Calf Standing

Stand about one foot from a sturdy piece of furniture, with bare feet about shoulder width apart and parallel. Bend knees several inches. Then lightly touching the furniture with one or two hands only for balance, lift up onto the toes. If possible be only on the toes and the far end of the balls of the feet with the heels as hard as possible. Keep weight on the legs, the arms are only for balance. Try to maintain the position until the legs are shaking and perhaps a light burn is felt in the calf. Then stand up and sense, from the inside, how the feet feel against the ground.

Rationale: The tendon guarding reflex (TGR) affects most of the large extensor muscles in the body. It is a protective reflex stimulated by the sense of danger. If chronically activated from an early age it tends to shorten the calf muscles among others. This can keep the heels off the ground when walking, although in adults two postural distortions tend to develop which allow the heels to approximately touch the ground 1)walking with 'splayed, everted feet, and 2) hyperextended locked knees that allow the lower legs to angle back.

This exercise, like many Lowenian ones, works by over-powering, in this case, the calf muscles (gastrocnemius and soleus). Standing on the toes exaggerates the TGR, and the bent knees also works the calf muscles. When the position is ended, the calf muscles reflexively relax and the heels sink more deeply into the ground. This exercise works well together with gentle calf stretching. It also helps loosen tight feet.

Source: Traditional in Lowen Bioenergetics