Posture and Back Pain - Past, Present and Future

by John Carter, Gokhale Method

Our backs hurt. It’s something we take for granted. Maybe not all the time, but 80% of us will experience back pain at some point. “I was only reaching for my phone when my back suddenly went”. Even if we are not in pain right now, discomfort or apprehension that something will ”go” again has become part of the day-to-day reality of our lives.

These women miners, from the 19th century, had to do a lot more than reach for phones, our general epidemic of back pain would have surprised them. Back pain, unless caused by serious injury, would not have been a significant concern for them. They were stronger, more upright and poised than most people we see around us today, carrying weights on their heads with ease. Their posture worked in a way that typical modern posture doesn’t. If you look at late 19th /early 20th century film from New York and Paris you can see how this natural posture gave people not just an upright bearing but an ease and dynamism of movement.

There is a group of people, even in today’s modern world, that have great posture - preschool children. Very young I had no problems sitting: or moving with ease.  Just like most humans for most of history,


I could sit, stand and walk in a relaxed upright way. And like most of us today I lost this over time.

'Typical' Adult Posture

Like so many others my “typical” adult posture, rounded upper back, swayed lower back, tucked pelvis and overall collapse caused years of chronic and increasingly severe back pain. The answer lay in making the old new again, regaining my preschool, ancestral posture. Looking at old photos and old film is an inspiration, but re-learning in order to put this into practice is what the Gokhale Method Foundations Course gave me.

The six 90 minute lessons teach the key foundations of natural posture, how to sit stand and walk your way to a healthy back. Using images, simple elegant ideas and hands on instruction, natural healthy posture habits are restored. Most people start to experience some relief from pain on day 1.

Transformational change is best made gradually, with benefits that accumulate over time and can last a lifetime. Natural 24/7 daily posture and movement is key to a pain free, “ready for action” life.

An early Gokhale Method student, Brian, showing his restored natural posture.

If you want to learn more register for a free online Gokhale Method workshop , and consider reading the “8 Steps to a Pain Free Back” available on and other online book sellers. To make the old new again in your life, creating a future based on healthy posture, you would be welcome on the Gokhale Method Foundations course at Santosa, Edinburgh on 5 - 7 July.

John Carter
Gokhale Method Teacher