Semi-Supine

Quality “me-time”

The regular practice of lying down in the semi-supine position will help in encouraging the changes sought with the Alexander Technique, and is invaluable for maintaining a healthy spine. It is a way of giving yourself a ‘little Alexander lesson’.

How to

  • Lie down on a fairly firm surface, like a mat or rug on the floor, with a couple of paperback books under your head to raise it slightly.
  • Bend your knees with your feet flat on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
  • Take some time to allow yourself to ‘arrive’ and settle in this new position
  • Notice how you are in contact with the floor and your head with the books; notice the main weight-transmitting areas – the back of your head, the two shoulder blades, the back of the hips and the feet
  • Quietly notice what is around you, what noises can you hear inside and outside the room, what can you see? Notice those shapes, forms and colours to the sides, above and below (it doesn’t matter that they’re not in focus)
  • Each time your mind starts to wander, gently bring your attention back to where you are here and now, simply noticing what you can see, hear and feel
  • Try these thoughts (remember they are just ideas never actions to do):
    • be aware of the direction of the crown of your head towards the wall and of your feet towards the opposite wall; also, of your right side out to the right, the left out to the left, and of where up and where down is
    • think of the whole of your back, starting at your tailbone and gradually working all the way up to the top of your spine, with the idea of a gentle unfurling all the way up, together with an expansion or widening of your torso
    • since your hips and feet are fully supported by the ground you can imagine your knees being so free that they could just float up away from your hips towards the ceiling.

This position gives the best support and rest for your back and is the perfect way to de-stress, refresh and feel energised.

How long and how often

Ideally, 15 to 20 minutes each day to lie down, is enough time to help restore suppleness and realignment of the spine, and to reconnect the relationship between your mind and body.

As well as the physical benefits, the semi-supine practice will give you that all important time to be aware of yourself, to quieten your mind and just stop.

It is a challenge to try to summarize the experience [of the Alexander Technique], as I find it (and it finds me) being the constant change, not there to be grasped. The most measureable is the sharpening of all the senses. My violinist ears react to the most subtle nuances in the sound and the experience is that of all the senses 'working' on the sound (and the means that are producing it), when I play. This has made possible the greater awareness in the moment present. [A musician] is only able to do something about the sound (the moment) that is being produced, nothing past nor nothing to come. With all that, of course, comes freedom. The breathing, the freedom of movement, the freshness, the spontaneity, the creativity, the joy of it all. Through the Alexander training I am becoming more whole: as a person, as an artist.

Agnieszka Opiola, Independent Violinist, Glasgow
See the benefits of Alexander Technique