Keep Calm with Constructive Rest!
I want to conduct an experiment. Can doing nothing for 10-20 minutes a day for 30 days make a difference?
Let me explain. This is a very specific kind of doing nothing. I’m talking about the Alexander Technique practice of Constructive Rest.
In Constructive Rest you consciously remove yourself from all activity, lie on your back with your head supported and knees elevated, and then do nothing…
Actually it may seem like nothing – after all you’re not exercising, you’re not working, you’re not talking – but you are in fact doing something very important for yourself, and you are awake – conscious, aware, thinking – while you do it.
When I first started taking Alexander Technique lessons because of chronic neck pain and tension, my only “homework” was to lie down in Constructive Rest at least once a day. I took this to heart and practiced religiously, and I always felt better for it. It became my life line – something I could do to help myself, even early on, when applying the Alexander Technique in my daily activities seemed for the most part beyond me.
I firmly believe that having a daily Constructive Rest practice can be hugely beneficial to just about anyone. It’s such a simple thing to do, however, it’s easy to dismiss it, but it is truly powerful.
Here are just a few of the benefits of lying down in Constructive Rest every day:
- it helps us improve our posture naturally and without strain
- we get a much-needed “time out” from today’s multi-tasking, ultra-stimulating life-style
- we give our muscles the chance to release unwanted tension
- our breathing becomes naturally calmer and deeper
- our spine gets the chance to decompress
- it’s calming to the nervous system
- mind and the body have time to quiet allowing us to think more clearly
- our digestive system is given the space to release and do its work more efficiently
- our energy and productivity improves during the rest of the day
Starting Friday (February 1, 2013) on my Facebook page I’m running a 30-Day Constructive Rest Challenge. If you’ve never done Constructive Rest before this would be a great time to try it out. You can find lots of information on my Constructive Rest page to help you get started. And if you’ve just got out of the habit of doing it regularly, this could be the incentive you need to get back into a regular practice. Each day I’ll post reminders and resources, such as audios you can listen to while you’re lying down, to inspire you in your practice. It will also be a place where you can ask questions and share your experiences.
So, join my experiment and to try Constructive Rest for 30 days and judge for yourself!
And if you already have a Constructive Rest practice, what difference has it made in your life? I’d love you to share some of the benefits you’ve experienced in the comments below. And of course, I’d love to have you join us too!
Hi Imogen, i will join you! Looking forward to the challenge. I do constructive rest regularly and interested to sense the difference a daily practice may make!
constructive rest DOING is very USEful as you explained.
Normally i make my neck FREE(not compressed) so that i can get stimulate nerves at the neck which makes, the TORSO and HEAD from preventing the bad directions like head back and down and torso shortened(pelvic tuck) and narrow(chest raise) .
as you explained it makes to breath wonderfully which is the goal of the alexander technique.
Sounds like you are benefiting from it quite a bit 🙂
Count me in Imogen! As a modern dancer, I’ve experienced quite a few techniques for body integration, and I’ve always enjoyed Constructive Rest (although probably not as regularly as I should).
I’m excited to reconnect with it.
I was shown this when I went to a person who does Alexander Technique. And when my back would hurt, I would do it and it really helped my back. I haven’t done it in awhile. The one thing I do remember is that when I first laid down, my shoulders would be up and soon they would relax down and be on the floor. That might be a good time to listen to some of my mediations mp3s.
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Julieanne, I think what you experienced with your shoulders is quite common. The trick is not to try and push your shoulders down (which creates tension) – rather be patient, and just let gravity take its course!
And to answer your question, I think that would be a great time to listen to a meditation mp3! I hope you will try it out again!
I think you wrote about this before, Imogen, and I remember at the time thinking about how beneficial it would be. I didn’t do anything with it, however, so I’m really glad you are bringing up this topic now. I’m going to join your challenge–is it ok to listen to a breathing tape while you do it or does that counteract the goal? I’ve just started meditation practice and have assignments with that, and I’m feeling a bit pressured with all this relaxation that’s going to be expected of me! 🙂
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Judy, so glad you are going to join the challenge! I’m sure you will find it beneficial, especially as I was just reading about what you have going on with your deltoid muscles!
How ironic it is that you feel pressured about “all this relaxation that’s going to be expected of me!” But I think listening to your breathing/meditation audios would be a fine thing to do while you lie down in constructive rest. You might find it interesting to mix it up and listen to an Alexander audio once in a while too. I’ll be posting some, including one of my own, on my Facebook page (or you can find it on the Constructive Rest page of this website) during the Challenge. I’m sure you’ll find some similarities and some differences!
I have done this before but not for 10 minutes a day , this would be fun to try . Thanks for launching the challenge!
I think doing it regularly makes all the difference! I hope you enjoy making time for this in your life!
Very interesting experiment.
Is a direction nothing more than a thought process? Is it a thought directed or imagined in the appropriate part of the body?
Am hoping to constructive rest as many days as poss!
Yes, direction is definitely a thought process. It’s really a matter of trusting that sending yourself a clear mental message will have an effect in your body without you having to do anything more about it (i.e. not using your muscles to try an put it into effect).
Hope that helps, and enjoy your days of Constructive Rest!