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Cultivating a J-Spine with Chair Pose (Utkatasana)

February, 2020

As a student and teacher of yoga and practitioner of the Gokhale Method, I choose yoga poses that make good use of my time. “Chair pose” is well worth the time investment. In fact, it has become one of my favorite strength-building postures. It is useful for cultivating a J-shaped spine. It helps increase gluteal tone. It helps to pattern healthy hip movement. It is strengthening for the legs and spinal stabilizers. And, last but not least, it allows a yoga practitioner to smoothly transition between a standing forward fold and mountain pose — without compression of the intervertebral discs.

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The Importance of Sound Foundations

April, 2020


The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Italy. Shallow foundations in unstable subsoil were laid in 1173, and so the tower began to sink when the second floor was added in 1178. Floors above were built taller on one side to try and compensate for the tilt, producing a mildly curved tower. Original image courtesy Saffron Blaze, via http://www.mackenzie.co, via Wikimedia Commons.

Sometimes our students are surprised by the amount of attention we ask them to lavish on their feet. If they came in for help with a problem in their backs, knees, or hips, working with the feet can seem a little strange or irrelevant. But over decades of teaching, I see the importance of working... Read more