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Esther Gokhale's blog

How to Climb Stairs Part 1: Onward and Upward

December, 2022

Few of us, wheelchair users excepted, pass a day without climbing steps or stairs. Students often ask if posture has any bearing on how best to do this—and the answer is yes! Our approach to pain-free, healthy posture works precisely because it helps you with all your daily activities. This blog post is the first of several containing introductory tips for using steps and stairs. We will focus here on how to power yourself upward.

Steps and stairs—the benefits

If you are looking to maintain or improve your cardio fitness and lower body strength, climbing steps and stairs will check that box. For example, this could be opting for the stairs rather than the elevator at work. Read more

Giving Thanks

November, 2022
There are so many things in my life that I feel thankful for, and Thanksgiving gives an opportunity to reflect on these feelings of gratitude. For our newsletter I wanted to share the deep gratitude I have for my personal journey out of back pain, and for how that journey continues as a growing ability to support and empower others in this direction.  When I came to write this blog post, I quickly realized that this is a daunting task! The truth is that so many people have played invaluable parts, both great and small, in helping me to create the Gokhale Method® that it’s impossible to pay tribute to everyone in a short piece of writing. So I decided there will be other posts of gratitude, including to my teachers, to the people around the globe on whom this work is based, and to our team of dedicated teachers and staff. But on this National Day of Thanksgiving, I’d like to focus on things related to living and working in the US. Read more

A New Perspective on the Neanderthal Spine

October, 2022
October 16 is World Spine Day, which makes this the perfect time to share with you a fascinating piece of recent research about the human spine.  In April I was contacted by Scott Williams PhD, Associate Professor at the Center for the study of Human Origins, Department of Anthropology, New York University. He and his team of anthropologists had recently published a scientific paper that concluded that understanding the spines of Neanderthals, a human ancestor, may explain the back pain experienced by humans today. Who were the Neanderthals? The Neanderthals populated Europe and Asia between about 400,00 and 40,000 years ago. Neanderthals became extinct, but are considered one of our most recent evolutionary ancestors. Research shows there is DNA evidence that they interbred with early human populations. Read more

Outer Corsets and Inner Corsets

September, 2022
I have often written about the elegance of people in bygone years. The women, sometimes corseted, show striking deportment. The excesses of nineteenth-century fashion understandably gave corsets a bad name. Extreme tight lacing had some terrible effects, imposing some drastic anatomical remodeling: The stomach and liver are crammed down, with the ribs compressing into drooping S-loops. The neural spines of each vertebra, the little projections that stick up from the central body of each bone, are also pushed out of place. Normally they stack nicely one atop the other in a neat midline ridge, but in long-term corset wearers these spindles of bone jut to this side or that. Science writer Brian Switek in Skeleton Keys: The Secret Life of Bone. Read more

The Best Way to Strengthen a Muscle

August, 2022
Using the word “eccentric” might sound like I’m about to write about muscles behaving in weird ways that are different from usual muscle behavior! But what I’m referring to, eccentric muscle contraction, is often pronounced ee-sen-trik, not ek-sen-trik. How muscles contract Eccentric muscle contraction is the reverse of the concentric contraction that we typically associate with muscle training. For example, the dumbbell curl that makespops up the bicep prominent as you lift the weight towards your shoulder is a concentric contraction. The muscle contracts and shortens. But lowering the dumbbell back down again, which requires the muscle to lengthen, also takes Read more

Secrets to Pain-Free Sitting, Part 2: The Making of a New TV Show

July, 2022

Welcome to the second blog post in which I am delighted to tell you more about our exciting recent TV project. If you missed it, you can read The Secrets of Pain-Free Sitting, Part1: The Inspiration behind a New TV Show here.

Getting the Gokhale Method out there
People are sitting poorly and continue to blame sitting for their back pain. And so we created Secrets to Pain-Free Sitting, a pledge show that the Gokhale Institute made with producer Frank Zamacona for American Public Television (APT). The solution to back pain has never been so urgently needed—and now, with our new 45-minute show, so available. Read more

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

Upcoming Workshops

Scoliosis and the Gokhale Method

Date and time: Wednesday, December 14, 2022
1:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

How You Use Posture to Relieve Stress

Date and time: Friday, December 16, 2022
1:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Eric Fernandez

Posture Remedies for Text Neck

Date and time: Thursday, December 22, 2022
12:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Tuesday, December 27, 2022
5:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

Sturdy, Upright, and Tall: Posture for Aging

Date and time: Wednesday, January 04, 2023
4:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

Is Sitting at Work a Pain in the Back?

Date and time: Friday, January 06, 2023
11:00am

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

End the back pain and get back to music-making with the Gokhale Method

Date and time: Monday, January 09, 2023
5:00pm

Europe/Berlin

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Julie Johnson
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Monday, January 09, 2023
8:00pm

Europe/Ljubljana

Open spots: Open
Language: Slovenian
Teacher: Sabina Blumauer
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Tuesday, January 10, 2023
7:30pm

Europe/Berlin

Open spots: Open
Language: German
Teacher: Julie Johnson

Wake up Your Glutes: They Snooze, You Lose

Date and time: Thursday, January 12, 2023
1:30pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Sunday, January 15, 2023
11:00am

Europe/London

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Clare Chapman

Weightlifting and the Gokhale Method

Date and time: Monday, January 16, 2023
5:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Eric Fernandez

Is Sitting at Work a Pain in the Back?

Date and time: Thursday, January 19, 2023
4:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Tuesday, January 24, 2023
8:00am

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Eric Fernandez

Upper Back Pain Relief with the Gokhale Method

Date and time: Friday, January 27, 2023
11:00am

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

Sturdy, Upright, and Tall: Posture for Aging

Date and time: Tuesday, January 31, 2023
1:30pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

Lower Back Pain Relief with the Gokhale Method

Date and time: Thursday, February 02, 2023
12:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Tuesday, February 14, 2023
7:00pm

Europe/Ljubljana

Open spots: Open
Language: Slovenian
Teacher: Sabina Blumauer
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Thursday, February 16, 2023
6:00pm

Europe/Berlin

Open spots: Open
Language: German
Teacher: Julie Johnson
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Monday, March 13, 2023
6:30pm

Europe/Berlin

Open spots: Open
Language: German
Teacher: Julie Johnson
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Thursday, March 16, 2023
7:00pm

Europe/Ljubljana

Open spots: Open
Language: Slovenian
Teacher: Sabina Blumauer
Introduction to The Gokhale Method and Living Pain-Free
Date and time: Tuesday, April 11, 2023
7:00pm

Europe/Ljubljana

Open spots: Open
Language: Slovenian
Teacher: Sabina Blumauer