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“I’ve Been as Lucky as I’ve Been Unlucky:” Cynthia’s Story

May, 2019

“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

Improving Your Neck Placement: a New Technique

May, 2019

I’ve taught stretchlying on the side for decades. So it’s a (welcome) surprise to discover a way of arranging the neck that is both more effective in adding additional neck length and more relaxing for the neck muscles.

 


It takes good form to be able to get rest on a surface this hard.
 


In July, reindeer herders in Samiland corral their reindeer to mark the ears of the unbranded calves. This involves stretches of waiting, some of it done reclining on the side, as above.

 

To date, I’ve taught... Read more

"I Found I Could Defeat Sciatica:" Norm's Story

May, 2019


Photo courtesy Norman Crawford.

Norm, a hydrologic analyst and author now 82 years of age, originally hails from Alberta, Canada. When Norm was 16 years old, he accepted a summer job in Lake Louise (also known as Lake of the Little Fishes by the local Stoney Nakoda people), a location in the Canadian Rockies so known for its rugged beauty that it is frequently included on lists of “Wonders of the World.” This breathtaking landscape formed the backdrop for Norm’s lifelong love affair with the outdoors. Decades later, Norm still speaks of Lake Louise with understated reverence.


Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada, where Norm first fell in love with... Read more

Is Belly Breathing Good for You?

April, 2019

It’s common for students to arrive at our classes with strong notions about breathing. Among these is “Belly breathing is good breathing; chest breathing is bad breathing.” I disagree with this widespread belief and present varying amounts of pushback, counterargument, or hints about disagreement depending on the context and how much time I have.


Top: Chest lowered with exhalation. Bottom: Chest expanded with inhalation.

Sometimes I use a hand-waving argument: “Your lungs are housed in your chest; why wouldn’t they expand the chest on inhalation?” Sometimes I argue that if just the belly expands on breathing, that’s usually because the abdominal wall muscles are lax, the long back muscles (erector... Read more

"It's Really Quite Phenomenal:" Cecilia's Story

April, 2019

Cecilia* didn’t expect to develop disabilities in her early 40s. She had led an active life, working as an academic in a competitive field and enjoying intense activities such as rock climbing, camping, hiking, kayaking, Iyengar yoga, Crossfit, and running. She even flew glider planes for fun. In her own words, she has an “extreme personality” — she pushes herself hard in life and seeks out challenging situations, whether working or playing.

 


Cecilia describes herself as an “extreme personality” and once enjoyed such intense outdoor pastimes as rock climbing, among others. This all changed once she began a law degree and bar exam preparations. Photo courtesy... Read more

How to Sit on the Floor, Part 1: Cross-legged Sitting

March, 2019

This is the first post in our multi-part series on floor sitting. For Part 2 on squatting, click here.

Sitting cross-legged on the floor is common in many cultures around the world, and has become popular in some segments of modern Western societies.

 


This Druze woman who I met in Israel has sat cross-legged all her life. She runs a hospitality business — all the food is laid out on the floor and the guests sit along the periphery of the room. She is at ease in this position for extended periods with her back remaining upright and relaxed.
 


In this temple in Bhubaneswar,... Read more