Feb 01

Alexander Rest Position


Make time daily to lie down in the semi-supine position. This facilitates the release of tension and the re-alignment of the body, with consequently an improvement in posture and well being.

Find a carpeted wooden floor to lie on. If there is concrete under the carpet or the floor is bare wood, you may need a padded surface to lie on like a rug, camping mat or sleeping bag. Use whatever padding you need to be comfortable. Do not lie in a draught from a door. A cold surface or a draught will cause the back muscles to chill or go into spasm (don’t do this if muscles in spasm).
Now lie down as in the diagram below, on your back with the knees bent, feet shoulder width apart. The feet should not be so close to the bottom that you are cutting off the circulation at the back of the knee, nor so far away that the abdominal muscles are tensing to hold the legs in position.

Rest pose





If you have too many books, your chin will be lower than your forehead and press uncomfortably onto your throat. If there are too few, the forehead will be lower than your chin and the back of the neck will be compressed. Check with your Alexander Teacher if you are unsure what the appropriate height of the books is for you.

First of all notice the kind of contact that the body is making with the floor:-

the pressure of the back of the head on the books

the contact of the shoulder blades

the weight of each side of the ribcage

the hollow in the back

the two sides of the pelvis

the soles of the feet


Now take some time to rehearse the directions that F. M. Alexander gave:-

Allow the neck to be free.

Allow the head to roll forward and away from the top of the spine.

Allow the spine to lengthen

Allow the back to widen

Allow the knees to point towards the ceiling and away from each other


If you have difficulty remembering the directions, there is a CD recording available. At the end of your lying down session, remember to rise slowly. Your blood pressure will have dropped; if you move too quickly or suddenly you may feel dizzy. It helps to first roll onto your side (sitting up quickly may cause the abdominal and back muscles to jerk) and then onto your hands and knees. Then crawl to a nearby chair or support and use it to stand up.

The optimum length of time to lie down is between 15 and 20 minutes. However if you are new to the Alexander Technique, begin with between 5 and 10 minutes (or as long as you feel comfortable). Gradually over a period of days you can extend the length of the session.

Contact Rosemary Moone MSTAT on 021 4311 411 if you have any questions.

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