This weekend I am taking a three-day class learning the basics of the Gokhale method. I am a Posture Alignment Specialist certified at the Egoscue University. Posture is my passion. I believe that it is a critically missing link in health and fitness.
Despite its importance, the postural health is widely misunderstood and underappreciated by medical profession:
- Posture therapy is not taught in medical schools.
- It is not covered by medical insurance.
- There is not enough research done to raise public awareness.
- There are very few people who work on developing new posture improvement methods.
A couple of years ago I came across a review of one of the Pete Egoscue books. A person wrote that she had amazing results combining the Egoscue and Gokhale methods together. It perked my curiosity and I bought the Esther Gokhale book 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back.
The book is great. It has very detailed instructions and fantastic pictures. Esther Gokhale makes a very convincing case why people in underdeveloped countries still have great postures and very few musculoskeletal issues.
I was able to implement some of her techniques right away. However, any book has its limitations. There were still gray areas where I could not figure out how to exactly position myself. This is why I was thrilled that Gokhale method training was coming to Newton, MA.
What is the major difference between Egoscue and Gokhale methods?
The major difference is in the approach:
- Egoscue practice involves daily postural exercise routines (or menus).
- You dedicate 30-60 minutes a day to your menu.
- Each menu usually targets the most noticeable current misalignments.
- Exercise routines are tailored specifically to person’s individual needs.
- They work on straightening the body first, and then on strengthening the skeletal muscles.
- To get the most benefits, you need to work with a person trained in the Egoscue method:
- You will get support on the way.
- The posture improvement will be closely monitored.
- The posture improvement is gradual. It is a process that involves a number of visits.
The exercise menus evolve to accommodate the postural changes and to restore more functions.
- The Esther Gokhale method teaches you how to stand, walk, sit, sleep, and bend properly.
Her role models are from the countries where majority of people still have great postures and don’t have back pain.
- Gokhale method uses a body positioning in a course of a day and night to improve the postural alignment.
- It re-teaches you to move differently.
- When you apply her recommendations it feels very different from what you may think is straight.
- I read the Amazon site reviews where some people say that Gokhale method is easier because there is no exercise involved. It is not exactly true:
- Every movement and body position here is an exercise.
- It engages the skeletal muscles in a manner that you “work out” even when you are doing nothing sitting.
- You can learn it from the book but it’s definitely better to take a class in person.
It does take time and effort to learn the proper techniques.
Conclusion: it is not easy to fix the incorrect body alignment and moving habits. Both methods require commitment, discipline, and time. In both cases, the improvement is cumulative. The more you practice either of them the better are the results.
Do these methods contradict each other?
No. While they approach the postural misalignment from different angles and use different terminology, they both lead to posture improvement. I believe they greatly compliment each other.
In my next post I am going to talk about combining Egoscue and Gokhale methods together.
Be Upright. Be Happy. Live Pain Free.