Spring brings renewal. All around us the earth is alive with the sounds and smells of new life. As the weather grows more inviting, your yard and garden may be calling. For many people, gardening and outdoor work are favorite pastimes, yet the fear of back pain can be inhibiting. Let the Gokhale Method help you to thrive alongside your plants!
When planting flowers and digging in the dirt, use hip hinging to save your knees and lower back. Maintain your spinal shape as you bend from the hips. Take a wider stance to reach the ground more easily. When you feel your hamstrings pulling, bend your knees to keep from tucking. Check to see that your knees track over your feet and that your shoulders remain back for good blood flow to your arms and hands. Try resting one elbow or forearm on your thigh as the other hand performs your gardening tasks to reduce the demand on the muscles in your back. Read more
Opinions on what constitutes a pelvic problem abound. The term "forward pelvis" with its negative connotation, has come to be used for an assortment of pelvic / lumbar architectures, some of which, according to the Gokhale Method - are good, and some bad.
Have you been diagnosed with “forward pelvis” (aka “anterior pelvic tilt”)? If so, you may be concerned about the Gokhale Method recommendation to antevert your pelvis, thinking that this will exacerbate the problem.
Your confusion is not unique. Very few professionals, whether doctors, trainers, or wellness practitioners, differentiate between “forward pelvis / anterior pelvic tilt” and healthy pelvic anteversion. This can lead to poor... Read more
When I was 12 years old my mother took me to our family doctor for a check up. I remember him looking at me and saying “One of your shoulders slopes down more than the other. Isn’t that interesting!” What’s interesting to me is that the word scoliosis never came up in the conversation and that there wasn’t any further investigation of my sloping shoulder. As a 12-year old I had never heard of scoliosis, so I thought my sloping shoulder was just an oddity I would live with.
It was not until many years later when I returned to school to study massage therapy that I began to notice changes in my spine that manifested as chronic low back pain. I thought it was because of the sitting I was doing in classes or the crawling around on the floor for shiatsu practice sessions. The pain never really subsided, though I did find temporary relief through bodywork and the application of heat. Though the pain was not severe, it was bothersome because it was... Read more
Maintaining healthy posture during the activities you are passionate about is SO important. Good form will allow your body to partake in your favorite activities pain-free now and into the future. It often gives the additional benefit of performing better (because of a steadier hand, improved blood flow,...or just increased comfort and relaxation). We've seen a lot of musicians have to stop playing their instrument due to pain, and able to return to playing after learning the Gokhale Method.
A few months ago, I noticed that Nolan was playing guitar with a tucked pelvis and neck forward and I snapped this photo:
Forward head position puts strain on the neck muscles and threatens the cervical discs, ligaments, and nerves.
He asked how to play with good posture, so I put him in a... Read more
This is the first post in our multi-part series on floor sitting. For Part 2 on squatting, click here.
Sitting cross-legged on the floor is common in many cultures around the world, and has become popular in some segments of modern Western societies.
This Druze woman who I met in Israel has sat cross-legged all her life. She runs a hospitality business — all the food is laid out on the floor and the guests sit along the periphery of the room. She is at ease in this position for extended periods with her back remaining upright and relaxed.
This famous bust of Nefertiti (c. 1370 – c. 1330 BC) exhibits a forward-protruded head. Original image courtesy Wikipedia user Philip Pikart under CC-BY-SA 3.0.
In my travels, I enjoy visiting museums. In a concentrated space and in a short few hours, I am able to travel back in time and over large distances, and compare people from different cultures. What a remarkable gift from the craftspeople of the past!
Many museums have a well-developed Egyptian collection. The Egyptians’ expertise in preserving their dead as well as the dry Egyptian climate has yielded a bounty of specimens from... Read more
Thought to have been made around 30,000 BCE, one of the oldest and most famous prehistoric figurines is known as the Venus of Willendorf. Found in modern-day Austria, this late stone-age artifact is just over 4” high and has traces of ocher coloring. Underneath her ample flesh her pelvis is anteverted, placing her behind behind her. Original image courtesy Wikipedia user MatthiasKabel under CC-BY 2.5.
When the weather is cold and wet, or, for our students in the Southern Hemisphere, hot and dry, museums can be very agreeable places to visit. Humidity and temperature controlled as they are, museums allow you to... Read more
This is Part 3 of a three-post series on cycling with healthy posture by Gokhale Method teacher and longtime cyclist Tiffany Mann. Read Part 1 and Part 2 here.
Spring has arrived, and perhaps like many people, you want to spend more time on your bike! Maybe you’re already an avid cyclist looking for some tips to make cycling more comfortable and sustainable for years to come; or you’ve taken a break and are ready to step back on the pedals. Perhaps you just want to get up those hills!
Even if you are a beginner, it is so satisfying and pleasurable to use your own muscle power to propel yourself on this simple machine; but it is still well worth looking at how to use your energy as economically as possible. Cycling doesn’t have to be superhard work, and you can benefit your posture at the same time. Read more
I am a 70-year-old woman. As a young woman I was tall (5’10"), slender, and active as I would ever be raising my six children.
For the most part, my body and I had a good relationship, but over time and with the demands of my life, something problematic happened. My body began talking to me: my knee, psoas, sacrum, and lower back hurt, and I also suffered a loss of balance. I mainly saw a chiropractor but also physical therapists, massage therapists, and acupuncturists…the list is long. When you want to function and feel halfway decent, you try everything. Read more