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एस्थर गोखले के ब्लॉग

How to Improve Your Posture in a Day

January, 2020


Pop-up Courses ensure an excellent teacher:student ratio for lots of direct attention.

Our newly-crafted Pop-up Course fills a gap in our group class offerings. After many years of experimentation, we are excited about this format as it enables more people to benefit from the Gokhale Method.

Why a Pop-up Course?

  • Our highly successful Foundations Course typically takes place over 2-3 days, or longer. Some students struggle to fit its 6 lessons into their schedule. The Pop-up Course takes just one day (plus a 30-minute online private follow-up appointment), thus reducing the time required and keeping scheduling simple.

  • It’s easier

  • ... Read more

What is the Best Ab Exercise?

December, 2019


The abdominal crunch, though ubiquitous, is actually quite detrimental to the spinal discs and nerves. Better to find an abdominal exercise which respects and protects the spine! Image courtesy Jonathan Borba on Unsplash.

Happy Holidays! The dawning of a new year is a time when many people make efforts to establish new habits, many of them body-related. With the desire to improve ourselves often comes a (sometimes unhealthy) heightened awareness of how our bodies and their shapes appear to others. This is particularly true of abdominal muscles. Photoshopped, unrealistic images of... Read more

Humans Learn through Repetition

December, 2019


Learning and internalizing techniques doesn’t always happen immediately — or without assistance from a teacher.

I spent many years developing and perfecting the Gokhale Method Foundations Course. After years of crafting the language, honing the metaphors, and rearranging the order in which techniques are taught, I considered the course well-constructed and comprehensive. I was proud to empower students to be independent in taking their posture journey forward. I was proud to not be peddling products gratuitously, nor to insist students keep coming back for additional lessons. 

The results of this approach were not always stellar. Though some students functioned just fine after one go-round of a full 6-lesson Foundations Course, most students, not surprisingly, needed ongoing repetition to... Read more

Respecting the Neck: The Eyes Have It

November, 2019

My passion for researching posture has taken me far and wide. I was in a village in Burkina Faso in western Africa when I first noticed how people there would track the conversation from speaker to speaker mainly by using their eyes, rather than by turning their heads. Along with their excellent body posture it contributed to a strikingly well-centered, dignified bearing.


This young man in Burkina Faso demonstrates the dignified bearing that comes with an appropriate amount of eye tracking.

Comparing what I saw in Burkina Faso with what I was used to seeing back home, I realized that in the US, and the wider industrialized world, we move our eyes a good deal less and... Read more

Function over Appearance: MommaStrong, the Gokhale Method, and Posture for Moms

November, 2019

Posture and pregnancy have always been closely linked for me. As you may know, my own journey to create the Gokhale Method and a life free of back pain began with my development of crippling back pain during pregnancy. So it’s always a special gift to get to connect with other mothers who understand the deep relationship between posture and health, and to help other women learn to navigate the many changes that come with pregnancy and childbirth.

That’s why I’ve teamed up with MommaStrong to bring you this discussion between me and Courtney Wyckoff, the founder of MommaStrong. She’s a Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist, with 16 years experience in the field of fitness, nutrition, and injury prevention/treatment.... Read more

Posture Differences in Elite and Plebeian Ancient Egyptians

October, 2019

 


This famous bust of Nefertiti (c. 1370 – c. 1330 BC) exhibits a forward-protruded head. Original image courtesy Wikipedia user Philip Pikart under CC-BY-SA 3.0.

In my travels, I enjoy visiting museums. In a concentrated space and in a short few hours, I am able to travel back in time and over large distances, and compare people from different cultures. What a remarkable gift from the craftspeople of the past!  

Many museums have a well-developed Egyptian collection. The Egyptians’ expertise in preserving their dead as well as the dry Egyptian climate has yielded a bounty of specimens from... Read more

When Is It Good to Pull Back Your Shoulders?

October, 2019

This is the second post in our series on shoulder positioning. Read Part 1 here!


Typing with shoulders too far forward.

Often, in industrialized cultures, the shoulders are slumped or held forward. There are so many daily tasks in the modern world that make it all too easy for these bad habits to set in: holding our arms out front for hours with poor shoulder placement while we are typing, gaming, driving, and so on. Over the years this is likely to cause various problems:

  • Impingement, bursitis, wear-and-tear

  • Reduced circulation to the arms 

  • Compromised breathing patterns

  • Reduced athletic

  • ... Read more

Your Most Striking Posture Feature: Shoulder Position

October, 2019


The arm and shoulder of this African carpenter align with the back of his torso.

One of the most striking features of good posture is the position of the shoulders. The posture of this African carpenter shows how, with the shoulders well back, the arms align more with the back of the body than the front. The side of the chest and ribcage are clearly visible. Positioning the shoulders well brings you many benefits. It aligns your shoulder joint correctly, avoiding impingement, bursitis, arthritis, tendinitis, and general wear and tear. It improves circulation to your arms, as well as your breathing pattern. Optimal shoulder positioning improves athletic performance: throwing, punching, and swinging a racket or bat are all mechanically advantaged when your shoulders remain “home.” And last but... Read more

A Talk with Danny Dreyer of ChiRunning

September, 2019

I first met Danny Dreyer, the founder of ChiRunning, in 2018 when we were both leading workshops at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health in Massachusetts. Danny and his assistant teachers were leading their students outdoors in Nature in an engaging and enjoyable activity. It struck me that this could be a beneficial next step for Gokhale Method students who have overcome their pain and injuries.

Running, for those able to do it, has a particular draw, since it is a natural activity and such an efficient way to get exercise in a busy world. The model populations that inspire the Gokhale Method (children, non-industrialized people, hunter-gatherers), run regularly.

So I was intrigued by what Danny Dreyer offers: a systematic program on how to run with less injury and more enjoyment. In the... Read more

How to Sit on the Floor, Part 3: Sitting with Legs Outstretched

September, 2019

This is the third post in our multi-part series on floor-sitting. Read Part 1 on floor sitting and Part 2 on squatting!

It’s very common for women in Africa to sit with their legs outstretched. I’ve seen rows of women use this position to spin yarn, engage in idle chatter, sort items, and more. I’ve seen babies massaged by women using this position both in Burkina Faso and in the U.S. by a visiting Indian masseuse who does traditional baby massage in Surat, India. In Samiland I saw this position used to bake bread in a lavoo (a Sami structure very similar to a teepee).

... Read more