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Esther Gokhale blogg

How to Lose Weight by Changing Your Posture

There are several ways the Gokhale Method helps a person lose weight. I discovered this benefit of the method from students reporting back to me that they had lost 10 pounds without changing anything other than their posture. This happened frequently enough that it set me thinking about possible mechanisms between J-spine posture and weight loss. There are no studies on posture and weight loss that I know of, so all the pathways described below are conjectures.

  1. Getting rid of pain enables and induces people to become more active. Our students almost routinely return to or take up a variety of athletic endeavors, yoga, dance, and more after getting rid of their back pain. Being active contributes directly and indirectly (better mood, better sleep, etc.) to weight loss.


After learning the Gokhale Method, many... Read more

Man's Best Friend for Posture, Part II

June, 2018

In the first installment of this story, we discussed some physical movement patterns that can be supported or reinforced by owning / walking / observing dogs. Here, we touch on a few more benefits from having a furry pet!


Carrying and Lifting

As a dog owner, you will find yourself needing to lift well. It may be to carry bags of dog food, a pup, or perhaps a much-loved elderly or sick dog. By following the postural principles of the Gokhale Method, you can do this without strain or fear of injury. The most important techniques for this context are hip-hinging, inner corset, and maintaining a healthy shoulder structure.

 


Carry your pet with shoulders back, close to your... Read more

How to do Pull-ups with Healthy Posture

June, 2018

Our company’s deepest goal is to support people in being more sturdy in the world. Posture is a key ingredient for this, as is fitness. It’s commendable when people take on a fitness regimen of any kind; the companion undertaking needs to be to learn how to do your regimen with good form.

People often sway their backs while doing pull-ups, especially towards the end of a set. This distorts your spine, loads your discs, and leads to a very unhappy back.
 


Monisha is wearing our Gokhale Spinetracker™ wearable device on her spine. The app (above, right) shows a visual representation of what is happening to your discs in real time. There is extra stress on the discs because of... Read more

Surprising Secret Sauce in the Journey to Pain-Free

May, 2018

After students complete the Foundations Course, we solicit feedback in order to learn from our students and make the course better. Here is select feedback from Marcie, who took the Group Foundations Course with Esther, punctuated by commentary from Esther.

 

I move easier. When I experience pain, I use it as information to make changes in what I am doing.

Our body is a very intricate 3-dimensional jigsaw puzzle and when we restore each piece back to its home, the parts fit together better.  Pain is a very sophisticated feedback mechanism that has evolved; pain is usually trying to tell us we need to be doing something differently.  

It's not been linear. Lower back pain decreased, upper back/shoulder pain increased. (That might be my standing desk and increased awareness, though.) I have body awareness but not always useful body awareness. A lot of the time, my awareness is... Read more

Man’s Best Friend for Posture, Part I

May, 2018

One of the great strengths of the Gokhale Method is that you learn it doing practical activities, like sitting and walking; you then practice it during your day-to-day life. Regular tasks like driving the car and household chores, and leisure activities like gardening and playing sports, become not only safe and comfortable, but actually therapeutic. If you are fortunate enough to live with a dog, you have a very special opportunity to hone your posture skills.

 


Daily dog walks are great training for your posture! Photo courtesy Pixabay.

 

Firstly, you will probably be walking your dog every day — maybe twice or even three times a day. The regular nature of this activity is a huge boon for establishing good postural habits. The assured minimal frequency of 1-3 times a day is... Read more

Lessons I Learned from My Travels: Brazil

May, 2018

SALVADOR, BRAZIL

Salvador, Bahia in the Northeast of Brazil throbs with a pulse that is African and Brazilian all at once. In spite of the particularly brutal conditions of slavery in Brazil, the African immigrants kept their musical and dance traditions alive. Salvador, Bahia is where the Afro roots of Brazilian culture are most in evidence. I visited two times and those visits reawakened something in me from way, way back — from when my ancestors drummed and danced in Africa 60,000+ years ago. There’s nothing that gets to my gut the way African / Afro-Brazilian drumming and dancing does. Here follow some posture lessons I brought home from that magical place.

 

Healthy posture is sexy


Bathing beauty in Salvador, Bahia.... Read more

How to Do a Plank Correctly

April, 2018

Good posture is so important for any workout or athletic endeavor. Exercise of the day: planks!

People often lose their structural integrity by dropping their hips and letting their lower back arch, or by tucking their pelvis, rounding their back, and pushing their shoulders forward.


Left: Poor form marked by dropped hips and arched back. Right: Poor form marked by rounded back and forward shoulders.

 

It does take more work for your abdominal muscles, particularly your internal obliques, to maintain proper form...but when you're planking, isn't that what you're going for?? Don't fool yourself into thinking you're getting a better workout by doing a longer plank with bad form!

... Read more

Hip-hinges: 4 exercises in 1. Time spent: 0 seconds

April, 2018

I sometimes tell my students that if you bend well you are unlikely to have a back problem, and if you bend poorly you are almost certainly going to have a back problem. It’s almost that simple. Of course there are other important techniques to learn, like how to sit, stand, sleep, and walk, but bending is a particularly important technique, and learning to bend well constitutes a major milestone in our Gokhale Method Foundations course.

Most of us do many bends a day — each bend is an opportunity to benefit your structure, or destroy it. Turn each bend into a hip-hinge! You will preserve your discs, spinal ligaments, and knees instead of wearing and tearing them. You also get the following exercises taken care of:

  1. Stretch your hamstrings

  2. ... Read more

The 'Myth' of Good Posture — REALLY?!

March, 2018

A recent Guardian article and BBC program (13:30–20:30 minutes) discussed the “myth of good posture,” and two main takeaways from these pieces were that comfort trumps posture and that good posture includes an S-shaped spine. We’d like to respond.

Our culture is confused about posture. When you have back pain you want to navigate to the best solution quickly. What you don’t want is to get lost in a landscape of incomplete and conflicting information, poor advice, bias, and historical baggage.

Over time, experience and good research will generally clarify matters. A good example of this is the sweeping change in the advice given to people recovering from heart disease. Back in the 1930s, the standard advice following a heart attack was 6 weeks of lying... Read more

How to Rest When There’s Nothing to Rest On

March, 2018

You’re on a long hike, and it’s been a while since you began. Your surroundings are beautiful, and you want to take a moment to soak it all in. But, there’s nothing nearby to sit on and the ground is damp. What do you do?

 


Resting up for the next all-out effort.

 

The best restorative position I know for these situations is the isometric resting position that includes hip-hinging to park your hands on your knees with straight elbows. Steps to relief: hinge your back, place the heel of each hand on its respective knee, lock your elbows, permit your shoulders to hike up in a slack manner, relax your belly, let your pelvis nest between your legs, and rest. This resting position counterbalances some different parts of your body and requires almost as little muscular effort as reclining in a chair or... Read more