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A Woman’s Knees, a Woman’s Life by Jocelyn Jacks Kahn

Renowned physical therapist Pete Egoscue wrote that many experts blame the epidemic of knee and hip problems on the fact that we use them too much. This struck him as absurd. From years of studying the human body, Egoscue knew that our joints are made for decades of continual movement. He believed that joint injuries are not caused by simply moving too much, but by moving when the body is out of alignment. When the body is in proper alignment, moving puts no improper stress on its joints. When a body is out of alignment, moving stresses its joints inappropriately and pain and disability follow.

Our lives are exactly the same as our knees—and this brings us to a hidden but pervasive source of stress in our lives: living out of alignment with ourselves. Many women have been trained from birth to focus on fulfilling the needs of others— children, husband, friends, community, boss. This makes us particularly likely to lose touch with our own core sense of what we need—and even of who we are—along the way.

When the movement of our life is pushed and pulled by loved ones and others outside of ourselves, we end up living from the surface of our life. We then begin living out of alignment with our own center of gravity. We feel unstable and unbalanced. Pain and dysfunction follow.

When living out of alignment, there is a drag on the flow of life. Everything—even what others may see as high points—becomes more tiring, more difficult and emptier. We feel inexplicably stressed and may even develop a stress-related illness. However, when living in alignment with the compass of our inner sense of rightness, our life moves in a relaxed, buoyant flow—even when that movement takes the form of mundane tasks.

The good news is we can realign with our central core. That inner spring of energy is still accessible at any time. By taking a few moments to push the pause button on our lives, we can come back into alignment right now. The following exercise can help any woman realign with her inner compass.

  • Take a moment to notice where you are. What does the place you’re in look like/feel like/sound like? In other words, come into the here and now of your life. Sense the weight of your body on your chair (or bed or floor).
  • Notice something else: this surface you are on is supporting your body. Can you allow yourself to drop down into this support that is already here for you, right now? Take a deep breath, and notice how that feels in your body as you release it.
  • Now suggest this to yourself: I’m sensing what’s standing between me and feeling fine. Notice the first concern that comes to mind. Imagine that you are setting it out a little distance from you. You’re not getting rid of it; whatever pops up for you is here for some good reason, believe it or not. But right now, you’re giving it a little space. Some people like to imagine each concern as a bag that they have been holding and are now gently setting down. Notice the bit of release that comes.
  • Ask again, and continue until you have set each concern gently down at a little bit of a distance. Check in with how you feel. You may be sensing a spacious, peaceful feeling. Notice exactly how that feels in your body. Stay with it at least a full minute. Note that you did not acquire this feeling by adding anything to what was there. Notice that you discovered this space that was here all along—no diets or credit cards required.
  • Now, allowing yourself to remain in this space for another minute, sense whether you can allow the packages that you’ve set down to be here as well. After all, there’s lots of room. And remember that even while you were lost in all the bags, this buoyant space was here. Even if you pick all the bags back up, this space is here.

This is just a first step in noticing this peaceful space that rests inside all of us. It has always been there. We just need to allow ourselves room to connect with it.

Jocelyn Jacks Kahn, certified Inner Relationship Focusing teacher and guide, helps women who long for lives of depth and meaning to connect with the core of who they really are. She currently teaches at Zen Garland in Airmont and also offers private guided Inner Relationship Focusing sessions. Visit for more information.

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