American philosopher-poet Henry David Thoreau wrote in the "Visitors" chapter of Walden, his 1854 account of his life in a cabin he built on the edge of Walden Pond, near Concord Massachusetts:
"I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society."
I'm a fan of Thoreau, and I favor simplicity. And although I have more than three chairs in my house, I have just one type of chair that has become "go-to seating" for most solitary and social activities--not just for me, but for family members, friends, and co-workers. The chair is the Gokhale Pain-Free™ Chair, and I designed it myself. Read more
The lumbar spine is the region of the spine between the rib cage and the pelvis
I'm reaching out to pregnant women today, because I've been reflecting on a clinical study that captures the scope of the problem of lower back (lumbar) pain in expectant mothers and because I have all too vivid memories of how lower back and sciatic pain affected me when I was nine-months pregnant with my first child. This crippling pain continued for a year, at which point I had back surgery that provided only temporary relief. This painful chapter in my life is what started me on my path to understanding the causes and treatments for back pain. Read more
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. Image courtesy John Matrix at bikelist.org.
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
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: