Esther Gokhale's blog

Is Crowdsourcing the New Face of Evidence-Based Medicine?

September, 2017

In the 1990s, Ofer Ben-Shachar suffered a leg injury. Doctors recommended he get surgery, estimating they would have him back running marathons within weeks. Before going under the knife, Ben-Shachar wanted to find data on this surgical option to see how effective it really was. However, the little research he could dig up was confusing and inconclusive. Frustrated, he succumbed to the assurances of his confident surgeon. What happened instead was so debilitating, it took him five years before he was able to drive a car again (you can read more about this story here). He vowed that one day he would create a website to help people get the kind of information he wished he had had at the outset.

After selling a successful startup, Ben-Shachar was able to follow through on his promise and funded a venture that he has named HealthOutcome.

... Read more

How to Choose a Bike Seat for Good Posture (Part 2)

September, 2017

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

Fredrik Prost's Journey to Tuva: Posture, Shamanism, and Traditional Life Far Away and Close to Home

August, 2017

Esther's note: Fredrik Prost, the Saami craftsman and posture student I wrote about in these past blogs:  Fredrik's Journey to a Pain-Free Back, Sleeping on Birch Branches in Samiland, Beauty, Art, and Posture, and Better Posture, Better Sleep, recently journeyed to Tuva. Here is an account he wrote for us about Tuvan posture, culture, and shamanism, including photos he took. It is a rare treat to hear about indigenous people from an indigenous person - one who speaks English well and knows our posture language too!


Tuva is an autonomous republic of Russia that lies northwest of Mongolia in the south of Siberia.

 

This... Read more

How to Ride a Bike with Good Posture (Part 1)

August, 2017

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. 

With a few adjustments, riding a bike can be a harmonious and healthful activity. By using... Read more

Primal Posture™ with a Partner

July, 2017

Over time, many Gokhale Method students have brought in their spouses to take classes with them. We’ve noticed many extra benefits when partners take our course together.


Primal Posture™ can become part of a couple's everyday life

Partners provide a built-in gentle and effective reminder system, so both parties think about and practice primal posture more regularly throughout the day.

Partners develop their own vocabulary and personal references for talking to each other about primal posture and movement. This serves as a rich, shared filter for people-watching—whether on a city street, on a beach, on a vacation to foreign lands, or while viewing art at the local museum.

... Read more

Back-Saving Tips for the Outdoor Enthusiast

July, 2017

There are several more weeks of summer vacation before school starts again: plenty of time to squeeze a family camping trip or two out of the sunshiny drops of Summer!  Here are a few tips to promote healthy posture while you’re on the road, by the campfire, and in your tent.

 

Are We There Yet?

During the long haul to your nearest national park, it’s easy to strain your cervical spine (the vertebrae in your neck) by craning your neck forward to see the road.


Justin Bieber, in this photo, is demonstrating forward head—his ear is forward of his collar bones, and his chin is far in front of his sternum
Read more

Working With Scoliosis (Gokhale Method Teacher Cynthia Rose's Back Story)

June, 2017

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

Breathing as Spinal Massage

June, 2017

In the branch of Yoga called Pranayama (Prana = breath, life; Yama = discipline) there is a technique called Nadi Shodhan Pranayama. I learned this technique from my yoga mentors in Bombay and in an ashram in Rajnandagaon in Central India. It’s the best way I know to quiet my mind when I feel agitated. I have taught the technique to many students and patients over the years as a way to address obsessive thoughts, anxiety, and 'blah' feelings.


This Yogini is practicing Nadi Shodhan Pranayama, a style of meditative breathing

You place the tips of your middle and pointer finger of the right hand between your eyebrows and use your thumb and ring finger to open and close your nostrils. Now follow this pattern:

1.    Inhale through one nostril for four counts,

2.  ... Read more

Sitting: Is It Hurting You?

May, 2017

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

Abigayil Tamara's Experience with the Gokhale Method

May, 2017

We set a high bar for our six-lesson Gokhale Method Foundations course. We expect our students will 

  1. Sit, stand, walk, lie, and bend in new (old!) and better ways
  2. Experience significantly less pain and more function
  3. Expect more from their body and life. 
  4. Use the word “life-transforming” somewhere in their evaluation forms.

Even with this high bar, a student sometimes surprises us with the extent or speed of their progress over the course. Abigayil Tamara is one such student - here is her story. 

My Experience With the Gokhale Method
~Abigayil Tamara, MA, MSW

I looked into the Gokhale Method after someone in a grocery store told me how much it had helped his mother. 

My back issues began over 34 years ago, in 1983. I was... Read more