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Primal Posture for Wellness
When did we ever stop paying attention to our primal posture? Even if someone does remind us to “stand up straight” or “sit tall,” we either become easily distracted or we fail to have good posture and end up over-exerting ourselves.
Other cultures have shared good posture techniques for generations. They know how to bend, sit, and stand with a strong body. But our modern culture has lost something along the way. We're not the same active hunter-gatherers that our ancestors once were long ago. We've lost our primal instinct today because we either work at a desk for hours on end or we're doing other sedentary activities all day.
We're naturally born with excellent posture and mobility, but as we move on in life, we tend to lose our good posture habits.
On this episode of Wellness Force, we'll discuss how our modern culture has affected our posture and what we can do to fix it.
For those with constant back pain or have lost the ability to move comfortably, Esther Gokhale of the Gokhale Method is here to help.
Combining her experiences and knowledge about the human body, Esther has dedicated her life to changing our modern culture. With each workshop, lecture, and class, she is teaching us how we can achieve primal posture for wellness.
Esther Gokhale is the creator of The Gokhale Method as well as the author of the book, 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain. Esther and her team have helped many people with back pain and decreased joint mobility all throughout the USA and the rest of the world.
Not only does Esther teach us that it is possible to improve our posture and mobility, but she reminds us that without either, good health and wellness would be difficult to achieve.
Just as nutrition and fitness are important for our bodies, so is excellent posture and mobility.
Esther Gokhale at TEDx Stanford: Find Your Primal Posture and Sit Without Back Pain
Listen to Episode 102 as Esther Uncovers
- Common misconceptions and myths about posture.
- Why we don't have to over-exaggerate our posture, but instead we should focus on core posture by standing and sitting naturally and comfortably.
- The reason why the “chin up and shoulders back” posture is unnatural and creates tension in our bodies.
- How to do a shoulder roll to improve your upper posture.
- How good posture translates into stretching and strengthening of the body.
- The negative effects of poor posture and how we can improve our health with good posture.
- The Gokhale Method 4 Levels of Learning:
- 1) Intellectual understanding of what movement you want to do.
- 2) The ability to do that movement when a teacher is helping you.
- 3) The ability to do that movement when you remember to do it.
- 4) When that movement becomes a habit.
- Why our environment affects our posture and movement habits.
- How sitting can actually be good for our bodies under the right circumstances.
- Standing vs. Sitting: How is each beneficial for the body and for how long should we be doing each activity?
- Why we're born with great posture and mobility, but our modern culture has worsened it.
- What we can do to change our posture and improve our back pain throughout our lives.
- Learn what the Gokhale Method is and how it can help you improve your posture.
- Why movement and dance breaks would be so beneficial for the human body during the work day.
- How to improve your fluxed position and swayed back.
- What you'll learn from Esther Gokhale's book, 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain.
- How do we strengthen our spine and inner-core set?
- How you can use the plank exercise correctly to strengthen your inner girdle and core.
- What's the best way to stand? What's the best position for your pelvis?
- The 6 Lessons in the Gokhale Method Foundations Course.
- How our posture can affect our emotional health.
Top 3 Takeaways From The Show
- We might have believed it to be true, but sitting is not the new smoking. As long as we do a combination of sitting, standing, and movement in moderation all the while maintaining good posture, we can have strong, healthy bodies.
- Posture is the key to healthy joints and avoiding pain. Whether we're sitting, standing, or moving; we have to have good posture. The key is to not over-extend ourselves. We shouldn't have to “sit up straight” or “point our chins up” because those movements create tension. There are better, more comfortable movements that we can teach ourselves over time.
- Good posture is not only good for our bodies, but for our minds and emotions as well. Focusing on our posture can help reduce cortisol levels and increase testosterone levels.
Anscetral Health Symposium – Esther Gokhale — Restoring Our Primal Architecture
Power Quotes From Esther Gokhale
“When we focus on pointing our chins up, it usually leads us to tense up the muscles in the back of our neck. This tension in the back of the neck is not healthy. Our chins want to elongate and point down towards the ground.” – Esther Gokhale on why we shouldn't focus on pointing our chins up to try to achieve good posture.
“When you have good posture, then your every day life and activities become both your exercise and therapy. Every bend and step becomes a rep or a stretch. You're also taking care of a lot of your exercise needs. With poor posture, not only are you missing out on those stretches and strengthening repetitions, but you're actually creating wear and tear on your joints.” – Esther Gokhale on how good posture can benefit our bodies while poor posture hurts it.
“On average, people have great posture design and structure. However, it's up to the culture to either nurture and support this primal architecture that we're born with or to destroy it. Good posture can be destroyed with poorly designed furniture, directions such as “stand up straight, chin up,” and even those electronic notifications that remind us to fix our posture.” – Esther Gokhale on how good posture can decline because of culture.
“Culture is critical to posture and my life mission is to change the culture. My long-term goal is to create a healthy posture culture for modern people. It's possible and we have such an advantage to change our posture.” – Esther Gokhale on her mission to help modern culture improve its posture.
“We blame sitting for our health problems, but it's actually incredibly gentle for the body. Of course you shouldn't just sit like a lump or sit with unhealthy posture in badly made furniture. However, if you sit well for moderate periods of time in half-decent furniture, sitting is really gentle for the system. It's so easy on the joints and our architecture.” – Esther Gokhale on how sitting can be beneficial for our bodies with the right circumstances.
“Corporate jobs tend to keep people at their desks and don't allow them to move. Dance or movement breaks would be beneficial for the employees.” – Esther Gokhale on how corporations can include movement as a part of their employees' work day.
“A lot of people will only make an extreme change when they're going through extreme pain. But this is an opportunity for everyone to get involved and be proactive. Proactive health is so much easier than reactive health.” – Josh Trent on how we can take advantage of the Gokhale Method to actively improve our health.
About Esther Gokhale
Esther Gokhale has been involved in integrative therapies all of her life. As a young girl growing up in India, she helped her mother, a registered nurse, treat abandoned babies waiting to be adopted. This early interest led her to study biochemistry at Harvard and Princeton while later, acupuncture at the San Francisco School of Oriental Medicine.
After crippling back pain during her first pregnancy and unsuccessful back surgery, she began her lifelong crusade to find a solution to back pain. Her studies at the Aplomb Institute in Paris and years of research in Burkina Faso, India, Portugal, and elsewhere led her to develop the Gokhale Method which she has been teaching at her Palo Alto wellness center for over 15 years.
She has also given lectures for the ancestral health symposium, TEDX, Google, and many more large organizations interested in posture’s effect on health, wellness and work.
Resources Mentioned by Esther & Josh
- Check out the official Gokhale Method website
- Learn more about Esther Gokhale
- Connect with Esther Gokhale on Twitter
- Read Esther's book, 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain
- Purchase your own Stretchsit Cushion – Gokhale Method Posture Solution
- Read Esther's blog post, Forward Pelvis: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
- Meet the Gokhale Method Teachers
- Find a Gokhale Method Class Location near you
- Join a free Gokhale Method Workshop
- Purchase other Gokhale Method products
- Watch more Gokhale Method videos
- Read the New York Times article, The Posture Guru of Silicon Valley
- Learn more about Kelly Starrett and MobilityWOD
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About The Author, Lauren Bryant, Podcast Production
Lauren Bryant is the Podcasting Assistant and Show Notes Writer for Wellness + Wisdom. She has a BBA in both Marketing and Spanish for Business as well as certificates in Advanced Business Communications and International Business from the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire.
Lauren’s wellness journey began at a young age when she joined her local YMCA swim team, The Wave, of La Crosse, WI. One of the most profound views on wellness that anyone has said to her was when she was an assistant swim coach for that same YMCA swim team.
One day during a practice, former head swim coach, Jon Brenner, shared with her that the most important thing about coaching the swimmers was that “It doesn’t matter if they become the best athletes in the world. What’s important is that we give them the tools and guidance they need to live a healthy, active lifestyle for the rest of their lives.”
Since hearing those words, she has taken it to heart to not only focus on continuously living her own healthy lifestyle, but to help others pursue their wellness goals as well.
Lauren’s not only an avid swimmer, but a fan of running, yoga, cooking, and doing any activity outside that involves being surrounded by nature. In the Fall of 2014, she completed a long-awaited goal of walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
According to Lauren, wellness is about finding gratitude and joy in doing any type of physical or self-care activity that we love. Wellness means providing ourselves with self-love, good nutrition, and the inner peace that our individual minds and bodies need.