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Reading Position

Chris L
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02/04/2011 - 8:46am
Reading Position

Esther,

I have struggled with chronic back pain since my mid 20's (about 7 years now), so I am excited about the new possibilities from your 8 steps program.  I have recently started a graduate school program, and one of my biggest challenges is finding comfortable position to read (and one that does not exacerbate my problems!).  With the current state of my back stretchsitting or stacksitting are only comfortable for so long, and lying doesn't work well either-the textbooks are generally large and heavy so placing them on my stomach can be uncomfortable and encourage improper breathing and neck strain, and holding them up creates other problems.  Do you have any advice on how to approach this?

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Hi Chris, 

Very good questions.  Generally, we suggest getting a book stand of some sort if you are reading in a seated position.  This will help you maintain a comfortable upright posture whilst studying for prolonged periods of time.

If you would like to read in bed, it is very possible, but it does require quite a few pillows.  Check out our archived newsletter, Postive Stance, for a tutorial: 

http://egwellness.com/node/404

I hope this is helpful to you!

Warmly, 

Charlene Hannibal

Gokhale Method Teacher, Bay Area, CA

reinov
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Hey Charlene,

 

I'm afraid the link to that newsletter is dead. Is it still available somewhere else, I'm interested in checking it out.

janefisher
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Try http://gokhalemethod.com/node/404

Another interested person  - I did some google serching and found the archives.

Jane

Mamboe29
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Hej jane, I tried your link and got the message that I do not have access. How did you get into the archives? Yet another interested person ;)

Norm Brekke
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I recently came upon a post and recommendation from another writer who provided a link for a product that helps position and support books of various sizes and weights.  Check this out and see if it is of benefit.

"www.bookandcopyholders.com"

epkann
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02/21/2019 - 11:31am

I have a ton of back pain too, and I'm studying classics (so lots of books of different sizes open at the same time, flipping between books and pages in the same book to check dictionaries, commentaries, glossaries etc.; need often to turn books upside down to read charts). I am having so much trouble finding a comfortable setup despite having multiple bookstands all over my desk. And of course the Greek font is super small, so I keep craning my neck to see the accent marks.

Does anyone have a suggestion? When I try to do this in a better way for my back and neck, I just get SUPER slow at my studies. I end up holding setting books flat and holding them when I need to flip between pages, but then I end up in a hunched position and my vertebrae aren't stacked and my head drops forward.

Thanks a lot!!

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Hi - This does sound like a difficult situation to manage!  I wonder if this photo might be helpful: https://gokhalemethod.com/system/files/Jean-honore%20Fragonard%20A%20Young%20Girl%20Reading%20.jpg

I'm sure the peaceful setting in this old painting is quite a bit different from yours (as is her teeny little book!), but take a look at how she's holding her head and neck.  There's nothing wrong with looking down for a while.  You just want to keep the back of the neck elongated and aligned as well as possible with your spine.  I often tell students to "Be the queen, be the king - Your subjects have to come TO YOU!" She is doing a good job modeling this principle as she brings her little book up to her comfortable viewing range. Use whatever props you need to make this happen.

Here's a clip on aligning your head and neck with hair pulls: https://gokhalemethod.com/video/gokhale_moment_hair_pull. Maybe place a teabag or folded hand towel (or Gokhale head cushion) on top of your head as a reminder to keep it drawn back and elongated in the back even as you are looking down.

This video might have some tips for you, as Esther goes over several techniques to help knitters with their posture: https://gokhalemethod.com/video/5_ways_relieve_knitting_back_shoulder_and_neck_pain.  You of course have more to manage than if you were knitting, but she goes over how a combination of techniques can save the day. I'm going to guess that shoulder roll, rib anchor, hiphinging and maybe even inner corset will be especially helpful as you study.

In addition to all your bookstands and such, you might find a good use for a lapdesk as well.  I have one like this and find it really handy to keep myself in good alignment: https://www.amazon.com/LapGear-MyDesk-Lap-Desk-Laptop/dp/B07N9KZQKR/ref=asc_df_B07N9KZQKR/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=309804809906&hvpos=1o2&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7918445875699229197&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9018942&hvtargid=pla-674484989036&psc=1.  Recently when I was preparing our tax return on my laptop, I was ensconsed on the couch (stacksitting) with papers spread on either side of me and papers on the TV tray in front of me and my computer on the lapdesk on my lap. Or sometimes it was laptop on the TV tray and papers on my lapdesk.  

Have you taken the Gokhale Foundations Course? That's the best way to really learn the techniques correctly. It would be best if you could get some hands-on help from a Gokhale Method teacher near you or even via Skype.  I hope some of the suggestions and videos here will help meanwhile!  

Good luck with your studies, and thanks for writing -

Doreen Giles

Gokhale Method Teacher

 

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