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Esther Gokhale's blog

Home Exercises Part 5: Squats

January, 2022

In this blog post, the fifth in our series scrutinizing popular home exercises, we are looking at squats. Is it a beneficial exercise, and how does it stack up—or not—against the principles of healthy posture?

Squats are a popular and effective exercise designed primarily to strengthen the front of thigh muscles (quadriceps), stabilize the knee joint, tone the butt (gluteus maximus), and also work the back muscles. Read more

How to Choose a Backrest

January, 2022
This blog post is about sitting with a backrest, which could be the back part of a chair, or something added to the chair for additional support and comfort.  Support and relief Virtually any backrest will give relief that a tired back will appreciate. Support is certainly preferable when we sit for longer periods of time to enjoy reading, TV, a movie, or, if we are lucky, live theater.  With the trunk slightly inclined against a backrest, there is less compressive force due to gravity acting on the spine. In addition, the trunk stabilizer muscles get a break. When we are driving or traveling by plane or train, a backrest also confers additional protection from vibration or any untoward impact.  Read more

Fixing my Posture Fixed my Pain

December, 2021
I am a 45-year-old software engineer living in California. I grew up and lived in India until I was 37. In my mid-twenties I developed lower back pain and right hip pain, and I recollect having a series of MRIs and medical traction but obtaining nothing more than temporary relief. I also went for Indian massage therapy, which did effectively relieve the pain for some years. Read more

Running: Part 1: Introduction

December, 2021

Welcome to our first blog post in a new series on running. This series is designed to be useful to beginners and would-be beginners, as well as seasoned runners and everyone in between. 

Running is primal

Running was a defining feature in our development as a species. We are built to run. As children, almost all of us enjoyed this facility. You may believe that you are too injured, too old, or too uncoordinated to consider jogging—and you may be right—but I would still like to invite you to bring running onto your radar as something to work towards.  Read more

Home Exercises Part 4: Low Planks

November, 2021

This is our fourth blog post in the series where we put popular exercises under scrutiny to examine how they stack up—or not—against the principles of healthy posture. Here we are looking at “low plank,” a whole-body exercise that particularly develops abdominal strength and trunk stability.

Our model for the photographs is Eric Fernandez, our Gokhale Exercise teacher who teaches the Gokhale Method in the Philadelphia area. Read more

Home Exercises Part 4: Head Rotations/Circling 

October, 2021

This is our fourth blog post in the series where we put popular home exercises under scrutiny to examine how they stack up—or not—against the principles of healthy posture. In this post we are looking at head rotations/circling, an exercise that is often suggested to ease stiffness and mobilize the neck.

Neck pain—causes and solutions

Although not often considered in physical fitness and exercise regimens, the neck frequently becomes a problematic area for people in our culture. At that point, we look to mobilizing, stretching, and strengthening exercises to alleviate pain and stiffness.    Read more

Old Family Photos are a Great Posture Tool: Part 2: Lower Body

September, 2021

Rediscovering ancestral posture can be fun! In our online 1-2-3 Move program we have had several “Show and Tells” during which participants share old family photographs. The inspiration for healthy posture and positive change that these pictures bring to their descendants, as well as to the online community, is powerful. 

In Part 1 of this series we looked at the upper body. Here we are going to consider what our forebears can teach us about healthy alignment for the lower body—specifically, what needs to happen with the pelvis, legs, and feet.  Read more

Hypermobility

September, 2021

Flexibility in the body is generally regarded as a plus, and most people want more of it. Flexibility is seen to enable a wide range of motion, avoid muscle pulls, and spare wear and tear in overly tight joints. But like most things in life, you can have too much of a good thing. In this blog post we are going to look at why excessive mobility has a downside and how healthy posture can mitigate that.

An exceptional range of motion makes for a very “bendy” looking body. Enter the age-old art of the contortionist, a mainstay of acrobatic troupes, circuses, and fairs, which for centuries have enthralled and appalled audiences in equal measure. 

... Read more

Home Exercises Part 3: Cat-Cow

August, 2021
This is our third blog post in the series where we put popular exercises under scrutiny to examine how they stack up—or not—against the principles of healthy posture. Here we are looking at “Cat-Cow,” a common exercise for mobilizing the spine. Cow is one of the “holy cows” of conventional exercise. Done on all fours, it puts the spine into extension (swaying). It is paired with Cat , which puts the spine into flexion (rounding). Alternating between these postures is widely considered to be a good or even necessary exercise for mobilizing the spine. Read more

Old Family Photos Are a Great Posture Tool: Part 1: Upper Body

July, 2021

If you are fortunate and have photographs going back three, four, or even more generations, you likely possess a compelling tool for posture improvement. How and why exactly are these images so useful?


Abraham Lincoln with his youngest son, Tad, 1864. Wikipedia

The invention of photography allows us to look back in time as far as the 1840s. It is rare to possess family... Read more