Structure governs function

This is a critical principle in all bodywork, regardless of the focus and orientation. Until the structure of the body is right, which means everything is in alignment, none of the internal organs and systems can fully perform their functions and countless activities. The term structure refers to the architecture of the body, the way that everything connects to everything else.


Think of a house where the foundation has been badly laid and one persists to build the walls.  Then the external and internal fixtures and fittings are added… and finally the roof is perched on top. There is no chance that this building will be able to perform its primary functions of keeping its occupants safe and warm for many years to come. This is a structure that will begin to fall into disrepair and decay prematurely – all because the foundation has been compromised.


Our bodies are the same.  If the foundation of good alignment is not in place then nothing will be able to function as it should, placing stresses and strains on our musculoskeletal framework, which in turn impacts on how everything else functions. So, that headache, back pain, shoulder ache, that inability to concentrate and focus, can all be connected to the way your architecture is aligned.


What is the Gokhale Method?

The Gokhale Method (Go-clay) uses healthy posture and movement to help you restore your structural integrity and regain a pain-free life. It addresses the root cause of muscle and joint pain, enabling you to enjoy the fruits of a body free from pain.  Its primary targets are the back, neck, hips, knees and feet.


Esther Gokhale 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. Gokhale has practiced acupuncture and taught posture, dance and yoga for over twenty years.


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.  Her Gokhale Method Foundation course is now taught by qualified teachers all over the world.


In this clear, helpful presentation, Esther Gokhale introduces some of the corrective techniques to improve one’s walking, sitting and sleeping.


How it works…

  • You will learn to sit, sleep, stand, walk, and bend in ways that protect and strengthen you instead of wear and tear you.
  • Sitting will be comfortable, either with a backrest when you place your back in therapeutic traction (stretchsitting) or without a backrest, when you stack your spine on a well-positioned, anteverted pelvis (stacksitting).
  • Sleeping will be comfortable and provide hours of restorative traction, whether lying on your back or side (stretchlying).
  • Standing will be a resting position for most of the muscles of the body with the weight-bearing bones vertically stacked over the heels (tallstanding).
  • Bending will involve hinging at the hip rather than the waist, exercising the long back muscles and sparing the spinal discs and ligaments (hip-hinging).
  • Actions that challenge spinal structures, such as carrying or twisting, will involve deep layers of muscles in the abdomen and back (inner corset) to protect the spine.
  • Walking will be a series of smooth forward propulsions, challenging the muscles of the lower body and sparing the weight-bearing joints throughout the body (glidewalking).


It is claimed that in relearning these everyday actions, you will reposition and reshape your shoulders, arms, neck, torso, pelvis, hips, legs, and feet the way they were designed to be. You will develop a high level of confidence in and sense of control over your well-being. Once you have learned the basic principles, you integrate them into all positions and movements. Your everyday activities will once again become therapeutic.


Also see: Persuading the Body and The Importance of Posture