Semi Supine

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.

Alexander Technique

What is the Alexander Technique?

The Alexander Technique is a skill for self-development teaching you how to change long standing habits that can cause unnecessary tension in everything you do.

Whatever your age or ability, the Technique can help boost your performance in any activity and relieve pain and stress caused by postural habits, like slouching or rounded shoulders.

Everyday things like tensing when the phone rings, rushing to pick up the children from school or worrying about deadlines lead to physical and mental strain. Over the years, this accumulates and can cause illness, injury or common aches and pains that may seem to come from nowhere.

Working with your teacher, you will learn to recognise your usual reactions to the stresses of life. You will find out how you have been contributing to your problems, how to prevent them and regain control.

A method of re-education

Alexander Technique lessons stimulate your ability to learn simultaneously on different levels; physically, intellectually and emotionally.

You will learn to recognise your harmful habits, how to stop and think, and to choose a better response.

Gradually you learn to apply your new understanding and skill in everyday activities and more complex ones, to bring awareness and poise into everything you do.

Just like riding a bike, once learned, the Technique stays with you for life.


The Technique teaches us the skilful “use of the self”, i.e. how we use ourselves when moving, resting, breathing, learning, organising our awareness and focus of attention of and, above all, choosing our reactions to increasingly demanding situations.

Changes brought about by good habits of diet and exercise are well understood. The long–term effects of good habits of the “use of the self” are less well known, but equally life changing.

You learn how to become aware of, and then gradually strip away, the habits of movement, tension and reaction that interfere with natural and health co-ordination.

Balanced body, balanced mind

Coordination and poise rely on the natural balance of the head, neck and back, what F M Alexander called “the primary control”. The Technique works through re-establishing this natural balance to promote easy upright posture and efficient functioning, body and mind.

The Alexander Technique is a subtle and thoughtful discipline, but essentially practical and problem-solving.