Blog

Back-Saving Tips for the Outdoor Enthusiast

July, 2017

There are several more weeks of summer vacation before school starts again: plenty of time to squeeze a family camping trip or two out of the sunshiny drops of Summer!  Here are a few tips to promote healthy posture while you’re on the road, by the campfire, and in your tent.

 

Are We There Yet?

During the long haul to your nearest national park, it’s easy to strain your cervical spine (the vertebrae in your neck) by craning your neck forward to see the road.


Justin Bieber, in this photo, is demonstrating forward head—his ear is forward of his collar bones, and his chin is far in front of his sternum
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Working With Scoliosis (Gokhale Method Teacher Cynthia Rose's Back Story)

June, 2017

When I was 12 years old my mother took me to our family doctor for a check up. I remember him looking at me and saying “One of your shoulders slopes down more than the other. Isn’t that interesting!” What’s interesting to me is that the word scoliosis never came up in the conversation and that there wasn’t any further investigation of my sloping shoulder. As a 12-year old I had never heard of scoliosis, so I thought my sloping shoulder was just an oddity I would live with.

It was not until many years later when I returned to school to study massage therapy that I began to notice changes in my spine that manifested as chronic low back pain. I thought it was because of the sitting I was doing in classes or the crawling around on the floor for shiatsu practice sessions. The pain never really subsided, though I did find temporary relief through bodywork and the application of heat. Though the pain was not severe, it was bothersome because it was... Read more

Breathing as Spinal Massage

June, 2017

In the branch of Yoga called Pranayama (Prana = breath, life; Yama = discipline) there is a technique called Nadi Shodhan Pranayama. I learned this technique from my yoga mentors in Bombay and in an ashram in Rajnandagaon in Central India. It’s the best way I know to quiet my mind when I feel agitated. I have taught the technique to many students and patients over the years as a way to address obsessive thoughts, anxiety, and 'blah' feelings.


This Yogini is practicing Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, a style of meditative breathing

You place the tips of your middle and pointer finger of the right hand between your eyebrows and use your thumb and ring finger to open and close your nostrils. Now follow this pattern:

1.    Inhale through one nostril for four counts,

2.  ... Read more

Sitting: Is It Hurting You?

May, 2017

Sitting has been much maligned in the last decade. News sources love to dramatize the issue, and you can find many alarming headlines—such as, “Sitting will kill you, even if you exercise” from CNN in 2015. The debate about the various risks of sitting and possible ways to mitigate them is raging, and articles and research range from “sitting is the new smoking” to “sitting isn’t actually bad for you.”

 
Sitting: is it bad for you?

In the last few years, some research has seemed to backtrack or qualify the fears of the past, making a distinction between sitting for work versus sitting in front of the TV; news articles have begun to note the higher risks of sitting for those who are obese or inactive, and the potentially minimal risks of sitting for otherwise healthy... Read more

Abigayil Tamara's Experience with the Gokhale Method

May, 2017

We set a high bar for our six-lesson Gokhale Method Foundations course. We expect our students will 

  1. Sit, stand, walk, lie, and bend in new (old!) and better ways
  2. Experience significantly less pain and more function
  3. Expect more from their body and life. 
  4. Use the word “life-transforming” somewhere in their evaluation forms.

Even with this high bar, a student sometimes surprises us with the extent or speed of their progress over the course. Abigayil Tamara is one such student - here is her story. 

My Experience With the Gokhale Method
~Abigayil Tamara, MA, MSW

I looked into the Gokhale Method after someone in a grocery store told me how much it had helped his mother. 

My back issues began over 34 years ago, in 1983. I was... Read more

Teaching Desmond Tutu the Gokhale Method

May, 2017

Several years ago, I had the good fortune to teach Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African social rights activist and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. He was recommended to my care by a common friend. His wife Leah had faced some lower back challenges, as had he. We exchanged emails and arranged a meeting during his visit to San Francisco in 2009.


Archbishop Desmond Tutu

When I first saw him in the lobby of his hotel, he struck me as a very unassuming, grounded person,... Read more