, etc.) and all of these cell types have different behaviors. Kim wondered what “type” I was. She said she is a “blood type,” and she can look at a person and observe them and generally figure out which of the body systems they are most in tune with. Whether or not I am a bone type, I still needed greater awareness of how I am carrying the bones of my body.

To re-learn movement patterns is called “re-patterning,” and this is some of the work I will need to do as I move forward in life with these various diagnoses. The idea of changing movement patterns through awareness fills me with hope and optimism, not to mention excitement at learning a whole new way in which to understand my body and life.

I am very excited to begin my studies in Body-Mind Centering, and feel that because I am experiencing these things, I will be able to help others with similar conditions. It’s ironic, but not too unlike the course of my life thus far, that I would find my next path in life through injury, trauma, or the perception of loss. In fact, I have gained: new awareness, new understanding, and greater compassion.

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An update: arthritis, discs, and other tales of a boney sort

My last post that posited my injuries were due to a psoas pull or perhaps Greater Trochantic Pain Syndrome was, in a nutshell, wrong. I have oste0-arthritis in my left hip, bone spurs on my illiac crest and femoral head, a labral tear, impingement of the sciatic nerve, and degenerative disc disease (that sounds so awful, doesn’t it!? Thanks, Western Medicine).

How did all this happen? This is part of what I will spend probably the next several months and years figuring out, and the next however-many-years-I-live working with.

Some hints, which I would like to pass on as caveats to the young and (hyper) active:

1. Lighten your load. Ladies, this means pocketbooks. New York women are champions of the enormous 20 lb. sack as pocketbook style. In this sack, we put a change of clothes, make-up, a spare pair of shoes, yoga clothes, food, a 1.5 liter bottle of water (heavy!), books, smartphones, Blackberries, wallets (laden with credit cards and frequent-buyer reward cards…more weight!), notebooks, and God knows what else.

Although designer bags have become larger and larger over the years, just because they make it bigger doesn’t mean you have to fill it. This is also an exercise in discovering your essentials. Even five pounds worn on one shoulder exclusively can have effects on the gait and distribution of weight across the hips if not addressed.

2. High heels look great but are not great for you. Wearing high heels creates a tilt in the pelvis that shifts the weight forward, onto the ball of the foot. This creates lordosis (sway back), effectively compressing the lower vertebrae, and may have resulted in both the wearing I have in the anterior superior region of the hip joint as well as my lumbar discs.

3. Slow down. I have, for nearly two decades, literally stomped across New York City in very high heels carrying a gigantic purse, along with whatever else I picked up along the day (packages, groceries, etc) at breakneck speeds. The result: increased impact with the concrete (no shock absorption) on an already mis-aligned skeleton due to carrying too much weight and not having it properly balanced across the foot, knee, and hip due to wearing heels.

There is also something insidious about this fast paced way. The inner dialogue is one of pressure, shoulds and musts, and lack of forgiveness. It was unthinkable to me I could not accomplish the 20 things I set out to do on any given day, while wearing heels, carrying a 20 lb. purse, and booking my day to within an inch of its life. The pressure to check things off this ever-intensifying list was relentless. I walked fast and hard because I felt such profound internal pressure to do it all.

Healing from this type of thing will probably prove more lasting than many of the more physically visible injuries or conditions such a mental schema has caused.

There is a silver lining to all of this though. I will detail some of that in a subsequent post, and also update as I find out more about my various musco-skeletal conditions.

I am still practicing and teaching through all of this. I do not really feel pain or inflammation on most days. On some days, I do feel the hip become a bit stiffer and more sensitive, but overall, my life has not been capsized by these discoveries. If anything, I am grateful to have discovered them now so I can begin working with these conditions through increased awareness, sane modifications and practice, environmental and dietary therapy, movement therapy, and whatever other modalities I discover along the way.

And that’s the amazing thing about holistic health and mind-body work…there are so many modalities for healing and for bringing increased awareness and relief to people, and I am grateful and honored to be a part of that community.

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