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The Basics of the McCall Method

 

The McCall Method focuses on the most basic and overlooked parts of movement. The foundation of ALL movements. Take a moment to look at what makes something work. It depends on its foundation; the underlying base or support defines the quality of what is built upon the foundation.

Language has phonics.

Music has scales.

Houses literally have foundations on which they are built.  So why is it that when it comes to movement, we are so poor at doing the most basics things like picking up a box? Why do we fear low back pain? If you don’t have a good foundation it makes sense. Strong backs don’t come from being at the gym pushing weights around. They develop from a strong knowledge of how to move….a foundation of body knowledge we have forgotten because of modern conveniences. It’s an experience more than a body of knowledge we have in our head. We think about “how” to move a box not because we have a good feel for it or because we enjoy moving, the way we would in a sport. This is why there are so many different theories and movement therapies about how to have a strong, fit healthy spine. We don’t have a healthy experience of moving well day in and day out so it becomes a guessing game when, in reality, there’s no need to guess.

With these fears and doubts we begin to adopt a mind set and vocabulary that is fear-based.  “Protect your back” is one of the most common beliefs we have adopted. Protect my back from bending and lifting? Really? There are indigenous peoples all over the world who do it with grace and ease. These folks don’t have a gym or a fitness class that keeps them “fit.” They just have manual labor and everyday movements. There is a skill in doing these movements well and we need to regain that skill so when we bend, lift, sit and walk we gain strength, balance, flexibility, comfort and confidence to move and do much more! Once we gain more body “wisdom” our fears fade and we can engage in more activities we love to do, that previously we feared were impossible to do.

The foundational videos you see on this page will bring you back to feeling small subtle parts of bigger movements you do everyday, as well as the building blocks to all the other movements in your life. This package of videos will shift how you do every movement in your life, toward comfort and away from pain.

You will be relearning to Sit Up Right, Bend, Stand, Lie Down and Lift as well as the transitions between these movements.

The videos:

Introduction: Want to be more comfortable doing the most basic stuff in your day? This is where all the movements in your life begin. Right here and now.

Stacking the Bones: Learning to focus on bones and not muscles is a radical way of viewing movement and will free you of tension while creating a simple natural understanding of your movements.

Dividing Your Body Into Three Distinct Sections: This will give you an understanding of how the body stacks and moves so when you are making corrections in your posture you can address the changes with greater ease by focusing in each section.

Floor Movements 1 and 2: Here is where you are going to start to “undo” and “redo” the feeling of how your hips and spine are connected. When doing the floor movements you may have no idea how in the world these subtle moves have anything to do with bending or carrying a box but you need to know each joint in the body has a job to do and when it’s not doing that job it begins to change how the whole structure works. You may not realize that until you have pain or can’t pick up your cat because you feel too stiff. But it’s more than a stretch for that stiff back you need. It’s the connection of all the joints working together that creates the movements we all take for granted and the floor movements help you get that back.

Using a Plumb Line to Guide Your Body Into Alignment: It’s nice when you can add a visual to this game of changing you movement patterns. You will find that what is more natural at first will feel really “odd” and “wrong” until your body shifts more into balance. So use this tool to help guide you to a new feel.

Three Principles Used Throughout The McCall Method: You are learning a language in a sense of how to move with ease. So keep in mind these principles and it will make a huge impact on the speed of your progress. We are used to thinking “hold,” “create tension,” and “work hard.” But the body will push back if you use these principles. It’s not that you won’t feel work or stretch or some tension at times, but that will not be the way you direct yourself with the movements.

Where and What is the Natural Arch of the Spine? This is key to understanding and feeling how to bend correctly.  And once you can feel this arch and know what is happening with your spine you will relax because you will no longer wonder “am I moving right?” You will be able to check it with your hand and feel if the move is right or not. Also a nice added side effect is your shoulders and wrists which are often tight and a big part of postural pain become more flexible because you are constantly having to check your arch by placing your finger tips on your spine. This opens the chest and relaxes the shoulders.

Sitting Upright Right: Here I use a model to help you watch me guide her into sitting and how to land and be comfortable in this position. This takes time to get the feel and comfort of this movement. Most folks are used to straining to sit up right and this will be a strange concept that relaxing can be a reality. It’s the stacking of the bones in sitting that creates the stability. In the early stages you may get tired when sitting like this because parts of your spine (usually around the shoulders/neck and head) are not going to move into alignment as quickly as the hips and low spine. There will be a transitional time in getting the whole spine and head to sit comfortably. That is why the Floor Movements are so important to aid in this shift of the head, spine, legs and pelvis to a more stacked position.

Bending To Lift and Butt Up The Wall: Here is the biggest movement and the most important movement you will learn. It affects all your movements. Done well it will give you a really strong back, flexibility in your hamstrings and a confidence in doing so many movements in your life (including sports). It helps with sitting and standing postures because it recruits so many muscle groups that help shift your body more in balance. It makes life easier as well in your day-to-day activities. You will be surprised how much you bend in a day and how it can heal many spine issues plaguing the Western World.

LisaAnn Guides A Client Through Bending and Lifting: This is taking Butt Up The Wall Into Action. Here is where you can see your home becomes a gym and you are getting more from just picking up things around your house than pushing weights around in the gym. (Heaven forbid we actually get something done while strengthening and stretching our body!)

Getting Up and Down Off the Floor Efficiently and Gracefully: This is one of the more popular movements people want to learn as they get older. It’s really a little gymnastic type move that is more about using the levers of your structure than the strength of the body. This can really help get your hips to gain more flexibility and strength, which in turn, help in all the other movements you do in a day.

LisaAnn Demonstrates How to Stand Up Straight and Changes the Way a Client Stands to a More Balanced Posture: This can be the most challenging of all the movements because of the subtleties involved.  It’s best to play with this movement after you have done the Floor Movements and/or Butt Up The Wall. Those movements will help you feel the subtle shifts in the Standing posture and like all of the postures you are working on, will change more and more over time as you get the feel of going in and out of the posture. Think of it as and “anti-aging” movement because the more you “use” it over time your neck, torso and legs all look longer, taller and you just look better!

Preparing To Sleep on Your Side: This is such a great way to hang out as well as sleep. If you want to do nothing and still have your body change to be more relaxed and balanced here is the posture for you. It’s one of my “doing nothing well” postures. The more you hang out this way the better your bones will stack and move.