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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

"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