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Alexander Technique Cheshire


On Lying Down
March 2012
In this Issue
On Lying Down
In the words of a student
Try This
Fun stuff to explore and learn more
Group Class in Middletown
Quick Links



This is my third newsletter, but the first one that goes to my entire list of contacts, a very large group of people indeed, who I have met over the years and added to my professional network. As much as I would like everyone of you to stay I am also aware of overfilled inboxes and unwanted mail. The Alexander Technique fosters self awareness and deals with our reactions to common stimuli. Saying 'No' can often be an important act of self-care. So, if you need to clear your inbox, I will make sure to take you off my mailing list.
Michaela Hauser-Wagner

On Lying Down

It's called Alexander Lie-Down, Constructive Rest, Active Rest or - to describe the position - Semi-Supine.

semi supine
Matthew Mitchell in Missy Vineyard, 2007

The first thing I remember  ever having read about the Alexander Technique was the account of a man with severe back pain, who had read about the Technique, but lived nowhere close to an Alexander Technique teacher. He decided to follow the instructions to practice Semi-Supine every day for 20 minutes and over a few months healed his chronic back issues.

Lying Down in Semi-Supine is essential to the Alexander Technique, most first lessons are taught while the student lies on a table and table lessons continue to be part of your ongoing lesson experience.

The 23 discs between your 24 independent vertebrae are often compared to a jelly doughnut with a resilient outer cartilage material and a softer center. The resilient outer tissue connects the vertebrae to one another while the softer center provides elastic cushioning between the vertebrae. While the discs flatten with gravity during upright activities, they restore their original thickness at night due to fluid replenishing the tissues.

When you are lying down in semi-supine you are not only giving your discs time to restore some of their cushioning function, you are also asking the muscles to stop pulling on the bones. Contrary to sleep positions which tend to be quite habitual and possibly tense, during active rest the muscles can seize their habitual holding patterns and the spine can assume its original physiological form.

And your mind? It's a time to stop, to ask yourself gently to slow down your thoughts, lists, worries, sensations and emotions. The things that need to be taken care of will assert themselves, they will be accomplished - just not right this moment.

In the words of a student

I have had back problems for a number of years and found that the Alexander Technique is helpful in preventing serious spasms. My routine is to lie down as soon as I awake in the morning for 5-10 minutes. Later in the day, I lie down for at least 15 minutes, especially if I have played golf or done a great deal of cooking etc. Since incorporating this routine I have had no spasms for almost two years and have been able to play golf with no interruptions due to injuries, which used to be the case. The second time that I lie down I find that I have a great deal of energy in addition to relieving any back or neck tension which has accumulated throughout the day. The technique is simple but very effective and I can do it anywhere, especially when I travel. It has truly changed my approach to life and health.

H.C. February 2012


We would love to hear from you about your lie-down routine. Share your ideas with me or on facebook   I like lying down in Semi-Supine.

Try This

Lie on your back on a firm surface like a carpeted floor. The knees are bent so that the feet are planted on the floor. The feet should be approximately hip width apart to enable the legs to balance with minimum effort, the knees neither falling apart nor together but pointing up towards the ceiling.

Place some paper back books under your head (not under the back of your neck) to support the natural forward curve of the spine in the neck region. Your arms should be angled at the elbows with your hands resting on your lower ribs or abdomen.

Your weight is now balanced between your feet, your pelvis, your middle and upper back and the back of your head. 

Don't flatten your lower back or waist to the floor or pull your stomach in. Don't fidget and fix yourself. Lie still and allow your body to rest. Gravity will gradually exert its gentle pull on your muscles and bones. Muscles can let go of their grip and vertebrae can subtly shift and realign.

Fun stuff to explore and learn more

Back Health - Posture - Balance

Middletown Adult Education, 5 evenings, Tuesday, April 24 to May 22, 6:30 - 7:45