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.