Full transcript of Esther Gokhale’s TEDx Talk: Find Your Primal Posture and Sit Without Back Pain at TEDxStanford conference.
Listen to the MP3 Audio here: Find your primal posture and sit without back pain by Esther Gokhale at TEDxStanford
Esther Gokhale – Author of 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back
We, in modern society, have really forgotten how to use our bodies. And we suffer a lot of aches, and pains, and dysfunction because of that.
But the good news is that we can heal most of the neck pain, and the plantar fasciitis, and the repetitive stress injuries, and the back pain that we suffer. And we can do it simply by restoring our primal posture and truly natural ways of bending, walking, lifting, sitting.
Here you see two Portuguese horsemen, and they are both relaxed, but they are sitting very differently. This guy is slumped, head forward, shoulders forward; and this guy is pretty upright.
Now, what would most parents tell their children when sitting like this? Sit up straight. And he could do it, but it would take tension in his lower back. And he’d probably last a short while, and then he get tired, maybe sore, and he’d go back to slumping. So most of us go back and forth between being upright and tense which we think is good posture, but it isn’t, and then being relaxed and slumped which we all know is bad posture.
What we really want is to be upright and relaxed. And what it takes is a well-positioned pelvis. This is like your foundation. And the easy way to see the difference in their pelvic positions is to imagine that if they have tails. Where would you say this guy’s tail is? Under him. He is sitting on it. And that guy’s tail? Out behind him.
And for our species, the natural way to have your tail is out behind you, anteverted: behind-behind. And if you have that, then your blocks, your vertebrae, get to stuck easily, and the muscles get to relax. And when you breath now, your whole back can move, and that stimulates circulation. It’s like a little massage going on all day, and you can heal yourself that way.
If you sit on your tail, you’ve got two bad options. This is one, relaxed and slumped, and here is the other, upright and tense. So if tucking your pelvis is so problematic, how come so many of us do it? The answer begins early in life in the way we are carried — you see the tucked pelvis — and the way we are parked in poorly designed baby furniture. It’s a sad thing, I know.
And then, this is the age at which our neural pathways are getting set as to what constitute sitting. So we carry those habits into adulthood where we continue to sit this way. And then it doesn’t help that most of our furniture is poorly designed including the ergonomic furniture; and that we are instructed by our fitness experts and so on to tuck our pelvis to protect our spines and so on, very unfortunate guidelines.