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Marrying Tradition with Modernity: Sarees and Posture

August, 2019


Aarani silk from Tamil Nadu, Southern India. Aarani, a small town, weaves only silk sarees in 3-plied or 2-plied yarns, making it a lighter silk to wear. The first national flag of independent India hoisted at the Red Fort is rumored to have been woven in Aarani. Stacksitting helps showcase the saree in its full glory.

People who know me well have come to associate me with my posture work, my love for sarees — the traditional Indian unstitched garment — and my frequent travel owing to my management consulting work. This is an accurate perception: I love all these things.
 


Bhujodi cotton from... Read more

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.

... Read more

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