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pillow recommendations

Beth's picture
Last seen:
7 years 6 months ago
09/16/2009 - 10:31am
pillow recommendations

Dear Esther (and anyone else who has thoughts):

After more than a year and a half of successful stretchlying on my back "by the book" through the night, I'm experiencing a neck-and-left-shoulder problem that seems to be exacerbated by my typical pillow setup (sleeping on regular pillow that's positioned so that the tops of my shoulders are resting on it, as well as my head).

At my chiropractor's suggestion, I'm considering getting a pillow with an indentation for the head (so the neck is more firmly supported), that's designed to be used just under the head & neck (not the shoulders at all).

Does that sound compatible with the Gokhale Method? I need to try something different, since my neck is not holding chiropractic adjustments and my shoulder feels worse every morning when I wake up....

Thanks, Beth



charlenehannibal's picture
Last seen:
3 years 2 months ago
12/15/2010 - 7:51am

Hi Beth, 

Without seeing your set-up in person, I'd like to make a few suggestions that could benefit your neck and shoulder.  The pillow that your chiropractor is suggesting is not particularly consistent with the Gokhale Method since we teach a lengthened cervical spine that is in line with the base of the head.  A cervical roll tends to reinforce curvature and using a pillow only under the head tends to reinforce a forward pushed head.  

Sometimes with my students we need to experiment with how much pillow needs to be under the shoulders (have you tried a little more or little less?).  Or, if your head feels like it is dangling back at all, it can be helpful to place a folded sheet under your head only so the head is supported a little bit higher (think wedge) so the chin can come down.  Are you sliding your shoulders down away from your ears after you stretchlie?  Have you tried a thicker pillow?  Thinner pillow?  If you have quite a bit of cervical curvature a little cervical roll isn't a bad idea at first if you can slowly wean yourself off of it.

Please let me know how it goes!



Charlene Hannibal

Gokhale Method Teacher, Palo Alto and San Francisco

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