When I returned from Ghana to the United States, I quickly realized how hunched over; and to be candid how much we mimicked cavemen in our walking and sitting. It was bit of an eye sore, until I mentally re-acclimated into western society. The Ghanians on the other hand, especially in village, stood with elongated spines. Their necks linear and elegant even if unadorned with jewelry. Their chests confidently rested at ease, and the buttocks of both males and females was strong, rounded and naturally sculpted. Certainly not all Ghanians, but enough to distinguish from this “modern” culture’s curved posture and flabby rear-end. Along red earth they walked with such grace and dignity; it was a beautiful site to witness. I recalled the descriptions and memories journaled by European slavers who wrote of how majestic and stunning we moved and stood before them.
I witnessed the African genius, efficiency and strength of carrying goods weighing 40, 50 pounds and greater atop their heads; walking long distances without strain or struggle. These were not purely muscular young men, but children, young women and sometimes elders.
It became evident as ridiculous as it may appear to others in the U.S. I must carry atop my head whenever applicable and restore my African posture and gate. For me this was a struggle requiring conscious effort, yet it has been somewhat been sustained.
I searched the internet for evidence of my thesis on African (Original Peoples) postures, and carrying methods for preventative skeletal injuries and other health ailments and discovered the work of Dr. Esther Gokhale. I was not astonished by her research findings. Nonetheless, I was eager to share this information with my social circle hoping it may too inspire them to restore their African or as she refers to it, “primal” posture for wellbeing.
There is compelling evidence that over the past 100 years the populations of industrialized countries have drifted away from the somatic heritage of their forbearers. We have adopted postural habits which are dramatically different from those used historically and still found in non-industrialized peoples today. Modern “adaptations”, such as tucking the pelvis and S-shaping the spine have had detrimental effects on the biomechanics of our gait and structure, generating an epidemic of foot, knee and back problems. Restoration of healthy and sustainable functioning requires a return to natural alignment, our Primal Architecture. The Gokhale Method is a systematic and effective program for attaining this. Esther Gokhale (Go-clay) has been involved in integrative therapies all her life. As a young girl growing up in India, she helped her mother, a nurse, treat abandoned babies waiting to be adopted. This early interest in healing led her to study biochemistry at Harvard and Princeton and, later, acupuncture at the San Francisco School of Oriental Medicine where she became a licensed acupuncturist. After experiencing crippling back pain during her first pregnancy and unsuccessful back surgery, Gokhale began her lifelong crusade to vanquish back pain. Her studies at the Aplomb Institute in Paris and years of research in Brazil, India, Portugal and elsewhere led her to develop the Gokhale Method®, a unique, systematic approach to help people find their bodies’ way back to pain-free living. Gokhale has practiced acupuncture and taught posture, dance and yoga in her Palo Alto wellness center for over twenty years. Her Gokhale Method Foundations course is now taught by qualified teachers all over the world. Their offerings, her book, 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, DVD, posture-friendly cushion, and chair are all available on her website at gokhalemethod.com. In May 2013, The New York Times featured Esther in an article giving her the title, “The Posture Guru of Silicon Valley”. Gokhale has been a speaker/teacher at corporations such as Google, IDEO, and Mimosa Systems and conferences including TEDx(Stanford), Ancestral Health Symposium, Western Price Foundation Conference, and PrimalCon. She also speaks with medical physician groups including Stanford, PAMF, UCSF and sports teams such as the trainers of the SF 49ers and several Stanford teams. Her method has been featured in publications including The San Francisco Chronicle, Toronto Sun, Chicago- Sun Times, Prevention Magazine, and AAOS.