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"On a Columnar Self—"

Expansive, powerful posture is characteristic of both portraits
February, 2014
Because I see poetry in healthy posture and find inspiration in the powerful poems of Emily Dickinson, I will connect some disparate dots and weigh in on the fundamental strengths of the poet's posture, as captured in the 1847 daguerreotype of her at about age 16, just above. Also, because some believe the woman in the patterned dress, below left, to be the poet (see interesting article here) at age 28 or 29, I will comment on her very similar posture, as well. As an aside, because it makes a compelling case that the woman seated above left could be the reclusive poet, please take a look at this silent 30-second video created with advanced Photoshop layering techniques. Read more

Use Your Core to Do your Chore?

Dancing with the inner corset protects me from spinal wear and tear. It helps stability, powers my movements, and gives me a better workout.
January, 2014
I generally avoid the word “core,” because most people understand it to mean “tuck your pelvis and tighten every abdominal muscle you can find.” This is neither natural nor healthy. Tucking the pelvis compresses the L5-S1 disc in the worst possible direction (pushing the disc contents backwards against the spinal nerve roots), throws off the balance of the entire spine, challenges the hip joints, puts the glutes in a position of mechanical disadvantage (setting you up for a flat or saggy butt) and detracts from your appearance. Read more

Knee bone connected to the…?

Josephine Baker dances the Charleston
December, 2013
Can you sing "Dem Dry Bones"? If you don't know the spiritual by name, I bet you can intone at least some of the lyrics: …the foot bone's connected to the leg bone, the leg bone's connected to the knee bone, the knee bone's connected to the thigh bone... Beyond the direct structural connection between the "knee bone," or patella, and the "thigh bone," or femur, is another connection that will be of particular interest to athletes and other individuals afflicted with or susceptible to patellar femoral pain syndrome (PFPS), a disorder often referred to as "runner's knee." And this is the connection between the knee and the gluteus medius, the muscles situated above and toward the outer sides of the much larger gluteus maximus muscles. Read more

Analyze this!

Nice spine lengthening!
November, 2013
For fun and mutual learning, we're launching an interactive blog feature where we invite you to share images of posture (healthy, unhealthy, and everything in between) for us to analyze. By us I mean me, Esther, and my Gokhale Method teaching colleagues. Periodically, we'll select from all the submissions "best-of" images that offer a rich platform from which we can launch an online conversation. After we've added our two cents to your contribution, we'll publish the photo and commentary here, as a blog post. Read more

Posture Journey: Mike King

October, 2013
A quote from one of my cherished Gokhale Method students captures the before of his posture-improving, pain-eliminating journey with me: "I was a managing director at a telecommunications company supervising a lot of people, but there would be days when I’d put in my time lying on the floor in my office--to take pressure off my spine. At first colleagues would walk in and do a double-take, but gradually they become accustomed to my having to stretch out the floor while I worked. This had become my new normal." Read more

Fixing a Sway Back

Tucking the rib cage-- a healthy way to flatten the low back.
October, 2013
Though a sway back is commonly perceived as good posture, most people recognize it to be a problem. What is the best way to fix a sway? And for those of you who don’t quite know, what is a sway? A swayback is an inappropriate curve usually in the upper lumbar spine. It is frequently the result of trying to “sit up straight,” or “stand up straight” in a sustained way. Sometimes it is the result of modern activities, most notably women’s gymnastics, women’s ice-skating, women’s ballet and misguided forms of yoga. Read more