In her book 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, Ester Gokhale outlines techniques to relearn a posture was once natural to us as children. She believes, as I do, that how we carry ourselves has a lot to do with how we feel on a daily basis; from the aches and pains we feel to our energy level, performance, and recovery. I’ve referenced Gokhale in previous posts (here and here) through the information on her webiste, but now I’m actually reading her 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back and have made it about a third of the way through as I write this post. Although the title of the book makes it sound primarily like a back pain book, the truth is that Gokhale simply uses the back as the foundation of her postural techniques upon which she also incorporates proper positioning of the shoulder, neck, and head above and the pelvis, knees, and feet below. It is more of a total body postural emphasis than the title implies, so her material is applicable for everyone not just those with back pain issues.
As with most continuing education my motivation is partly personal curiosity and application, but I continue to research ways of improving posture in our athletes and clients and my research kept bringing me back to the Gokhale Method. I believe that posture is one of the easiest things to understand and yet one the hardest things for people to make lasting change. Perhaps there are hurdles that are difficult to overcome like the feelings of awkwardness, muscles fatigue and sorness, or because of the mental effort it takes to be aware of your body as your mind focuses on daily tasks. Many of us are creatures of habit, both in what gets done, how it gets done, and where it gets done. Needless to say there will be a bit of an adjustment period in a way that was similar to when you first started CrossFit: new positions, new skills, new terminology, etc. For those of you who have been with us for some time, most of the lifting and gymnastics positions are now second nature and it’s because you took the time to diligently practice at home and here at the gym. Unfortunately, we only get to see you for about an hour per day, making your posture the other 23 hours of the day even more important. Remember you’re essentially reprogramming your software, and as any software engineer will tell you it’s going to take some time to re-write the code and work out the glitches. Be patient and stay focused on the big picture of what you’re hoping to accomplish by improving your posture. For me my goal is to improve my low-back and shoulder health, set a good example for Cade and others to emulate, and become more well-rounded as a strength and conditioning coach so I can help you reach your goals and stay healthy long into your golden years while having fun reaching those goals. Most of the Gokhale Method resources cost money, but something to consider is how much a visit to a medical professional will run you should your lacking posture cause an injury. Some may say a small price to pay to stay ahead of such things like back injuries, especially if you’ve dealt with one before.
Gokhale Method YouTube Channel: A number a valuable videos posted on there like these two that are the first two techniques that Gokhale covers in her book.
DVD: If you are a visual learner and enjoy the videos above then perhaps a budget friendly option is the Gokhale Method DVD entitled Back Pain: The Primal Posture Solution, which you can purchase for $59.95 on her website here. I have not watched the DVD but it appears she covers all of the same concepts outlined in her book but you can see how she instructs, applies, and corrects each technique on real students in a teaching setting.
Seminars/Workshops: Gokhale Method Instructors also hold free workshops and Gokhale Method Foundations Courses both online and in locations all over the world. Workshops are held both online and in-person, and are roughly 45 minutes in length previewing some of the helpful techniques covered in the book and the Foundations Course. The workshops are free and information can be found on the Gokhale Method website here. Gokhale offers a number of other classes (information on which can be found here), but the Foundations Course in particular is much more intensive instruction and consists of six 90-minute lessons scattered over a weekend typically beginning Friday evening and running until Sunday afternoon/evening. The Course costs $450 and is great for those looking for more in-depth instruction where you can bounce questions off an instructor and become more comfortable with the techniques if you want to teach others. Information can be found on the Gokhale Method website here. As it turns out there is a Foundations Course being held in Marina Del Rey over the Nov 9-11th weekend, so if your interested check out the details using the link above.
Clean+2 Front Squats 2-2-2
4 Rounds for Time:
5 Shoulder-to-Overheads (75% bodyweight)
15 Double Unders