Last week I was interviewed by Robert Rickover, a fellow teacher of the Alexander Technique who, amongst other things, broadcasts regular interviews in his podcast devoted to all aspects of the Technique. The subject of my interview was the Alexander Technique practice of lying down, known as Constructive Rest.
You can listen to my interview here:
This practice relieves stress – not only the physical stresses in our body, but also our mental stresses. I believe it’s also one of the best things you can do for yourself to improve posture or release tension – even if you have no experience with the Alexander Technique. You can use it to prepare for stressful situations, or, even better, make it a daily practice. And it’s so simple – you just need a few minutes of time.
Now Constructive Rest isn’t just lying down any old how – it’s a thoughtful way of lying down in a semi-supine position (on the back with knees bent, and feet flat on the floor), that promotes good spinal alignment and release of excess tension. For those who practice on a daily basis the benefits accumulate. In fact, the first piece of “homework” I give my students is to practice lying down for a few minutes every day at home.
To try it for yourself simply find a warm, quiet place where you can lie down on the floor undisturbed for a few minutes (10-20 is best, but even a couple of minutes will do you good). The floor is best as the firm surface will support your back – but I’d recommend a carpeted floor or using a yoga mat so it isn’t too hard. Put a few books under your head (not your neck) – enough so your head is not tipping back, but not so many that you are tucking your chin – bend your knees and widen your elbows gently away from you so your hands can rest lightly on your abdomen. During your lie down be aware of the ground supporting your back, allowing your shoulders to rest as your back widens and your whole body lengthens and expands.
Just relaxing as you lie in this position will do you good – after all you’re letting go and practicing good posture! Add some Alexander Technique thinking in the mix, and it’s really powerful. For help with this listen to my audio talk-through (about 11 minutes long) which will help guide your thoughts during your lie down:
For more detailed information on the whole process, visit the Constructive Rest page on my website.
As an antidote to the stresses of the holiday season, I encourage you to try out this practice. Do let me know if you have any questions about this – and if you’re trying it out for the first time, I’d love to hear how you get on.
**NEW Constructive Rest Audio Guide
Since writing this post almost 5 years ago, I have produced a new, updated Constructive Rest Audio Guide which is ideal for both beginners and people who already practice Constructive Rest. The audio is a little under 20 minutes long (18:21), which is considered the optimal amount of time lying down to allow your spine to regain its full height. It includes my latest ideas on how to direct your thinking and awareness most effectively. Accompanying the audio is a 18-page companion guide containing all you need to get you started, as well as additional tips and suggestions for alternative positions. When you purchase the Constructive Rest Audio Guide you will be sent a link to download both the audio (MP3) and the written guide (PDF).
Click here for more information or to buy now >>
—Imogen, November 19, 2016