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Water Workout

The butterfly stroke provides an intense workout for the "rib anchor" muscles.
July, 2014
One of the many benefits of having excellent posture is the ability to enjoy an active lifestyle without injury. Conversely, an active lifestyle can help cultivate good posture. While you are still honing your posture, water is a perfect medium to train in since your buoyancy will reduce impact on your joints. In this forgiving medium, you can safely increase your muscle strength, stamina and flexibility while exploring the nuances of natural posture. You can reset movement patterns and connect the dots that make up the Gokhale Method while enjoying the soothing effect of the water on your body and mind. No matter which stroke you choose, you will have occasion to summon up and strengthen your deep abdominal muscles. These muscles are especially important for the health and safety of your spine. Read more

Pitching Posture and Evolution

June, 2014
Baseball season is well underway and the 2014 All Star Game will soon be upon us. As always, power and precision pitching will be key, which is one reason why not a single chimpanzee will find himself in either of the All Star Team rotations. Given that adult chimps are overall stronger than even the most powerful baseball players, how can it be that a chimp’s “fast” ball clocks in at only about 20 miles per hour, whereas today’s Major League pitchers routinely throw balls at 90-100 mph. Why chimp strength doesn’t translate into throwing a fastball–and why relatively weak human beings are so much better at powerfully and accurately throwing–is a line of questioning anthropologist Neil T. Roach and a team of researchers set out to explore. Their findings–reported in “Elastic energy storage in the shoulder and the evolution of high-speed throwing in Homo,” a study published last year in Nature, is what inspires this post. Read more

Airplane Seat Solutions

A Stretchsit cushion helps fill the unhealthy C shape found in many airplane seats, or even better, facilitates gently stretching the spine.
May, 2014
The summer is upon us and many of us will be traveling in buses, boats, cars, and planes. I have spent a lot of time on planes, and I observed people in discomfort all around me. The shape of airplane seats varies from airline to airline, but all of them have a curvature that forces the spine into an uncomfortable C-shape. In this season of airline travel, I’d like to share some simple tips to protect the spine and reduce muscle tension during an airplane flight. 1) Fill the C The concave shape of airline seats puts pressure on the spinal discs and is the starting point for muscle tension. Fill the lower part of your seat with pillows, blankets, sweaters, or ideally a Stretchsit® cushion to create a flat plane along which you can lengthen your spine. Read more

Teaching the Method: Roberta Cooks

Healthy posture can positively impact the universe inside us
April, 2014
We have an amazing pool of teachers, and I’m extremely proud of every one of them. They have diverse backgrounds and bring all kinds of knowledge, experience, and sensitivity to our Method, which benefits teachers and students alike. We are constantly tweaking and improving our offerings. Every month we get together via regularly scheduled continuing-education teleseminars, where I or another expert in a specific area makes a presentation, followed by a lively discussion. In addition, we stay in regular communication via what we have dubbed the “Teacher Water Cooler.” This is a private collaboration, a place where one teacher might write, “I just reviewed the intake form for ‘Student Y,’ who has this unusual syndrome, plus this and this and this. Any ideas how I might adjust my approach?” Another teacher might offer, “I ran into a cool educational tool the other day,” or, “Check out this interesting video on YouTube, and tell me what you think about its point of view.” So we teachers benefit from an ongoing and very dynamic interaction and, once a year, we gather together for a weekend of hands-on work. Read more

Neck Pain Tips

Notice the alignment of this girl's head with her torso as she hip-hinges to pound her millet
April, 2014
A pain in the neck really can be a pain in the neck! Here are some tips on how to address this annoying problem: 1. Stretch it out. (a) When you lie on your back, stretch the back of your neck out as you lay your head on the pillow. This way the pillow can help lengthen any tense muscles in your neck. (b) When you drive, use the headrest to stretch the back of your neck out. 2. Know which way is up. (a) Grasp a good-sized clump of hair at the base of your skull and gently pull back and up allowing your chin to angle downward in a relaxed way. Read more

Posture Focus and Ping Pong is a Win-Win Combination

German table tennis players Timo Boll and Christian Suss are laser-focused on the ball
March, 2014
Many people in the US think of ping-pong as a somewhat lackadaisical sport, but it's actually a very active game that requires a great deal of fine motor control, hand-eye coordination, and athleticism. It takes explosive power, in addition to strength and flexibility, to get to the ball in time. In fact, one of the benefits of playing table tennis is that it allows you to develop explosive power - and explosive power is helpful for building bones and strengthening muscles. Professional table-tennis player Timo Boll, below left, illustrates these truths. His form is superb. Not only are his legs externally rotated, but he's doing a perfect hip-hinge, his shoulders are back and low, and his left wrist is in good alignment. Read more