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How to Do a Plank Correctly

April, 2018

Good posture is so important for any workout or athletic endeavor. Exercise of the day: planks!

People often lose their structural integrity by dropping their hips and letting their lower back arch, or by tucking their pelvis, rounding their back, and pushing their shoulders forward.


Left: Poor form marked by dropped hips and arched back. Right: Poor form marked by rounded back and forward shoulders.

 

It does take more work for your abdominal muscles, particularly your internal obliques, to maintain proper form...but when you're planking, isn't that what you're going for?? Don't fool yourself into thinking you're getting a better workout by doing a longer plank with bad form!

... Read more

Hip-hinges: 4 exercises in 1. Time spent: 0 seconds

April, 2018

I sometimes tell my students that if you bend well you are unlikely to have a back problem, and if you bend poorly you are almost certainly going to have a back problem. It’s almost that simple. Of course there are other important techniques to learn, like how to sit, stand, sleep, and walk, but bending is a particularly important technique, and learning to bend well constitutes a major milestone in our Gokhale Method Foundations course.

Most of us do many bends a day — each bend is an opportunity to benefit your structure, or destroy it. Turn each bend into a hip-hinge! You will preserve your discs, spinal ligaments, and knees instead of wearing and tearing them. You also get the following exercises taken care of:

  1. Stretch your hamstrings

  2. ... Read more

The 'Myth' of Good Posture — REALLY?!

March, 2018

A recent Guardian article and BBC program (13:30–20:30 minutes) discussed the “myth of good posture,” and two main takeaways from these pieces were that comfort trumps posture and that good posture includes an S-shaped spine. We’d like to respond.

Our culture is confused about posture. When you have back pain you want to navigate to the best solution quickly. What you don’t want is to get lost in a landscape of incomplete and conflicting information, poor advice, bias, and historical baggage.

Over time, experience and good research will generally clarify matters. A good example of this is the sweeping change in the advice given to people recovering from heart disease. Back in the 1930s, the standard advice following a heart attack was 6 weeks of lying... Read more

How to Rest When There’s Nothing to Rest On

March, 2018

You’re on a long hike, and it’s been a while since you began. Your surroundings are beautiful, and you want to take a moment to soak it all in. But, there’s nothing nearby to sit on and the ground is damp. What do you do?

 


Resting up for the next all-out effort.

 

The best restorative position I know for these situations is the isometric resting position that includes hip-hinging to park your hands on your knees with straight elbows. Steps to relief: hinge your back, place the heel of each hand on its respective knee, lock your elbows, permit your shoulders to hike up in a slack manner, relax your belly, let your pelvis nest between your legs, and rest. This resting position counterbalances some different parts of your body and requires almost as little muscular effort as reclining in a chair or... Read more

Grateful for My Garden

February, 2018

When I first came to this country in 1975, I had gardening on my mind. My family in India had just moved from Mumbai to Pune, where it became possible to plant a garden, and my mother was full of plans for this new adventure. Her excitement was infectious and I also became keen on gardening. As an exchange student, I started a garden in my host family’s plot. Later, when my husband and I moved to Stanford, I cultivated a communal plot at Escondido Village. In our first condominium/home, I spent several years working the very clay soil that is the legacy of every Bay Area homeowner. My efforts came to a standstill when I herniated my L5-S1 disc in the ninth month of my first pregnancy. Not only could I not think about gardening, I was also unable to pick up a cooking pot, sleep, or, worst of all, pick up my baby.

It took me several years to figure out what had caused my problem, how to solve it, and develop enough confidence to have two more children. With the additions... Read more

My Gokhale Method Experience

February, 2018

I have been practicing massage therapy and bodywork for over 19 years. I believe in the value of massage and love my work. But over the years I noticed many clients kept returning with the same, or related complaints/injuries, over and over again. And this happened even though they diligently performed PT exercises, stretched, practiced yoga etc. I felt there was something missing, something that could help clients retain the benefits of therapeutic work and maintain their good health. For me that answer came when I learned about the Gokhale Method®, a postural re-education method created by Esther Gokhale, author of the bestseller 8 Steps to a Pain Free Back.

My introduction to the Gokhale Method came through my massage client Susan, a former competitive figure skater and modern dancer who had experience with several forms of bodywork. When she... Read more