Esther Gokhale's blog

Reading Without Pain

December, 2017

The weather is colder (even here in California) and most of us are spending more time indoors for warmth and entertainment. I especially like to spend time reading in bed, where I can pile on the blankets and enjoy the coziness of fall and winter. If you experience pain or discomfort—especially in your neck—when you read in bed, keep the following tips in mind:

1. Any time you are sitting or lying down can be an opportunity to decompress the vertebrae in your back. To keep the right shape in the spine, build a staircase of pillows to support your lower back, mid-back and neck


Using a combination of thick and thin pillows makes it easy to build a comfortable slope or staircase.

Lying down with just your head and neck on a plump pillow pushes your head forward relative to your torso. This... Read more

Announcing PostureSensei™, the New Gokhale Method Wearable!

November, 2017

Our new and exciting PostureSensei wearable is available for use! Our participating teachers use this technology to help you:

  1. Store baselines of the shape of your spine in sitting, standing, and bending

  2. Understand the connection between your movements and changes in the shape of your spine

  3. Establish a target shape for you to aim for in training your posture

  4. Discover techniques, exercises, and activities to help you improve your target shape

  5. Track your changes over time, using graphics and quantitative measurements of the curves in your lower back
     

Our test students love PostureSensei and... Read more

Get Winter-Ready with Improved Circulation

November, 2017

As winter approaches and the weather cools, we all have one thing on our minds: staying warm! One major benefit of learning the Gokhale Method (and good posture in general) is improved circulation. We’ve often heard from students about their warmer hands and feet, and we’ve even heard from people who have significantly reduced their heating bill now that their extremities aren’t always freezing! When you align your body well, your blood flows unimpeded throughout the body, passing nutrients to cells and maintaining homeostatic processes, like regulating temperature, glucose, and sodium levels. Imbalances in this process can lead to illness and prevent healing.

Here are three simple ways to immediately improve your circulation:

1. The shoulder roll

... Read more

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Healthy Posture in the Office

October, 2017

I used to focus on growing the posture movement by teaching individuals—one back at a time. But over the years, after teaching couples, parents and children, and entire offices the Gokhale Method, I've noticed that the results are deeper and better retained with family or work groups.


 Having communal areas and activities allows posture traditions to be reflected and passed down.

One particular example of teaching an entire office comes to mind. A law office in Tucson, Arizona, arranged for employees and family members to take the Gokhale Method Foundations Course, and there was a significant synergistic effect in their results. Many years after completing the course, they still remind each other to... Read more

The Wearable Device Deep-Dive

October, 2017

Note: Sending thanks to Clare Chapman, Gokhale Method teacher in Bristol, England, who helped research and write this blog post.

In today’s hi-tech world, people are quick to turn to technology, wearables, and apps to help fix their back pain—and yes, they are right to treat poor posture as the major culprit! But modern ideas about good posture are part of the problem—so do wearable devices actually improve on the bad habits we’ve been taught since we were children?

Our Gokhale Method teachers are sometimes asked by their students about various posture wearables, especially the new generation of bio-feedback sensors. Do wearables really help people get comfortable and become pain-free? Have you tried using one? Do you... Read more

Is Crowdsourcing the New Face of Evidence-Based Medicine?

September, 2017

In the 1990s, Ofer Ben-Shachar suffered a leg injury. Doctors recommended he get surgery, estimating they would have him back running marathons within weeks. Before going under the knife, Ben-Shachar wanted to find data on this surgical option to see how effective it really was. However, the little research he could dig up was confusing and inconclusive. Frustrated, he succumbed to the assurances of his confident surgeon. What happened instead was so debilitating, it took him five years before he was able to drive a car again (you can read more about this story here). He vowed that one day he would create a website to help people get the kind of information he wished he had had at the outset.

After selling a successful startup, Ben-Shachar was able to follow through on his promise and funded a venture that he has named HealthOutcome.

... Read more

How to Choose a Bike Seat for Good Posture (Part 2)

September, 2017

In our part 1 blog post on the topic of bikes, we went over how to find the right frame for you. The next important step is to find the right seat for your body and your bike, since without a decent seat you may be uncomfortable, or may find it challenging to have healthy posture. Your seat should distribute your weight across regions comfortably; it should have padding, but not so much that it lacks support and stability; it should be set at an angle that allows your pelvis to antevert (that is, tip forward relative to the angle of your spine.) A good seat is crucial whether you prefer to be upright and stacksit, or if you prefer a racing style with a hiphinge. Here’s what you need to know about bike seats to find the right one for you:


Seat shape and angle: On most bike seats, it’s possible to change not just the height, but the horizontal position and the tilt of the seat.... Read more

Fredrik Prost's Journey to Tuva: Posture, Shamanism, and Traditional Life Far Away and Close to Home

August, 2017

Esther's note: Fredrik Prost, the Saami craftsman and posture student I wrote about in these past blogs:  Fredrik's Journey to a Pain-Free Back, Sleeping on Birch Branches in Samiland, Beauty, Art, and Posture, and Better Posture, Better Sleep, recently journeyed to Tuva. Here is an account he wrote for us about Tuvan posture, culture, and shamanism, including photos he took. It is a rare treat to hear about indigenous people from an indigenous person - one who speaks English well and knows our posture language too!


Tuva is an autonomous republic of Russia that lies northwest of Mongolia in the south of Siberia.

 

This... Read more

How to Ride a Bike with Good Posture (Part 1)

August, 2017

Most people, when they ride a bike, tuck their pelvis so the rear portion of their sitz bones rests on the seat. Then they lean over to reach the handlebars causing a lot of spine curvature. With the additional tension created from pushing the pedals and holding the handlebars, and the bouncing and jostling from the road, riding a bike this way can be a painful and harmful activity.


Many modern bike riders look like Mr. Bean when they ride a bike, sitting with an unnaturally curved spine.


Each of these modern-day bikers has a rounded spine and craned neck. 

With a few adjustments, riding a bike can be a harmonious and healthful activity. By using... Read more

Primal Posture™ with a Partner

July, 2017

Over time, many Gokhale Method students have brought in their spouses to take classes with them. We’ve noticed many extra benefits when partners take our course together.


Primal Posture™ can become part of a couple's everyday life

Partners provide a built-in gentle and effective reminder system, so both parties think about and practice primal posture more regularly throughout the day.

Partners develop their own vocabulary and personal references for talking to each other about primal posture and movement. This serves as a rich, shared filter for people-watching—whether on a city street, on a beach, on a vacation to foreign lands, or while viewing art at the local museum.

... Read more