Today’s Guest Esther Gokhale
Meet Esther Gokhale – a pioneer in posture education and pain relief. Esther transformed her own experience with crippling back pain into the Gokhale Method, a unique system that restores your body's primal posture to eliminate pain and enhance strength. Growing up in India, her journey started with helping her nurse mother care for abandoned babies, leading her to study biochemistry at prestigious institutions like Harvard and Princeton, and later, acupuncture in San Francisco.
The turning point came when Esther suffered from severe back pain during her first pregnancy. After an unsuccessful surgery, she dedicated her life to finding a solution to back pain. Her pursuits took her across the globe, from the streets of Paris to the communities of Brazil and India, culminating in the creation of the Gokhale Method.
Esther's bestselling book, "8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back," has reached over 300,000 readers worldwide, and she has shared her wisdom on stages like TEDx Stanford. Known as the "Posture Guru of Silicon Valley", she has worked with top corporations like Google and Facebook, consulted for various Stanford sports teams, and conducted workshops for leading health institutions. Amid her business challenges and personal trials, Esther remains committed to being of service and inspiring people towards healthier, pain-free living.
- Esther discusses the benefits of using dance as a reminder system to revisit posture and keep the body in a healthy position, while also forming a joyful community. She also notes that indigenous cultures have a kinesthetic wisdom that has been lost in the modern West, leading to high rates of back pain and other musculoskeletal problems.
- Esther disagrees with the modern belief that sitting is the root cause of back pain, but says its rather how we sit and the shape of our spine. She believes our spine is J shaped rather than S shaped. Indigenous people sit as much as we do but don't suffer from the same problems.
- The Gokhale Method recommends "stretch sitting" with a modified backrest for gentle, hours-long traction to ease back pain and allow for a natural, healthy back. This is a more effective and convenient alternative to inversion tables.
- Esther developed the Gokhale Method to relieve her own severe back pain, which resulted from her first pregnancy, and sought out strategies to improve her own physical structure. She worked on the method over the years and was successful in making the process more efficient, effective and sustainable, and now shares it with others.
- Esther shares how she built her business organically and has been able to focus on innovating and developing techniques that work to relieve back pain. Despite the success, Esther feels impatient as she believes the approach needs to be more mainstream and widespread to help the millions of people suffering from back pain.
- She says their biggest challenge is finding new customers and creating repeat business. However, there is a great need for their services as back pain is the number one cause of global disability. They have stayed afloat through various challenges and continue to improve their offering.
- Esther is expecting extensive coverage for the Gokhale Method with their upcoming trial at top universities. They are also exploring the benefits of posture for mental health, and have created a course to teach basic posture principles for empowerment and confidence.
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Esther: My mother would always point out to the sweeper, to the fruit sellers, to the villagers in India where I was raised. Um, and remark on how amazing their bodies were, how they could squat and do, uh, carry enormous loads and have no physical discomfort.
And she, as a Dutch person, was very struck by that and passed on those observations to her children.
Matt: Welcome to Push To Be More with Me your host. Matt Edmundson. Now this is a show that talks about the stuff that makes life work and to help us do just that today. I'm chatting with Esther Gokhale from Gokhale Method Enterprise about where she has had to push through what she does to recharge her batteries as well as what more looks like for her.
Now, the show notes and the transcript from our conversation will be available on our website pushtobemore.com. And whilst you're there on our website, you can also sign up for our newsletter and each week we will email you these links along with the notes and the transcript from the show. Automagically they come direct your inbox so you don't have to do anything, it's just there. It's amazing. So go sign up for that.
Now this episode is brought to you by Aurion Media which helps entrepreneurs and business leaders set up and run their own successful podcast. You know what? I have found running my own podcast to be insanely rewarding. It opens doors to amazing people like nothing I have seen. I have built networks, made friends, had a platform to champion my customers, my team, and my suppliers.
The list of positives just keeps growing and I think just about every entrepreneur or business leader should have their own podcast just because of the huge implication it's had on mine. Now, of course, this sounds great in theory, but in reality there's the whole problem of setup, distribution, strategy, marketing, the list goes on.
You see, I love talking to people. I genuinely do. It's great. Uh, but I'm not a big fan of all the other stuff, so Aurion media. They kind of take all of that off my plate. I get to do what I'm good at, and they brilliantly take care of the rest. So if you're wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them at aurionmedia.com.
That's A U R I O N media.com, and we will of course have a link to them on the website as well. Now that is today's show sponsor. So let's talk about today's guest, Esther Gokhale who is a pioneer in posture education and pain relief. Esther transformed her own experience with crippling back pain into the Gokhale method, a unique system that restores your body's primal posture to eliminate pain and enhance strength.
Growing up in India, her journey started with helping her nurse, uh, mother care for abandoned babies leading her to study biochemistry at the prestigious institution like Harvard and Princeton, and later acupuncture in San Francisco. The turning point came for Esther, uh, when she suffered from severe back pain during her first pregnancy. After a very unsuccessful surgery
she dedicated her life to finding a solution to back pain, which sounds like a very noble pursuit. Uh, as I'm sure we can all attest to. Her pursuits have taken her across the globe from the streets of Paris to the communities of Brazil and India, and now we have the Gokhale Method. She has a bestselling book, Eight Steps to a Pain-Free Back, which has sold over 30,000, uh, or has reached over 30,000, uh, 300,000.
Get your numbers right Matt. Uh, readers worldwide. Uh, she's shared her wisdom on stages like TEDx, and she is known as the Posture Guru of Silicon Valley, which sounds like a pretty fancy title to me. Esther, this is an amazing bio. It's great to have you on the show. Thanks for joining us. How are you doing today?
Esther: I'm doing wonderfully. Thank you.
Matt: Oh, good, good. It's great that you are here Now, are you still in San Francisco? Is that where you are hailing from today?
Esther: I'm in Palo Alto closer to the Silicon Valley like.
Matt: Yeah, yeah. Closer to the Apple hq. As far as I know, that's how I do my geography of, uh, is, is where all the big tech companies are. Um, but, uh, it's great. I mean, that's a, that's a fascinating journey, isn't it?
And, um, we're gonna get into all of that. But Esther, let me start with my, my favorite question that I love to ask guests. This show, as you know, is sponsored by Aurion Media, which specializes in helping people set up and host their own podcast. If you had your own podcast and you could have any guest on the show past or present that's had a big influence on your life, who would you have on the show? Who would you like to interview and why?
Esther: There's a, a flamenco dancer called Carmen Amaya. She died when she was 50. She was an amazing example of healthy posture and having and technical skill to an exalted degree.
Esther: And she had a, a, a disease that would ordinarily have killed her decades earlier, but cause of her form and her persistence and her activity level, she managed to keep that kidney disease at bay until, um, it caught up with her at age 50 and then she died.
But, you know, she was a, she lived the gypsy lifestyle, the real gypsy lifestyle. She was dedicated to her art. She, um, developed skills that are just unbelievable. And I'm just very curious about how her life would've been and how much she was aware of her form. How much just came through the tradition that she was raised in.
Um, and I'd love, I mean, I'm curious about everything about her. She's just so special. So would interview,
Matt: So a flamenco dancer, um, is, is, it's not the usual answer, Esther. I'm not gonna lie. It's quite So why a flamenco dancer? Is this some, is this, is it just purely because of her posturing your work with posture? Or do you do this kind of dancing yourself? Is there a passion there and, and what's the link?
Esther: So I have discovered dance to be the best possible way to revisit posture. You know on ticks. There's a first pass at learning how to do everyday life activities. Sitting, standing, bending, lifting, walking, lying in improved ways, and then you need to revisit those principles. You need to keep in mind how to keep.
The back elongated how to, uh, have the feet shaped, just so how to externally rotate the legs, how to have the pelvis, anteverted, and there are only so many sitting lessons or standing lessons I would wanna subject anybody too. So we look for more interesting ways that will do the job of working as reminders and integrating the principles into one's body, but then provide other benefits and keep it entertaining so that you know, so you, you learn dance, you, it's happy making, uh, you connect with other people.
We have daily dance parties in our company. Fine. Um, and it's formed community, it's joyful. So, you know, I think dance is just a very, very special way that we happen to use as a reminder system to l revisit all these techniques that we teach people that help them be out of pain. So it's entertaining, it's educational, it deepens and.
So that's one reason I choose Carmen,
Esther: who was an amazing dancer, but also the, the particular method that we use is based on observation of people in indigenous cultures, people who live close to the ground, people who have traditions intact that have kept this kinesthetic wisdom from olden times. In place, you know, things get handed down.
The way the grandfather bends in the field, the way grandmother holds baby, um, influences the following generations, and that's how this kinesthetic wisdom that gets passed down, she was very much part of such a tradition. So that's an additional reason and it's a particularly interesting tradition, the gypsy tradition and how they live life, what, who they hold dear.
Um, what influences them, you know, that. Gypsies originally came from my nick of the woods on the planet. They came from Rajasthan in India from the desert. My dad is Indian and I grew up in India. So looking for links with that very ancient cultures also of interest to me. So we have lost the number
Matt: fascinating. So the, you, you look at indigenous, uh, cultures around the world and you are curious about how they do things and what's been passed down for generations of people. I'm assuming then, uh, Esther, just on that statement, and correct me if I'm wrong, that, that maybe in the West we have lost that kinesthetic ideal, which you talked about, which is why you have to go to these indigenous cultures.
Is that a fair comment?
Esther: That's very fair comment. And it's reflected in extremely high rates of back pain, uh, knee arthritis, foot problems, musculoskeletal problems, and also other kinds of problems. But we have an 85% incidence of back pain in the modern west,
Esther: and that's. Vastly more than it used to be.
Esther: It's vastly more than it is in some cultures that are getting harder and harder to locate, you know, that are being swept up into the modern, uh, way of doing things.
Um, so yes, it's a very fair comment. They have traditions intact in some parts of the world that are in common with what our ancestors experienced. And you can also observe these. Ways of conducting the body in very young children.
Esther: you know before they become acculturated.
Matt: Acculturated is great word. Yeah. So the. I guess everyone listening to this podcast, I, I'm not saying everyone, I'm gonna make some sweeping generalizations here, so forgive me dear listener, if, if, um, if I'm making some stereotypes, but I'm gonna assume that most of us are involved in some kind of business leadership, entrepreneurship, uh, just from knowing the audience.
And in my head, that means we sit down a lot, uh, at a desk, at a computer. So, I dunno if you can actually tell us, but what kind of things would we be doing wrong? Uh, as we sit down at the office? Cuz you know, we, we, we all buy the expensive chairs with the lumbar support, but I figure that's not enough.
Esther: It's not only not enough, it's actually counterproductive. So,
Matt: Right? I'm just gonna throw this chair away. Excuse me.
Esther: You may just one, you may just join a very large gang of people who park their fancy ergonomic chairs and somewhere in the back corner of their office and switch them out for something much more sound. So all the modern ergonomic chairs are based on a paradigm that describes the human spine as being s-shaped.
And that lumbar support then is designed to support or create a lumbar curve all through the lumbar spine. Now, if you go back in time, About a hundred years or more, and you look at old anatomy books, then you're gonna see a very differently shaped spine. I've coined the phrase J spine. So J shaped as opposed to S-shaped, has much more curvature where the bottom meets the back and much less curvature, almost no curvature in the upper lumbar area.
I claim that that J shaped spine makes a lot more sense. Honors the discs, the cylindrical discs in the lumbar area with the cylindrical holm. and vertebral disk space to fit properly into it honors the vertebrae by lining them up and providing pressure to the body of the bones, which prevents osteoporosis rather than jamming the edges together in exaggerated curves, which to lent towards arthritic changes, you know, so people end up with stenosis and hypertrophic liping and all kinds of arthritic changes in their.
Spines by the time they're 50 and degeneration in the discs. And it's so common that we have taken to just calling it normal,
Esther: but that's not really fair. If we go back in time, we can see that our genetic heritage is perfectly adequate and that we could be, um, differently stacked. And it showing much higher level of spinal health.
And then we wouldn't be tempted into dealing with all this plethora of problems that we don't know how to deal with by calling them normal and just, you know, throwing in an bill or two. Um, yeah, this whole business about sitting being so bad for us is another thing I challenge. You know, there have been studies done on indigenous people the Hadza people in. East Africa in particular
Esther: that show from using sensors on their body that they sit as much as we do an average of nine hours a day. But they sit differently than we do,
Esther: and they don't have the problems we have. And I claim that it's their, the shape of their spine, um, that they conserve. Through their sitting.
Now their sitting is different. You know, every culture has different ways of, of sitting, bending, squatting, so on, but in they don't have problems we do in great abundance. I don't think we need to buy into this notion that it's just natural and that we blame sitting now in our culture. If you don't sit, you probably have to earn your living doing something very active, manual labor or so.
And it turns out the manual laborers have a much higher incidence of back pain than sedentary people. So it's really not fair to blame sitting, you know, sounds kind of like a nice sticky sound bite to say sitting is the new smoking, but
Matt: to have
Matt: guy. So how, how should a, how should one sit then?
Esther: So we like to start people out by teaching the technique of stretch sitting, where you're literally in traction as you lengthen your back and hook your back to a back rest. And usually you need to modify the back rest a little bit. We have a little cushion, stretchy cushion has little sticky nubs sewn into it so that you can easily hook your skin, or your shirt can hook to those sticky nubs, and now your body from that point down is in traction.
Esther: That's very, very handy. You know, it's gentle traction. It's potentially hours of traction because we do a lot of sitting and that can have a very wonderful reset effect on the muscles of the back. It can ease the vertebrae apart and allow the discs to rehydrate. It creates enough room for the nerves to exit between the pairs of vertebrae.
So it's just an easy, low hanging juicy fruit that you all wanna pick. You know, just transform your back rest into something that can boost you and give you a little bit more length instead of just blaming sitting and calling it the new smoking and whatever. Yeah.
Matt: Well, no, I like that. I'm not gonna get me one of those cuz I sit a lot and so, um, uh, yeah. Anything I can do to help my back. I remember years ago I. I say years ago, it must have been 10, 15 years ago. Um, I was having quite a lot of back pain and I, I don't know how I came across it. I came across, um, an article on the web talking about inversion tables and so I, I bought one of those and I used it for like, I wanna say 30 days.
It wasn't a long time and I've never had the problems that I had at that point since. And I, I dunno, I, it's that traction I guess, that you're talking about.
Esther: So traction is totally the right idea. And if you had some events, some acute event that made the muscle spasm or so, then maybe an inversion table would reset that and you'd be in good shape. For most people, it's much more, the problem is deeper. They have systematically been arching their back often in the effort to sit up straight or stand up straight, and they thrust up the chest and contract the back, and that's what causes compression in the discs and the nerves and so on.
So just spending 30 days on a inversion table isn't going to. Turn that around. So we like to teach people a much easier, simpler, less expensive, less intrusive way of getting traction. Traction is the right idea to begin one's journey back to a healthy, uh, natural back. But, An inversion table. How long can, can more, you know, like 10, 15 minutes.
And then what? For most people, that's not going to be enough. So it's the right idea, wrong extent. You want hours of traction and you'd like it to be gentle. You'd like it to be in the background, you'd like to get it without taking time out of your life, and there are two low hanging juicy fruit for that.
That is the you're Sitting the time spent lying down at night. You can harness time to get traction if you know the right tips.
Matt: Oh, Oh fantastic. Fantastic. Well, I said I'm getting very excited. Uh, and um, I mean, we said in the bio that this whole thing started for you, um, because of pain from your first pregnancy. Is that right?
Esther: That's correct. It was in the ninth month of pregnancy that I started having sciatic pain down my left leg. It. It quickly became unbearable. You know, I was originally told that, oh, maybe the baby is sitting on the nerve nerves, and after the delivery it'll be better. It wasn't. It got worse and worse, and I was trying all the usual conservative and alternative things, and it just could continued getting worse.
And around a year after my baby's birth, I ended up getting surgery very reluctantly because I. Uh, I was only in my mid twenties and it was a bit of a shock to my system that I would, you know, have, have such a serious problem, but nothing was working. I wasn't able to sleep at night because of the pain.
I didn't wanna take meds because I was nursing my baby, but I was trying all the usual physical therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, stretching. Strengthening, et cetera, and just not getting anywhere. And the surgery helped. But a year after I had the same disc, L5-S1 re-herniate, and now they wanted to offer me another surgery.
So as far as I was concerned, surgery had failed. And multiple back surgeries in your mid twenties isn't, doesn't bode well for the later part of your life. So it was, it was a very big shock to my system and I was casting an ever wider net. Nd, um, the, the things that made most b most sense to me were things that work on your own structure rather than looking for yet another bandaid fix.
Esther: It's, uh, and, and I was very influenced by my childhood. My mother would always point out to the sweeper, to the fruit sellers, to the villagers in India where I was raised. Um, and remark on how amazing their bodies were, how they could squat and do, uh, carry enormous loads and have no physical discomfort.
And she, as a Dutch person, was very struck by that and passed on those observations to her children. And so when I got in trouble with my back, The things that resonated for me were things that similarly observed people who don't have problems with their back, have pain. What are they doing differently?
How can I copy those things? And could I enjoy the same high level of function and lack of pain? And that avenue made sense. I pursued that, um, with quite some motivation. I was my own Guinea pig. And then, That was very fruitful. And the thing that I've worked on for the last several dec decades is how to make that process more efficient, more effective, more sustainable.
How do you, you know, like most people are not willing to spend years, um, observing and sort of kinesthetically trying to, I imitate. So we've discovered ways that are incredibly rapid. Um, using images, using technology, using the intellect, using um, arguments, uh, and hands-on. And, you know, it's, it's, it's a whole methodology that is really a treat to be able to pass on to people.
Esther: You know, more than half or students will use the word life changing spontaneously, um, on about what they learned in a weekend or so it's very cool.
Matt: I imagine it is, especially if you're dealing with chronic back pain, which I imagine quite a lot of people are.
Esther: A lot of people are, and they've even given up looking for solutions because they've tried so many things and maybe they helped a little bit for a while, helped at the margins. So there are a lot of people in the woodwork that haven't, aren't even actively looking anymore because they've hoped and have their.
Hopes dashed. And that rollercoaster of being hopeful and then having your hopes dashed is very emotionally costly. So people have kind of given up and we are being told that it's normal to have some degree of back pain. It's normal to have degenerated discs. It's normal to have arthritic changes in the spine.
So people have kind of adjusted down, you know, their expectations are very low. So one of our challenges in the. In the, in our company with all our teachers around the world is to encourage people to hope. To dare to hope.
Matt: Yeah. They had a dream right?
Matt: So the, so this method then, um, this company that you've built up, um, sort of testing, refining, teaching, testing, refining teaching, you know, the, the, the, the, the techniques that you have to help people, um, with their backs.
Esther: Inventing. Inventing, inventing, as well. You know, always looking for new ways. We use, we use sensors and wearables to help people know what's going on in their back to learn faster. You know, we're just constantly innovating.
Matt: Yeah, keep pushing the boundaries. How have you, I mean, how's your business journey been? I mean, you know, uh, is it, um, Is it like your posture good or has it, you know, gone through a few s curves, if I can put it that way? How have you found it being both, um, uh, you know, a mum with back pain, trying to solve her own problem, but also trying to build a company, uh, at the same time, which teaches us to, to the world.
Esther: Yeah, it's, you know, I had no background in business whatsoever, and I was fortunate to be able to build it organically. You know, I had, um, I have never had to borrow. Um, and I've just the, the pace of innovation. Has kept it slow. Like, you know, it, it's a very iterative process. What order do you introduce things in?
Like what images work? What metaphors work, uh, what technology, what email reminder need to be sent out? You know, what kind of reminder program, are people gonna be, uh, attracted to that? Does the job of keeping these techniques on their radar rather than fading away. Um, so it's been a constant search and these little puzzles take time to solve, and I've been able to get enough revenue in the door to keep afloat.
So we keep, um, raising the, the visibility, raising the number of employees that work in the company as we, uh, figure out more things along the way. We've developed, uh, less than a dozen products. It's never been a very product, uh, heavy company, and I've had the luxury of not needing. Uh, to be profit driven.
So we've been able to be quite conscientious about, uh, just putting efforts into what works and, you know, we've, we've never had a. A marketing professional, the total like six months is well, we've, and you know, that's a missing piece in the company. We've put it all into better ways to learn and we've had luxury of being able to do that.
Um, somewhere along the way we've attracted the chief of physical medicine and rehab of a major teaching university and this month we're actually beginning with a randomized control trial comparing the Gokhale method with physical therapy for effectiveness.
Matt: Oh wow.
Esther: Very exciting. Yeah, we managed raise 350,000 in donations so that the study could happen. That was just me pulling up past students and a lot of them wanted to see the kind of benefits that they'd experienced extended further to other people. So very organic, very fortunate, and it's just flowed like that.
Matt: Well, that's an amazing testimony where you've got. This opportunity to do a trial, you know, with a, with a, with a large university and go and kind of go, right, we need some funds for that. Uh, and you just call up some past students and they go, yeah, we're gonna throw some money into this because it's so good.
They've obviously, they've experienced it as transformed them, but they, more importantly, it sounds like they are still experiencing. The benefits of what you've taught them. Right. So this is, it sounds to me like, um, it's not a flesh in the pan kind of a thing or something you have to keep coming back to, uh, have I got that right?
Esther: You, you know, it's a root. Solution, root cause approach. We're getting what I believe is the root cause of most back pain, which is that people don't have good alignment. And then once they understand that and they implement it, and then the pain doesn't come back. So yeah. Um. People are very, very, like, yeah, they find it transformative.
They find it life changing. It truly is. You know, it's so,
Matt: So how do you feel then, Esther? I mean, you, you've got this business, you are reaching, um, people, people are being very generous with their funds, so you can do some more trials. Um, you, you've got people saying to you things like you use a phrase, life-changing, but how does that make you feel? Cuz you strike me as quite a humble person who wouldn't, um, who, who is not necessarily self-seeking in any way.
And so, When you hear comments like that, I'm just kind of curious what's your response to that?
Esther: Well, to tell you the truth, it creates a little bit of impatience because I think this, this approach needs to be. Mainstream, it needs to be much more widespread. You know, we've, yeah, we've sold 300,000 copies of the book. I'm supposed to be happy with that, but I know how many hundreds of millions of people are suffering with this problem.
So it's just very tiny percentage of people who need it. And so, uh, we had, we have an easier time getting donations than we have reaching new people. It's like once people have experienced our work, they're really, really keen and people will often say, oh, I wish I had known about this 10 years earlier.
But to reach entirely new people takes a set of skills, you know, that we haven't really mastered. So, um, maybe one day we will.
Matt: Let's put that next on the list of, you know, things to solve, uh, next on the list. So it strikes me that, um, you see I sell, um, Esther, one of the products I sell. I have it in front of. Of me, uh, is, uh, omega three. So this is one of the supplements we sell on our site You can't see that cause the camera's not focusing.
There we go. So this is, um, omega three. So an Omega3 capsule that is vegan certified. There are all kinds of great stories behind this product. The thing about this product, Esther, is. If somebody wants to buy Omega three, the chances are they're gonna take the product and they're gonna wanna buy it again and again, and again and again.
So we have, um, this business model where a significant portion of our turnover is repeat sales.
Matt: I know the lifetime value of my customer, for example, is way more than the, the, the value of the first order because they just, you know, if you make a good product, they keep coming back. How have you, how, how have you navigated that?
Because if this is, you come to us, you fix the problem, and at the same time your, your problem is finding new people. I, I'm like, how have you navigated that problem? Because when, when I put those two things together, it, it sounds to me like it's not that straightforward.
Esther: Yeah, you're, you've, you've hit the nail on the head. We actually solved the problem and so, you know, repeat customers aren't to be had really. Now there is one thing that works in our favor, which is that people do need reminders, and we finally figured out an offering. To provide them these reminders and it's a subscription and they pay less than a dollar a day and they get like 17 live classes a week.
It's kind of unheard of. It's a crazy good value. Um, but it, that is the only part of our business that has repeat, uh, customers. The original courses people usually take once, although it. Would be good for them to take even the basic courses in more than one format. Maybe twice or thrice But then that's it, you know?
So it is the challenge. Now, on the flip side, back pain is the number one cause of global disability. There is more shortage of people with back pain, you know?
Matt: That's very true.
Esther: So that's, if we could get the word out enough, we should flood it. You know, when my daughter first went to med school and she had been a teacher for us, and, um, she was in the segment about physical medicine and rehab and she called me, she said, mom, people should be banging down your door.
Um, because she was familiar with the sophistication with which approached the Problem. And then by comparison, there really isn't very much in the toolkit of conservative medicine or alternative medicine that actually works.
Matt: Yeah. Yeah. Wow.
Esther: So, yeah, so you know, we need to get the word out, but there are plenty of people who need this.
Esther: we, so far we've kept afloat. And whatever excess revenue we earn, we've put into things like developing wearables to help people learn still better. We're not very good at monetizing things and doing all the business part around the but. Good enough, we stay afloat. So we're still here through covid, through all kinds of curve balls and, um, hey, that, that, that's an index of, you know,
Matt: Yeah. Yeah.
Esther: no marketing gumption, but still afloat.
Matt: Which is always a good testimony, I think, uh, especially as your company's growing as well organically, uh, which sometimes is a nicer way to do it, I think. So what does, um, what does the future look like for you guys? What does more look like? I mean, you've talked about this trial. Uh, is there anything else on the horizon or are you just focusing on that?
Esther: No, that actually is a very big deal for us because we expect to be written up extensively. This is, you know, the top universities in the world. So, um, to have someone who's the chief of this specialty, uh, be interested enough to do, to be the principal investigator, so, Is already unusual. You know, it's not every day that some alternative method out, out of the mainstream gets that kind of
Um, so that's a big deal. The other thing is we have discovered other areas of benefit. You know, we started with back pain working the root of back pain, but posture turns out to be extremely. Important for mental health as well. There's an increasing amount of research coming out showing that it is harder to be depressed, it's harder to be anxious with.
Open upper body posture. We've done FMRI studies and the, uh, flash anxiety provoking images on a screen, and depending on your posture, it's easier or harder to be triggered. Yeah, your brain. It really is, and it makes sense that there would be a posture mental health connection if we look at animals.
You know, you know the way you know how an animal is feeling is through its posture. So why wouldn't we as human animals have that same connection? And so there's, we are starting to explore, we've just created a course, it's actually gonna be called Empowerment of Women Through Posture, um, where we are able to teach basic posture principles, not to get rid of back pain, but to shore up your inner leader, to shore up your, uh, Your best self. Yeah. Confident, relaxed, self through posture.
Matt: Fantastic. Yeah, there's that virtuous cycle isn't there, between, um, I remember writing it down on a piece of paper once. I just remember writing the word smile and drawing an arrow to the word saying, feel happy. And then an arrow back, feel happy, you smile and what kickstarts it? Do you feel happy and then smile, or do you smile and start to cause yourself to feel a little bit happier?
Esther: There. That was an early piece of research too, where they actually stuck a pencil between people's teeth, forced the grimace, and then demonstrating that that elevates mood. Very cool. It turns out that we as humans are a little. Uncertain about how we feel. We're not very sure about how we feel, and we scan our bodies and faces for clues about how we are feeling.
And if you discover that your mouth is in the shape of a smile, your brain concludes that you are happy and that in turn, Creates happiness and it's also true for body postures. So we are using that. You know, there is early work about higher testosterone levels and lower cortisone levels with open arm posture and such, but this could be much more granular and we have long experience working with how to affect.
Posture changes. We've used it for back pain, and we've seen that it works for neck pain and foot problems and all kinds of musculoskeletal things. But along the way, we've also noticed that students have been telling us they feel more confident, they feel energetic They are just generally more vibrant in their lives.
So, so now we are starting to collect that observation and use similar techniques to help in this emotional health direction. It's very exciting.
Matt: Wow. Yeah, it sounds fascinating. Sounds fascinating, right. Esther? Listen, a slight change of text and we're gonna do the question box now. this is the random question that, uh, everybody when they come on the show, they dread for some reason. I dunno why. I find I find it quite exciting. Uh, yeah. I, I think it's just really funny.
So you are gonna tell me when to stop, uh, as I flick through the cards. Wherever we stop. That's the question we're gonna ask. That's the only rule. Here we go.
Esther: Yes. That's the one I want right
Matt: one there.
Esther: Yep, that's exactly the.
Matt: If, uh, let me read the question. Let me just get my head around. This is a long question. Oh, okay. Okay. So if you were in a city and had to choose between a good meal and a bad hotel, or a bad meal and a good hotel, which would you prefer?
Esther: Definitely the good meal. No, it's, they're modular. The co, the, the bad hotel doesn't have cockroaches and so on. But that's the way I always travel. I travel all over the world and I always travel modestly with rooms and totally splurge on food.
Matt: food that's really funny. Uh, you see my response to that question is, why can't I have a good meal and a good hotel?
Esther: I have good hotel. There we go. But
Matt: I just, I, I struggle with questions like that. What do you mean I can't have both? Uh, I want my cake and I want to eat it. Why can't I? What's wrong with you people? Uh,
Esther: I figure if this is a destination I'm interested in, I'm gonna spend extremely little time at that hotel. I'm going out and about. Eating those delicious meals among other things, so,
Matt: Yeah, I'm with you. I, I travel a lot and I, I, I, I've been in five star hotels and yes, they're nice, but it's, it's neither here nor there. I'm quite happy to spend the night in, you know, a Holiday Inn as long as the bed's clean. Because you're gonna go in there, you're gonna go to sleep, right?
Is it a clean bed with a nice pillow? Yes or no? That's all I need. And in fact, there was a chain of hotels in England that did really well, called the Premiere Inn on the basis of that, we're gonna be cheap, but we're gonna be clean and you're gonna get a good night's sleep, but there's no fancy nonsense.
And you're like, I don't need that. And they do really, really well. And so I'm with you. I'm like, yeah, as long as I've got a clean bed, I'm, I'm happy. I'm a happy man.
Esther: Yeah, the bathrooms are important too.
Matt: Yeah. Even that, as long as long as there's a shower, I'm okay. As long as there's a base level of hygiene, I'm okay. Uh, but yeah, it's a,
Esther: traveling in, in, uh, places like, uh, village, India and, uh, Thailand and Africa and Ecuador. So, you know, cleanliness in the bathrooms isn't a given, so,
Matt: It's very true. Very true. What's the best place you visited on, on Earth? If you, if you were just like, if there was one, only one place that you could go back to again, where would it be?
Esther: Oh wow. I would like to go back to Burkina Faso in, it used to be called Upper Volta. It's right under the Sahara Inland West Africa, and that was just a eye-opening experience for me. You know, people have very, very little. And it makes the bonds between people all the more important they don't have private property to, to protect and to create a lot of social layers around protecting so people can be very open.
Uh, there's nothing to lose. And that was very, very profound for me.
Matt: Yeah, it's, um, Burkina Faso's a beautiful part of the world. My friend, uh, very good friend of mine does some charity work over there, and every year he goes over and, and, and builds stuff over there, which is great. And in fact, tonight, um, I was having dinner, uh, with a friend of mine from the drc, from the Congo. And we've, uh, we've been working, not we personally. I mean, you know, he, um, in that area of the Congo where he, his is, is is built a hospital. Uh, you know, and they've got thousands of amazing stories and you just kind of think, and he was, he was saying to me, he said, you know what? He said, whenever you go and buy a coffee, Uh, from Starbucks and it's five bucks.
He said, feed a family for weeks. And, you know, it puts some kind of context in the, the amount of money we spend on trivial things. People might argue coffee is not trivial. Uh, but Do, you know what I mean. It's, it's really interesting, isn't it? When you, when you do go to places like this in the world and you see. What actually to me seems not a lawful lot, goes an incredibly long way and, and does some incredible things.
Esther: Yeah, your friend is very brave. That's an area where there's a lot of strife. Yeah. I hesitate.
Matt: 20 year war. Yeah.
Esther: Burkina Faso right now cuz of that, it's become much more dangerous. But DRC is even more so. It's like a lot of these places are very difficult to visit now.
Matt: Yeah. Yeah, they are. And trying to get charity and aid into them is not always straightforward, but we seem to be doing okay. And, um, yeah. I, I just love the Bones of this guy, he's been, he's been staying at my house for the last 10 days as he is been, uh, we brought him over to the UK. And yeah, just what a legend he is.
And so, uh, I was just intrigued when you said Burkina Faso and the work that was going on over there. I'm like, yeah, I totally get what you're saying. I totally get what you're saying. Esther, listen, this has been a fascinating conversation. One which I've thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed.
Matt: If I want to find out more about the course, the wearables, the tech. If I'm sitting here in my chair going, I think I need to sort my alignment and posture out, uh, how do I get hold of you? What's the best place for me to start?
Esther: The best place by far is our website and it has a difficult spelling Gokhale method. You've got it there, um, on your webcast, but it's spelled G O K H A L E method.com, and that's where we have free workshops for online, for the public. We have all our teachers around the world offer free workshops in their localities.
That's the best place to find it all.
Matt: Fantastic, the gokhalemethod.com. We will of course link to that in the show notes. Gokhale pronounced spelt Gok Hale. Uh, as we would say in the here in Liverpool. Um, and so, yeah. Fantastic. Uh, so do jump on that. Like I said, we'll link to that in the show notes as well. So, uh, Esther, listen, thank you so much for coming on.
It has been a real blast. I, I feel like I've learned a lot, uh, and I'm, I'm inspired by your story and what you've been through, what you are going through. To try and get this, uh, method out there to help people with, with, uh, like me that sit in very awkward positions. Uh, but it's been, it's been a real honor.
Esther: Thanks, Matt. Thank you so much.
Matt: So what a fantastic conversation. That was huge. Thanks again to Esther for joining me today and also a big shout out to today's show sponsor Aurion Media. If you are wondering if podcasting is a good marketing strategy for your business, do connect with them aurionmedia.com. That's A UR I O N media.com. And along with Esther's link, we will also link to them on the website as well. And if you're not sure, just head to pushtobemore.com. Everything will be on there. Now, be sure to follow the Push to be more podcasts wherever you get your podcast from because we've got some more great conversations lined up and I don't want you to miss any of them.
And in case no one has told you yet today, you are awesome. Yes, you are absolutely awesome. Created awesome. It's just a burden you have to bear. Esther has to bear it. I've gotta bear it, and you have got to bear it as well. Now, Push to Be More is produced by Aurion Media. You can find our entire archive of episodes on your favorite podcast app.
The team that makes this show possible is Sadaf Beynon, Estella Robin and Tanya Hutsuliak. Our theme music was written by Josh Edmundson, and as I mentioned, The show notes, the transcript, everything, the links, they're all on the website pushtobemore.com, where coincidentally, you can also sign up for the free newsletter
Now that's it from me. That's it from Esther. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a fantastic week wherever you are in the world. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.