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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

Upgrade Your Downward-Facing Dog with the Gokhale Method and SpineTracker™

September, 2019

Studying and teaching yoga has been part of my life for several years. However, after learning the Gokhale Method, I approached the well-known yoga posture “downward-facing dog” (Adho Mukha Svanasana) in a new way.
 


Hip-hinging with my even spinal groove visible — GOOD! Image courtesy Cecily Frederick.

In the Gokhale Method Foundations Course, I learned how to hip-hinge and keep my spine from flexing when bending. I wanted to maintain about the same spinal shape in my “downward-facing dog” pose as I had learned when hip-hinging. This spinal shape, with an even spinal groove from the lower to the upper back, meant that my... Read more