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Glidewalking: Sitting’s Long-Lost Counterpart

August, 2019

 


Mother and son in a tribal Orissan village demonstrating excellent walking form. Notice that their heels remain on the floor well into their stride.

Do you have tight psoas muscles? Do you suspect the cause is too much time spent sitting in your daily life? There’s a complementary activity that helps counterbalance the time we spend sitting: walking — or, more specifically, glidewalking. Glidewalking helps balance our sitting in numerous ways — walking is dynamic versus sitting which is static. Yang balances Yin, viewed in the framework of traditional Chinese medicine. One underappreciated way in which walking can balance sitting pertains to the psoas muscle.

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Improving Your Neck Placement: a New Metaphor

July, 2019


Note the forward head and neck placement of both these High Street pedestrians. This usually results from tucking the pelvis (see the man (right)), but can also become a habit independent of pelvic position (see woman (left)).

 


Here our Bristol teacher Clare Chapman has digitally edited the photo to demonstrate how different healthier posture can look. Compare these subjects’ edited neck placement and spinal curvature with that in the original picture.

Metaphors can be powerful tools for learning new kinesthetic pathways. A metaphor packages a picture (which, we all know, can be worth 1000 words!) as well as some helpful... Read more

Journey with Joan Baez

July, 2019


Feeling happy after a lesson. 

If you ask Joan Baez what keeps her in good enough shape to do worldwide musical tours at age 78, she will hand you a little brown card that says “Esther Gokhale, Creator of the Gokhale Method.”


My wooden business card.

Joan has used various kinds of bodywork throughout her career. Music tours invariably involve bumpy bus rides, late-night performances, uncomfortable beds, and other challenges to the human frame, and Joan, like most seasoned musicians, has experienced her share of neck and back strain. Joan lives in California, the mecca of massage therapists, chiropractors,... Read more

How to Sit on the Floor, Part 2: Squatting

June, 2019

This is the second post in our multi-part series on floor sitting. For Part 1 on floor sitting, click here.

Why squat? Squatting isn’t something we do much in industrialized societies beyond childhood, but if you can do it healthfully, it is an eminently practical posture for resting the body while keeping the backside elevated off the ground and the clothing clean, as this woman from Orissa demonstrates.


This woman from Orissa demonstrates a healthy, full squat with foot arches intact and a long, straight spine.

It is also the posture used for toilet activities in places with floor toilets, a trend which has recently made its way to the industrialized realm in the... Read more

Why Does the Oldest Chinese Buddha Figure Slump?

June, 2019

 


The oldest surviving dated Chinese Buddha figure shows surprisingly slumped posture. Note the forward head, absence of a stacked spine, and tucked pelvis. He would not look out of place with a smartphone in his hand!

This surprisingly hunched Chinese Buddha figure is the oldest dated Chinese Buddha figure that has survived into modern times. The inscription on its base dates it to 338 AD, 500 years after Buddhism came to China from India. Compare the Chinese Buddha figure with this Indian Buddha figure from roughly 800-1000 AD…
 


This North Indian Buddha figure from the post-Gupta period (7th - 8th century AD) shows... Read more

“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