Walk your way to a Brazilian butt

Esther GokhaleAccording to Esther Gokhale, author of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back and creator of the Gokhale Method, you can get perfect Brazilian butt just by changing your stride. Esther an acupuncturist, author, and expert in pain-free-living, developed “glidewalking”, which helps prevent back pain as well foot and leg stress. It can also give you a shapely uplifted butt.

To find out how to improve your stride, shape your butt, get rid of a poochy stomach, and avoid neck-crunch, read this fascinating and informative interview with Ester Gokhale. I have been using her tips for last few days and my neck is already feeling better.
DD:  Can changing the way you walk or sit really alleviate back pain?
EG: Absolutely. We sit for many hours every day. Depending on how you sit, you could be either causing or healing a back problem. This is also true of walking.  
If you sit with poor form – for example, tuck your pelvis and slump – you damage your spinal discs, vertebrae, and possibly your spinal nerves the whole time you sit. If you land heavily with every stride and your bones are misaligned, you inappropriately jolt the bony surfaces within your joints with every step you take. That damages your joints and causes osteoarthritis.
On the other hand, if you sit with your "tail" behind you, and have your bones well-stacked, you improve your back with every breath you take. Every inhalation lengthens your spine causing healthy circulation that helps your spinal tissues heal. If you walk by engaging your gluteal muscles to propel you forward into gentle landings, your muscles get a healthy workout and your spine is spared unnecessary stress. 
If you have back pain, it is important to learn healthy ways to sit and walk because you sit and walk a lot, because sitting and walking well can end your back pain, and because unhealthy sitting and walking will worsen your pain.  

DD: Is there any way to help "uncrunch" a kinked neck after working too long at the computer or driving?
EG: First, you want to learn which way is up. Grasp a good-sized clump of hair at the base of your skull and gently pull your head back and up while relaxing your chin down to find a comfortable baseline position for your neck. 
To help keep your neck in place, it may help to imagine a helium balloon in your head that you relax your neck muscles to let float upward. If this is not enough, it can be very helpful to place a small weight (something that wouldn’t hurt your feet if it fell off your head) at the top of your head.
As a supplemental stretch it helps to elongate the back of your neck against the headrest of your car when you seat yourself in your car and against the pillow when you lie on your back at night. This will make it easier for your neck to maintain its natural length during the day.
DD: Can you really get a "Brazilian butt" from walking correctly?
EG: Butt of course! If you learn to squeeze your glutes with every step you take, you are getting far more reps than you could possibly get from going to a gym. Walking well, I call it glidewalking, is a tremendous opportunity for toning your butt. The Brazilians do it naturally and you can learn this as well! Be sure you are engaging not just the gluteus maximus, but also the gluteus medius – that’s the buttock muscle that keeps the butt perky no matter what your age. Here’s to your newly toned and perky "bunda" (Brazilian word for butt)!
DD: Can walking correctly help correct a protruding stomach?
EG: Yes, and so can sitting and standing correctly. There are two things to learn here:
1. Anteverting or tipping the pelvis forward. Contrary to popular belief, the human pelvis is meant to be tipped forward (with the "tail" pointing behind). This gives room for the pelvic organs and also the belly skin, muscles, and fat. When people tuck their pelvis, either out of habit or because they are taught to, they compress their organs and make their belly "pooch" out. This is not healthy or especially attractive. I believe that this single postural distortion is responsible for more health problems in our society than any other.
2. Periodically engaging the "inner corset" to make for a slenderer, taller and better protected spine. When your spine is under stress (example, carrying a weight, running, twisting, etc.) it is natural and highly desirable to engage your deeper abdominal muscles to protect your spinal discs, nerves and vertebrae. As a byproduct, you also get a toned abdomen and svelte physique. A free download of the "Inner Corset" chapter from my book is available on the home page at egwellness.com
DD: Can chronic foot pain be avoided or alleviated by a change in stride?
EG: It’s very unfortunate that podiatrists rarely check or teach stance or gait. It is common sense that how you stand and walk is highly relevant to foot problems. Another common misconception is that you are stuck with the shape of the foot you have. Actually, you can do a lot to change your feet. 
Here are some important aspects of gait that can help your feet;
1. Landing softly (by squeezing your rear buttock so your front heel and foot joints are not getting jolted with every step.)
2. Using the muscles on the underside of your foot to preserve the convex shape of your foot as you use it help push off. You don’t want your back foot to bend backwards too much as that puts a lot of strain on the ball of the foot (including the area where bunions form) and the plantar fascia. You want to engage your foot muscles at push off so you are propelling off the heel and then the big toe instead of the ball of the foot. I tell my students to walk across a floor the way a lizard climbs a wall. Students of our six-session Gokhale Method Foundations course report resolving their bunions, plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, sesamoid bone pain, and various other foot problems. 

For more information: http://egwellness.com/

Travel tips for your back

Esther Gokhale "hiphinges" forwardSummer is often a time for travel, and that can mean logging hours in cramped painful airline seats. I do not suffer from back pain, but some airline seats are killers.

Pain specialist Esther Gokhale says traveling in an airplane no longer has to be painful or uncomfortable.  Esther created the renowned Gokhale Method for pain-free living, and is the author of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back. She says that while all airplane seats have a curvature that forces the spine into an uncomfortable C-shape, there are steps one can take for a pain-free ride.
These simple tips protect the spine and reduce muscle tension during an airplane flight:
Fill the C: The concave shape of airline seats puts pressure on the spinal discs and is the starting point for muscle tension. Fill the lower part of your seat with pillows, blankets, sweaters, or a Stretchsit cushion to create a flat plane along which you can lengthen your spine. 

Stretchsit cushions are made by Esther Gokhale to help rejuvenate the back by lengthening the long muscles of the back. This provides more space for the spinal discs and nerves.
Hip-Hinge Forward: You can avoid the C-shape altogether by hip-hinging forward. Use your hands to support your head with your elbows resting on the open tray. You can adjust the placement and height of your hands to provide a gentle stretch in the neck.
  • Support Your Head: One of the best ways to rest or sleep on a flight is to lengthen your spine and support your head against the seat in front of you. If you are lucky enough to be in a window seat, you can find even more support in the corner between the seat in front of you and the wall of the airplane. Be sure to use a Stretchsit cushion, blanket, pillow or sweater to cushion your head.