A book gathering dust in our library has answered many questions for me, and the approach is full common sense that should appeal to just about anyone – especially those who aren’t committed athletes.
This book was written pre-internet, so when I did a search to see if she was still around, I was delighted to find out that Callan Pinckney, author of Callanetics for Your Back continued to become incredibly successful with her mission – how did I miss that?!
Not everyone has a perfect back, and Callan certainly didn’t – from birth. I related to that and her approach, adapting everything for people with structural issues. Having curvatures, uneven legs or a sway back can prevent being able to do workouts that appear to be easy for everyone else.
She goes through poses and exercises that can potentially injure anyone, particularly in the neck. She points out the obvious problems with shoe designs for women’s shoes and back problems, and the need for orthotics for many many people (she says to look at your feet – callouses and bunions are the body’s way to protect itself from imbalance and a good indicator of the need for orthotics).
Callan’s exercise, the “Pelvic Wave” is important to unlock the body, and a easy to do at home. The loosening effect can be felt in the entire back, hips and legs, and helps posture, balance and alignment for anyone, and a big relief for those who are swaybacked, round-shouldered, etc.
Being born with club feet and spending her early years in braces, gives Callan a unique perspective on the body. From steel braces, she had years of ballet, but subsequent years of backpacking through many countries ruined the body she’d tried to fix. She came home a wreck from 11 years of walking with a backpack and had to find a way to get well. We’re fortunate she’s shared what she learned!
I love the “Stay Away from These” chapter, giving reasons that the following exercises are usually counter-productive:
- toe-touching while standing
- toe-touching while sitting
- the Hurdler’s stretch
- deep-knee bends from more than six inches
- front thigh stretch
- sity-ups with straight legs, double leg raises, and the swan
- shoulder stands
- neck rolls
- push-ups (too much pressure on the lower back)
- waist circles (stress to the discs, muscles, and ligaments in the lower back)
- waist bends (no support for the lower back)
- leg lifts
- leg thrusts
- pelvic push-up
You’ve probably just read every exercise you know! I’d encourage you to find her book, and look into her DVDs and material – and there might even be a class near you (lucky you!) as there are people trained to teach her approach.
I find that this is a perfect complement to my Tai Chi exercises. I was thinking of going back to hot yoga as well, but I had that funny feeling that there were parts of it that weren’t helpful for me.
I’m as surprised as can be that I’ve missed Callanetics, I’m happy that I decided to clean out my library and found her waiting for me there.
I’d love to hear from anyone who has used her method – please share your results. Just remember that your body still needs great nourishment while you do these exercises to change your shape and help your mobility: www.betterhealth-fast.com for our great supplements for energy and endurance.