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Esther Gokhale's blog

The Secrets to Pain-Free Sitting, Part 1: The Inspiration behind a New TV Show

June, 2022

People are sitting poorly and continue to blame sitting for their back pain. We believe the solution to this problem is more urgently needed than ever… and that the solution is now more readily available than ever, given one of the Gokhale Institute’s recent projects. I am excited to tell you about The Secrets to Pain-Free Sitting, a pledge show we made with producer Frank Zamacona for American Public Television (APT). 

Sitting has become a problem
In recent years people have become confused about and even afraid of sitting. Sitting is considered problematic in our society, both because it is associated with an unhealthy level of inactivity, and because it is generally done with poor posture, leading to discomfort and pain.  Read more

How the Gokhale Method Solved my Neck Pain and Transformed my Life

May, 2022
I am an acupuncturist and massage therapist who specializes in assisting individuals with chronic pain. Over my 30 years in the profession I had been exposed to hundreds of continuing education classes but had never heard of the Gokhale Method®.  I suffered with cervical stenosis, multiple herniations, and bone spurs My battle with cervical stenosis (a narrowing of the neural canal in the neck, causing compression of the nerves), multiple cervical herniations, and osteophytes (bone spurs) began 40 years ago, all of which progressively worsened over time.  Read more

Comparing and Contrasting the Herman Miller Aeron Chair and the Gokhale Pain-Free™ Chair

April, 2022
I frequently get questions about what makes a good office chair. Of course, some office chairs are primarily fashioned for style and aesthetic appeal. In general, I would say these may be easy on the eye, but over time are hard on the body! Ergonomic chairs People frequently ask my opinion on how various ergonomic chairs on the market might help them. This makes sense given the rising prevalence of back pain¹. “Ergonomic” means that something is designed primarily for the health, comfort, and protection of users. Among the specific chairs people ask me about, the Herman Miller Aeron Chair tops the list. To answer efficiently, I like to compare and contrast it with the chair I designed, the Gokhale Method Pain-Free™ chair, as this embodies the posture principles confirmed by my research and experience. Read more

How Not To Do Yoga

April, 2022
This blog post explains how some common yoga injuries occur and how applying the principles of healthy posture to yoga postures replaces this scenario with movements that are good for your body. Yoga postures and back pain Growing up in Mumbai, India, my Dutch mother was a student of BKS Iyengar and the Satyananda yogis, and keen for me also to learn yoga asanas, or postures. I practiced, and, being reasonably athletic as a child and already trained in Indian classical dance (Bharata Natyam), did not find it particularly difficult to choreograph the back bends, forward bends, and twists that were asked of me. I became a yoga model, demonstrating postures alongside visiting swamis’ presentations to induce the audience to sign up for upcoming yoga courses. Read more

The Virtues of a Hard Copy Book in Digital Times

March, 2022
It has been 14 years since my book 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back came out in hard copy. For years I had wished I had a book to send to those people who called me from the East Coast or Midwest. These were often relatives or friends of people I had worked with in California, who were suffering terrible back pain and needed help. And so I got writing.  A book to solve back pain Although there was clearly a huge need for a book to solve back pain, I was still surprised to find I had written a bestseller. It reached number two on Amazon.com following our American Public Television program in 2011, and number three following the New York Times article (paywall) naming me “The Posture Guru of Silicon Valley” in 2013. It has now been published in 12 languages (Croatian later this year), and sold over 250,000 copies. Read more

Old Family Photos are a Great Posture Tool: Part 4: From Abroad

February, 2022

This is the fourth blog post in our series on old family portraits and photographs. Previously we have looked at how antique images can inspire us to improve our posture in the Upper Body, Lower Body, and Small Bends. Here we are going to focus on how old family photos from abroad make a special contribution to our posture knowledge.

Photographs as historical evidence
Antique photographs are often notable for the healthy posture they capture. Even images taken well into the twentieth century are likely to show healthier posture than we see around us today.
In the US you have to go back several generations to reliably find images of healthy posture, and usually even to a time when photography was not widely available due to its elaborate processes and cost. Had the first immigrants to North America settled later, we would have much more photographic evidence of their intact posture. As it is, we have rare but valuable examples from the 1840s onward. Read more

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

Upcoming Workshops

Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Thursday, July 07, 2022
5:00pm

Europe/Ljubljana

Open spots: Open
Language: Slovenian
Teacher: Sabina Blumauer

Have you been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia?

Date and time: Thursday, July 07, 2022
5:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

Revolutionize Your Wellness through Posture

Date and time: Tuesday, July 12, 2022
12:30pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

Is Sitting at Work a Pain in the Back?

Date and time: Wednesday, July 13, 2022
5:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Wednesday, July 13, 2022
8:00pm

Europe/Berlin

Open spots: Open
Language: German
Teacher: Julie Johnson

Wake up Your Glutes: They Snooze, You Lose

Date and time: Monday, July 18, 2022
12:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

How You Use Posture to Relieve Stress

Date and time: Tuesday, July 26, 2022
2:00pm

Eastern Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Eric Fernandez
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Friday, July 29, 2022
11:00am

Eastern Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Eric Fernandez
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Sunday, July 31, 2022
11:00am

Europe/London

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Clare Chapman

Sturdy, Upright, and Tall: Posture for Aging

Date and time: Monday, August 01, 2022
4:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Monday, August 01, 2022
8:00pm

Europe/Ljubljana

Open spots: Open
Language: Slovenian
Teacher: Sabina Blumauer

Scoliosis and the Gokhale Method

Date and time: Thursday, August 04, 2022
4:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

Is Sitting at Work a Pain in the Back?

Date and time: Monday, August 08, 2022
12:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

Weightlifting and the Gokhale Method

Date and time: Thursday, August 11, 2022
1:30pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Eric Fernandez

How You Use Posture to Relieve Stress

Date and time: Thursday, August 18, 2022
12:30pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Eric Fernandez
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Monday, August 22, 2022
4:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Eric Fernandez

Wake up Your Glutes: They Snooze, You Lose

Date and time: Wednesday, August 24, 2022
1:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

Weightlifting and the Gokhale Method

Date and time: Tuesday, August 30, 2022
4:30pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Eric Fernandez

Sturdy, Upright, and Tall: Posture for Aging

Date and time: Thursday, September 01, 2022
12:30pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Sunday, September 04, 2022
11:00am

Europe/London

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Clare Chapman