My LinkedIn profile states that I am a teacher for Primal Posture. This is intriguing to many. I am the first person in India to be certified to teach the Gokhale Method ™, and teach a set of techniques on Primal Posture. I get asked what is Primal Posture? Is there such a field of expertise? Can that even be a profession? How can you be a posture teacher? Can you teach such a thing? While we are familiar with sports therapists, physio therapists, chiropractic etc, there is very little awareness about posture, and how it can benefit and help in alleviating physical pain.
So what triggered me to venture into this? Why did I, who was a marketing and communications professional for 15 years, and now an entrepreneur helping organisations manage change, decide to get into an area dealing with physical body, such a far removed area compared to my corporate work, or my education and training? It is rooted in my personal story.
I was a 20 years old- a college student, when I had my first instance of back spasm and pain. For 16 years after that I suffered through progressively worsening pain. Initially I had one or two severe episodes, but as the years passed, the frequency of the occurrence increased and so did the intensity of pain. I tried all things one was aware of – pain medication, Yoga, Pilates, Ayurveda, Accupressure, Massage therapy, Physio therapy etc. While I had some relief, nothing was long term and my pain returned with a big bang in a few months every single time. I seemed to be running out of any possible solution. While I wasn’t the sporty kind, I was physically active and fitness conscious and tried maintaining a fitness routine. But there were days when just managing my daily tasks became difficult. At work my responsibilities were growing and with a child at home the physical demands were high too. I felt miserable as I couldn’t give my best at work or home. The pain had debilitating effect and my back was constantly occupying my mind space. I felt hopeless. I was recommended a spine surgery as the last resort. I felt very confused. I did not trust cutting open would help, intuitively I felt that it would not address some underlying issue, and it didn’t seem to offer a return to active life. It seemed like a temporary fix with huge risks involved. I had got to a point of such desperation that I just wanted to quit everything. I had hit a really low point
It was then, through sheer coincidence I discovered Esther Gokhale and her book “8 Steps to a Pain Free Back”. And it gave me hope. Here was a method that looked at the natural alignment of our bodies, how we are designed as humans to use our bodies to the best advantage and body wisdom that people in non-industrialised societies have retained. Every word in the book made perfect sense to me. It described exactly why I was going through all the pain and how it could be eliminated. For the first time I felt I had a solution that was natural and long term, it focused on restoring our bodies to our primal posture. I decided to do the foundations course on the Gokhale Method in the United States, as it wasn’t available in India.
The course which is only 6 lessons of 1 hour each was completely transformative. The techniques are very simple to learn yet with profound impact on the person. The course provides intellectual understanding of how the human physical structure is evolved to function at optimal levels over 5 million years, has wonderfully guided kinesthetic approach to understand how to position and stack every bone in the body for minimal friction, and with the visual inputs on people from cultures who have retained their primal body wisdom, helps one develop deep awareness about our own body architecture. Being rooted in everyday body movements like sitting, standing, walking, bending and even sleeping, there is no need for setting aside time “to practice” during the day. One just learns to be in the right posture during every movement. It is an extremely empowering method, where once you learn, the knowledge is completely yours. There is no dependency on any therapist or the need to go back for more and more sessions, unlike many other conventional methods.
I would not be exaggerating if I said that within weeks my pain was dramatically reduced and within months of training myself to have the right posture, I was pain free. I was back to an active life without having to bother about getting a spasm or twisting my back. I could move around with confidence. I began experiencing a new sense of energy. I felt different from inside and outside. There was a dramatic difference in my overall wellness in just a matter of months. People around me noticed the change and the zing in my step. I was able to focus and think more clearly. I started looking at the world in a different light. Suddenly I could take positive decisions about my future. And this is the experience of thousands of students who have learnt this method and have found relief from physical pain.
My story of living in pain is not unique. Statistically there is a significant rise in musculoskeletal issues among the office workers. Many people today suffer back, neck, shoulder, wrist and knee pains at an young age in the corporate setup, I have come across many people letting their careers take a back seat due to debilitating health issues. I recently heard about a woman CEO of a large tech company who quit as she felt there was not a part in her body that didn’t hurt. I felt strongly about bringing the Gokhale Method to India based on my own positive experience. I decided to become a posture teacher. Training under Esther Gokhale at Palo Alto, I became the first person to be certified to teach Gokhale Method in India.
And as I am beginning to teach people about posture, I am learning many new things. I am learning how difficult it is to swim against the current of conventional methods; learning to deal with skeptics who will believe only if there is a research publication (no pharma company would spend on a research that would effectively put them out of business); learning to build awareness among people on a new technique; learning to straddle my consulting work with teaching posture; learning a new language of anatomy and physiology; and most importantly learning to be a novice again at something.
I am blessed with the gift of new life. And I want to share that possibility with those who need it. Every one of us can have a pain free functional life by restoring our primal posture. We should not settle for anything less.
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