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“It Takes a Village” for Healthy Posture

June, 2023

The phrase “it takes a village to raise a child” is thought to originate from an ancient African proverb. 

As I have grown into being a parent, uncle, and beyond, I have realized that this quote extends to any age. I have directly experienced this with my own posture journey—my own family “village” has helped me and others dear to me find a near pain-free life through the Gokhale Method®.

Annoying body pains were affecting my fun in life

In my late thirties, a stream of inflammatory pains permeated my body, including back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, and—worst of all—plantar fasciitis in my foot. While these weren't absolutely crippling pains, they were painful enough to keep me from enjoying life as I gave up my favorite hobbies—tennis, golf, and playing the piano.

I visited numerous renowned doctors in California. They genuinely tried to help, but nothing resolved my pain. So I began searching for other solutions.

Finding Esther’s book, 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back

In 2012 I bought Esther’s book, 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back, as it was highly recommended on Amazon. 

 Front cover of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back by Esther Gokhale.
The book that helped me, 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back.

In particular, what caught my attention was how traditional and tribal communities across the globe do not have the level of musculoskeletal pain that we are seeing in modern society. The book explained how their cultures have preserved our natural blueprint for healthy posture over the centuries, while industrialized societies have lost it. 

This made a lot of sense to me, because as an American with Indian heritage, I used to visit India a lot and noticed that many traditional communities there do not have body pains as modern cultures do. There were people in their sixties and seventies doing manual labor regularly without pain.   

Man in India headloading vegetation (upper body).
As an Indian-American, I visited India often as a child, so I could relate immediately to the images like this one in Esther’s book that showed people with traditional posture performing physically challenging tasks with relative ease.

I then took the Gokhale Method Foundations Course. It took me a couple of months to meaningfully understand the core concepts. And then I felt significant pain relief for the first time in a long time and knew I was onto something. I began playing sports and music again! I was so happy. 

“Before” and “After” sitting without a backrest photos of Sachin Deshpande.
The Gokhale Method Foundations Course helped me stand, walk, sleep, and sit comfortably. Before the course (left)) I would sit with my pelvis tucked, back rounded, shoulders forward, and my neck compressed at the back. During the course I began to change this, learning to antevert my pelvis and stack my spine.

Helping each other out posture-wise

I shared my Gokhale Method story pretty regularly with family and friends. My family—perhaps knowing that I am a rather talkative person—would give me the “ol’ eye roll” when I talked too much about Gokhale posture!

That said, many of my family members nevertheless found the Gokhale principles intriguing. For example, my wife spent much of her childhood in India—and also learned the Bharata Natyam Indian dancing which Esther draws from—all of which gave her good posture and a relatively pain-free life. Equally importantly, it gave her a keen eye for good and bad posture. So she was able to provide excellent feedback to me as I kept trying to improve my posture with the Gokhale Method principles I was learning.

However, my sister Annissa grew up in America, and began experiencing hip and other arm pains as an adult, which was hard for her as she is a keen athlete. She realized that her posture might be the root cause. She learned the Gokhale Method with Esther’s younger daughter, Monisha, and started feeling meaningful relief. She is now a regular participant in Online Alumni Classes, which help her to keep healthy posture on her radar and continue refining it.

Sachin Deshpande’s sister Annissa with her PostureTracker
My sister Annissa (shown here with her PostureTracker) likes to use her Alumni membership most days—it makes checking in on and refining healthy posture comparatively effortless—and fun!

The next-gen

Interestingly, as my daughter Saya became a teenager, my wife noticed that her posture began to deteriorate. We were concerned that our daughter’s posture would worsen further when she went to college, leading sooner or later to inevitable pain and discomfort. Trying to offer advice and corrections to our daughter just caused a lot of frustration for both of them. 

When our daughter turned 16, we suggested that she learn the Gokhale Method before going to college. For her it was perfect to take the online Elements course. The fact that it was 18 compact 13-minute Zoom sessions worked perfectly for her busy high school life. Her posture markedly improved with Gokhale Method Teacher Kathleen O’Donohue.

We were so encouraged that we also asked our 15 year old niece Riya to take the course. She did the Elements course as well, and her posture improved too! 

Bringing different generations together with the Gokhale PostureTracker

In the last year, my daughter, sister, and I were really intrigued by the PostureTracker™ wearable, which gives real-time feedback on your posture by displaying the feedback from two highly accurate sensors on an app. My daughter and I did the first online Alumni PostureTracker class during the summer before my daughter headed to college. 

Saya Deshpande is a young Gokhale Alumna, here wearing her PostureTracker. 
My daughter Saya is a young Gokhale Alumna, and has taken her PostureTracker with her to college. She has real-time feedback on her posture wherever she wants it.  

We then bought the PostureTracker (which comes with one-to-one tech assistance) for my sister Annissa’s birthday. She loves it and uses it most days, including in her Alumni Classes. When we all get together, we often have fun correcting each other’s posture and also talking about our PostureTracker experiences.

The village beyond my family

Beyond my family, my “village” extends to the Gokhale Alumni community too. I have truly enjoyed and benefited from the collective curiosity and wisdom of the 1-2-3 Move classes. The teaching and follow-up questions and answers have been so helpful and insightful. I will never forget Gokhale Alumna Mary Walsh’s saying, “Good things come to those who ‘bean-shape’ [their feet],” which really captivated me and continues to help me in my own posture journey.


Here we are on the 1-2-3 Move class sometime in the COVID winter of 2020–21. The online community we forged back then has continued to thrive and be a great resource for everyone on their healthy posture journey. There is a 7-day free trial open to the public. 

Best next action steps for newcomers

If you would like insight on your posture, consider scheduling an Initial Consultation, online, or in person.

You can sign up below to join one of our upcoming FREE Online Workshops. . .

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Comments

Sachin... thank you for sharing your story. It's wonderful to see that your family is involved to such a degree, too. I always enjoy and learn from your questions.

Thank you for acknowledging my quote. I do believe, for me, bean shaping the feet is the key because it pointed out how much realignment my skeletal system would need up and down the line before getting the proper angles to do what Esther says effectively and efficiently with my muscles.

it's also nice to hear from someone with such lengthy experience. You beat me by three years but it does get better over time as long as you put in the work as you have.  Thanks for the inspiration.
 

Sachin,

Thank you! What telling before and after pictures. Your success in inspiring family to improve posture will help us all do the same.

Robert Ferguson

@tiny fishing Thanks for the post here. 

Upcoming Workshops

Move like you are meant to

Date and time: Sunday, May 26, 2024
11:00am

Europe/London

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Clare Chapman

Move like you are meant to

Date and time: Monday, May 27, 2024
5:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

Move like you are meant to

Date and time: Wednesday, June 05, 2024
8:00pm

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Language: Hebrew
Teacher: Michal Tal

Move like you are meant to

Date and time: Sunday, June 09, 2024
10:00am

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Language: English
Teacher: Tegan Kahn

Move like you are meant to

Date and time: Wednesday, June 12, 2024
7:00pm

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Language: French
Teacher: Michal Tal

Move like you are meant to

Date and time: Friday, June 14, 2024
12:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale

Move like you are meant to

Date and time: Wednesday, June 19, 2024
8:00pm

Europe/Berlin

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Language: English
Teacher: Julie Johnson

Move like you are meant to

Date and time: Thursday, June 27, 2024
4:00pm

Pacific Time

Open spots: Open
Language: English
Teacher: Esther Gokhale