Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Wellness Wednesday: Life-Changing Wellness Seminar
I have been plagued with back, neck, knee, and foot problems for years, so I had high expectations for this seminar from the Esther Gokhale Wellness Center. I was taking Gokhale Method 101, based upon the book I'd recently read, "8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Food (Remember When It Didn't Hurt)" by Esther Gokhale. This method is based upon how people throughout history have stood, have moved, and stayed healthy without all of the problems we experience in our post-industrial society. It is full of amazing pictures--a beautiful book that I've written a review of for Amazon here. If you go to the book on Amazon, you can use the "Look Inside" feature and see so much of the book (scroll down and you will see that there is a huge exerpt of the book, including pictures, that the author has made available).
Even if you just look at the pictures, I think you'll be impressed. You can actually see how differently people used to sit, stand, lie in bed, work, bend over, walk, and more.
I have begun integrating this posture practice into my life. Three days of classes were so very helpful, and now I need to follow up at home. The really good thing is that although there are some optional exercises for people like me (super out-of-shape with weak muscles)--for the most part this practice is done in the process of life itself and takes no extra time--while you're sitting, driving, moving about the house, working, playing, etc. There is also almost nothing to buy; there is an optional cushion that can help you stretch your back, but a towel or other support can be easily substituted instead. Also, there are free classes, online classes, and more.
This is not simply one person's ideas, but a new movement--a movement to help us return to some of the wise ways of our ancestors that led to health. It's really cool. I took a class in Seattle for which there was a fee, but my health problems are debilitating and I needed something intense and immediate to prevent much more money from being spent on other solutions.
Here are some pictures so that you can see some early changes in my way of moving. This picture is BEFORE, sitting normally (and up straight--I usually slump) on the edge of a chair:
This picture is two days later, after 9 hours of posture instruction:
This picture is BEFORE, standing normally. Note the swaying out in the upper back:
This picture is AFTER, standing normally. Note the straightness in the upper back:
No body cares too much about posture per se, but everyone cares about the benefits that good posture can bring. So if you'd like even more resources about this posture practice, here they are:
Can't Exercise at Work? Try StretchSitting (this is an article describing a particular posture practice in a bit of detail)
Video of Esther Gokhale talk at Google (this is a longer talk given for those of you who are very interested--it's wonderful though!)
Preview of book (8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back) on Google
Great book review along with picture of Esther Gokhale (the founder) bending as she sits (you can really, really see how Esther has an unconventionally healthy back)
I plan on continuing with this for a long, long time. I look forward to the health benefits that will ensue!