I have a few questions for the Gokhale teachers as I am an office worker who sits behind a computer for about 8 hours.
In the book, on page 89, you write about lengthening the neck so your chin is angled down. This changes the line of vision so you have to look up a bit more. Does this mean you don't have to put the TOP of the computer screen on the same height as your eyes? So your eyes are in line with the top of the screen?
I sit behind a desk for about 8 hours a day and I must say that stretchsitting has helped my back pain a lot lately. In your book you perfectly describe how to sit , but you don't talk about standing desks? What's your opinion on that? I think they can be very useful if you combine it with tallstanding.
The thing I would like to try is this: Stretchsitting for about 20 minutes, stacksitting for about 15 minutes and tallstanding behind a desk for 15 minutes. Do you think this would benefit your posture a lot ? I hope to hear some tips/ideas.
I ask you this because my neck and jaw pain has gotten worse. I read some topics about gentle neck traction but I really don't get how you do this. I know how to lengthen the neck in stretchlying but it doesn't give me much traction. It's especially C1-C2 that are very tight. It might have something to do with the position of my computerscreen aswell.
7 months 2 weeks ago
08/26/2018 - 4:08am
I have the top of my monitor a bit below eye level. I definitely had my monitor too high (the top of the monitor higher than eye level) before learning about the Gokhale Method and adjusted it down. You may have already seen this blog post, but it may be helpful for you in improving your understanding of gliding your head back which allows your neck to be straight and tall. I think this is a really important thing for you to be focusing on in all your daily activities whether that be working, walking, driving, watching movies, at the dinner table etc. Another good way of finding that tall neck position is to stand against a wall and try to get as much of your neck as close as possible to the wall. Your head (& eyes) will end up angling downwards as your neck lengthens.
However standing against a wall does not allow your pelvis to be anteverted and your behind to be behind you - standing against a wall does not encourage a j-spine. And there is a very big correlation between the angle of the pelvis and the top of the back and neck. If the pelvis is tucked the top of the back is likely to be rounded and the neck more likely to be forward. So to improve the position of your neck it is very important to make sure your pelvis is anteverted and your behind is out behind you when you are sitting and standing.
As you are working on gliding your head back and practising that to become your new normal, when you need to look up try to use your eyes rather than moving your neck. A small weighted cushion on your head can really help with this. Partly it will give your head something to slightly push up against which will help create space between your cervical vertebrae, but it will also remind you to use your eyes to look up instead of lifting up your nose and head and therefore bending your neck. You can use a bag of rice or something similar (in a fabric bag so it's not too slippery) and it doesn't need to be heavy (600g / 21oz is the weight of the Gokhale Method head cushion). Don't use it for too long, just start with 5 minutes at a time and only increase that if you feel you want to.
Standing desks are much more prevalent now than when Esther wrote the book. Standing (like sitting) can be good for you if you do it well, but better to change position so that you are not just in the same position for a long period of time. I think your suggestion for alternating between stretchsitting, stacksitting and tallstanding is perfect.
It can be tricky to keep your posture and body in mind when you are concentrating on your work though. One thing I have found helpful is a Chrome extension called PostureMinder. It pops up little posture reminders that you can set to a frequency that suits you. I had started this before learning the Gokhale Method and I have found that my awareness of what I am doing with my body as I work has got a lot better. I think I have the reminders set to about 20 minutes or so. Before my Foundations Course with every reminder I would find that my back was rounded of my neck forward. After my Foundations Course and then further practising I usually find that my posture is good when I get the reminders. I still like having the reminders pop up on my screen though.
If you sit well, if you stand well, working at a computer 8 hours a day doesn't have to be bad for your body.
Rachel Margaret, Gokhale Method teacher