Tucking the rib cage-- a healthy way to flatten the low back.
Though a sway back is commonly perceived as good posture, most people recognize it to be a problem. What is the best way to fix a sway? And for those of you who don’t quite know, what is a sway?
A swayback is an inappropriate curve usually in the upper lumbar spine. It is frequently the result of trying to “sit up straight,” or “stand up straight” in a sustained way. Sometimes it is the result of modern activities, most notably women’s gymnastics, women’s ice-skating, women’s ballet and misguided forms of yoga. Read more
Esther's son, Nathan White, showing a
relaxed pelvis, rib cage and shoulder
position in spite of a challenging reach.
As the season turns and the colors around us are changing, leaves begin to float off their branches. Just as our environment is settling in, we too can ground our bodies, using gravity as our guide. The ability to relax downwards is an essential part of feeling comfortable within your body. Here are some ways you can fall into your natural posture:
Nesting the Pelvis
Help your pelvis navigate its way home. While standing, take a little zigzag squat. Imagine you are about to sit down on a chair located behind you (not just directly under you) and let the pelvis fall forward. Feel your pelvis dropping between the legs, as though it is “nesting. Read more
Posture is a trivial thing my mother used to pester me about only so that I would look presentable.
Actually, posture is key to optimal health. Just as a building needs a solid foundation and structure to remain strong in wind, rain, and earthquakes, so does your body. Proper alignment of the organs, bones, and muscles improves circulation and breathing, boosts the nervous system, supports organ function, promotes muscle relaxation and stress reduction, enhances athletic performance, reduces risk of injury, and accelerates healing from injury.
These young girls are getting an early start on learning posture to improve their appearance. Good posture is also key to optimal health.
The pelvis should be tucked to protect the back.... Read more
Sitting has been much maligned in the last decade. News sources love to dramatize the issue, and you can find many alarming headlines—such as, “Sitting will kill you, even if you exercise” from CNN in 2015. The debate about the various risks of sitting and possible ways to mitigate them is raging, and articles and research range from “sitting is the new smoking” to “sitting isn’t actually bad for you.”
Sitting: is it bad for you?
In the last few years, some research has seemed to backtrack or qualify the fears of the past, making a distinction between sitting for work versus sitting in front of the TV; news articles have begun to note the higher risks of sitting for those who are obese or inactive, and the potentially minimal risks of sitting for otherwise healthy... 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
“I would do anything for Esther. She’s the epitome of goodness.” Like many Gokhale Method students local to the Bay Area, Cynthia deeply values her personal relationship with Esther. Cynthia is 72 years old and a native Californian. Her husband, Charlie, is also a native Californian, and they love their home state.
Cynthia has always valued being in good shape and pursuing outdoor activities. She started backpacking after she got her undergraduate degree in Spanish. She continued backpacking while teaching Spanish, and during a backpacking trip in the Canadian Rockies, she realized she actually wanted to be a geologist. She had with her a book on local geology, and says that “the exposure of the sedimentary, folded, metamorphosed strata in the Rockies would make anyone into a geologist.” She returned to school for a geology degree... Read more
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
If you’ve been participating in our ongoing Posture 1-2-3 Challenge for alumni, chances are you’ve seen my longtime student, Joan Baez, who regularly joins in. At age 79, she’s sturdy and beautiful, with shapely legs, toned arms, and a peachy, perky butt. Although we’ve all enjoyed her bodacious pipes for many decades, she hasn’t always been such a well-rounded posture student. In her 20s and 30s, her boombox was highly functional, but her booty was lacking. Learn how a posture upgrade helped Joan develop her glutes, and how you can develop yours, too -- regardless of age! 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