What is Semi-Supine?
Semi-supine, also known as ‘active rest,’ ’constructive rest,’ or simply ‘lying on the floor’ is a daily practice that has a number of benefits:
- It allows the discs between the vertebrae to re-hydrate and expand
- Semi supine allows the lower back to ‘release’ and can help reduce pain if you have lower back pain
- The books supporting the head can be adjusted for optimal effect. You teacher will advise you on the correct height of books to suit you.
- You can practice your ‘directions’ in a neutral position (more about directions in another post)
To try this for yourself, find a quiet and warm space to lie on your back, with your head resting on a few paperback books. If you don’t have an Alexander Teacher to advise you, if your chin is pointing up as you are lying down, the pile of books is too low. If your chin is resting on your chest, the pile of books is too high. You need to be somewhere in the middle of these two extremes in a position that is comfortable for you.
Lie with your knees up, with feet flat on the floor. Keep knees and feet a comfortable width apart. Having knees raised relieves the muscular pull of the legs on the pelvis.
Notice the contact of your body on the floor. Keep your eyes open, look around you – don’t fall asleep! Think about your body lengthening and widening. Picture your knees pointing upwards to the ceiling. Have your hands resting on your abdomen and notice how your belly rises and falls with the breath.
Lie in semi-supine for about 10 to 15 minutes. To get back up again, roll over on all fours and then stand. If you need a chair or other support to help you move into standing, use it.