fbpx Blog de Esther Gokhale | Gokhale Method® - Primal Posture ™ para uma vida sem dor
Inscreva-se no boletim de notícias Positive Stance ™

O blog de Esther Gokhale

Posture Alone Does Not a Healthy Body Make

In my experience, there are four important pillars of wellness: healthy diet, exercise/movement, posture, and community. In the general population, posture is the least recognized of these pillars. Gokhale Method aficionados don’t have this blindspot; they understand the importance of healthy posture well. What is sometimes not understood is that you need more than healthy posture to cover your musculoskeletal needs. Healthy posture is a base on which you need to build an active life. Especially in modern contexts, which sometimes allow you to fulfill almost all your duties from behind a computer screen, it takes some reflection on how you can supplement, edit, and weave healthy movement into your life.

I was originally trained in a posture tradition that looked down upon exercise as a juvenile and unnecessary pursuit. I would frequently hear that “sport is for kids” and that I “shouldn’t have time for things like running and swimming.”... Read more

What's the Best Way to Stretch Your Hamstrings?

January, 2019

I get this question quite often. The answer is two-fold:

  1. Maintain a healthy baseline length in your hamstrings/glutes by learning to tip your pelvis forward in stacksitting, tallstanding, and glidewalking. When you tuck your pelvis, you bring your ischial tuberosities (sitz bones) in closer to where these muscles attach on the leg. This allows the hamstrings/glutes to adapt to a short resting length. Short hamstrings make you more vulnerable to hamstring injuries when you perform motions that require normal or elongated hamstrings. Tears can happen within the muscle, or, more commonly, where the hamstrings attach to the ischial tuberosities.

 ... Read more

The Tale Your Feet Tell

December, 2018

If you lead an active lifestyle, you are probably familiar with buildups of toughened skin, most commonly on your feet. Besides giving your pedicurist a measurable and objective occupation, those leathery, flaky patches of skin tell a tale of how you bear weight in standing, walking, and other activities.

 


Your feet’s visible signs of buildup and abrasion can give insight into your gait and stance. Photo courtesy Unsplash.

 

Skin and bones toughen in response to stress. Appropriate stress causes appropriate toughening (strong bones and thick skin), while undue stress causes undue toughness (arthritic spurs in bones, calluses and corns in skin). If we are knowledgeable we can read into our habits by examining our skin and bones.

Take a look at your feet. The most common areas... Read more

How to Improve the Outcome of Spine Surgery (When It’s Needed)

November, 2018

Spinal surgery has come under a lot of flak in recent years for being an expensive and invasive treatment for back pain that yields poor results. Not many people see improvement in their pain a year after surgery, and many are worse off. Recovery from surgery can be also be very difficult.

Surgery should indeed be a last resort for most kinds of back pain. But sometimes surgery is needed to treat damage to spinal nerves, discs, or surrounding tissues, and we are very fortunate that there are people who have gone to school for years / decades and honed the necessary skills to right some wrongs in our bodies. The question then becomes, what can we do around the surgery to support the handiwork of the surgeon? To answer that question, it helps to understand some of the problems facing surgical patients post-surgery:

  1. After surgery and during recovery, people tend to return to the same old practices which got them into trouble in the first place. Most people (and

  2. ... Read more

J-spine Validated?

November, 2018

It’s rare to find well-preserved Neanderthal skeletal fragments. It’s especially rare to find well-preserved Neanderthal ribs and vertebrae since these bones are more fragile than skulls and limb bones. But ribs and vertebrae are particularly helpful for discerning the shape of this related species’s thoracic cage and spine.

The recent Kebara 2 Neanderthal find (nicknamed “Moshe”), with very well-preserved vertebrae and ribs, was a particularly exciting find. Patricia Kramer, professor and chair of anthropology at University of Washington, has created a 3-D image deducing what the shape of Moshe’s thorax must have been, and there are some surprises. One surprise is especially interesting: the Neanderthal lumbar spine was practically straight! This was a great surprise to the researchers since they were expecting that Neanderthals, who are quite... Read more

Don’t Stick Your Behind Out; It’ll Sway Your Back

November, 2018

My book has a lot of images of village Africans. This is because I travelled to Africa, which is in turn related to the fact that primal posture is better preserved in Africa than in most places, and certainly you find better posture in village Africa than in modern, industrial societies.

 


This woman’s J-spine is well intact; her L5-S1 curve is pronounced. L5-S1 curve varies by race and social posture influences.

 

Readers of my book sometimes have the mistaken impression that the work is about replicating the baseline shape of a village African. Though I state explicitly that the amount of L5-S1 curve varies by race and is also very individual, newcomers to... Read more

How to Text with Good Posture

October, 2018

There’s nothing inherently problematic about the activity of texting from a posture point of view. The problems arise because we have poor habits in how we hold objects in front of us, how we read, and also because what’s on our cell phones tends to be more compelling than other objects we might hold or read.

 

As this woman demonstrates pretty well, by holding the cell phone within her line of sight and maintaining posterior shoulders, there need be no threat to the neck, shoulders, arms, or upper back. If, however, we allow our head and neck to lean in excessively to the cell phone, break the line of our wrists, or allow our shoulders to reach forward to the cell phone, we could be inviting a plethora of health problems. These include wear and tear in the cervical discs, impingement of the cervical nerves, poor circulation to... Read more

4 Benefits of Carrying on the Head

September, 2018

Carrying weight on the head is a primal activity, something we have done for millions of years.

 

​​
Transporting water in the Ouahigouya marketplace, Burkina Faso, 1998.

 

I took an archeology course at Stanford from professor John Rick that included a workshop on stone knapping (chipping away at a stone to create arrowheads and similar tools). While most of us created pitiful arrowheads with no chance of any hunting success, a few members of the class hit the obsidian at productive angles that resulted in decent weapons. Professor Rick says that about 10 percent of his students intuitively know how to make good arrowheads. He believes that the relevant DNA for being good at this task has been conserved through the generations in these individuals. Making stone tools like... Read more

Why Positivity is Important in Learning Posture

August, 2018

Historically, teaching posture has involved nagging, scolding, and whipping youngsters and hapless underlings into shape. We’re overdue for a break from the questionable practices of the past, not only for sentimental reasons but also because the data available to us begs it.

 

  1. Positive reinforcement works better than negative reinforcement. What you focus on grows, and focusing on improvements keeps the improvements coming. Finding yourself in a slouched position from time to time is expected and doesn’t merit a lot of focus, except as a gentle trigger to make a healthy posture shift.


Positive reinforcement results in growth and motivates the upward trend to continue. Photo courtesy Pixabay.

 ... Read more

How to Lose Weight by Changing Your Posture

July, 2018

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