Constructive rest.jpg

Constructive rest is a daily practice that students taking Alexander Technique lessons often do on their own to get into the habit of recognizing excess, habitual tension and to let it go.  Lying on your back on a firm surface allows the back muscles to release into the floor, aided by gravity, for the back to spread and widen, and for the spine to decompress.  It is also a useful time to practice directional thinking that students learn during Alexander Technique lessons.  Directional thinking helps to relax, energize, and decompress the body and encourages fuller breathing.  It can help you to continue your day with reduced back and neck pain, more clarity of focus, and more energy to do the things you like to do.  It is also helpful to do before going to bed to begin your night of sleep with less habitual tension

To practice Constructive Rest, find a relatively quiet space and lie on the floor in the semi-supine position (with your knees pointed up and feet flat on the floor as in the photo above) for 10-15 minutes daily.  You may want to place a mat on the floor or you may lie directly on the floor.  Do whichever feels more comfortable.  Place a soft-cover book or two or a folded towel under your head so that your head doesn't drop back.  If your chin feels pinched forward, then lower the books/towel.  If your head is dropping back, then raise them.  Place your hands on your abdomen with your elbows bent or at your sides.  

Constructive rest is most effective with as little outside distraction as possible.  Focus on yourself and the space around you.  Avoid playing music, talking on the phone, watching television. or reading.  That said, you may additionally find that you enjoying lying in the semi-supine position while engaging in these activities.

Use this 10-minute audio guide at the top of this page to get you started.