CONSTRUCTIVE REST POSITION
photo by Rachel Winslow
A teacher will use a gentle guiding touch to help you release your body out of chronic tension patterns while you lie in a semi-supine position. You learn to sense your body and use your thinking to release muscular contractions and ease yourself back into your body's natural alignment, effortless breathing and ability to move with ease.
You may get an idea of how it works by trying this on your own:
- Lie down with your face up on an unobstructed floor (or table). It may be slightly padded by a carpet or yoga mat.
- You may want to support your head with a paper back book or two, high enough so that your face is horizontal to the floor and your neck feels comfortable. Do not make it so high that your chin tucks into your neck.
- Bend your knees at approximately a right angle.
- Place your feet flat with the outside edge of your feet no wider than your hip bones.
- Point your toes straight forward if possible.
- Slide your arms out palms facing up out to approximately a 45 degree angle, then bent your elbows until the palms of your hands rest on your abdomen, hip bones or ribs. Leave your wrists open and straight if possible.
- Rest in this position for 10-20 minutes using the following directions, taking plenty of time to experience each one:
- Find the physical sensations of your whole body resting on the surface. Experience the pull of gravity.
- How much space you are taking up? Find the size of your head, your neck, your torso, your arms, your hands, your legs and your feet. Find the volume of your whole body.
- Take several long slow breaths and experience the filling of your lungs and expansion of your ribs as you inhale and the releasing of your lungs and compression of your ribs as you exhale.
- Can you release a bit of tension from your neck? How about your jaw?
- Feel your back muscles spreading and releasing.
- Think of your knees floating up to the ceiling.
- Feel your feet spreading forward to your toes and your heels releasing back towards your body and down towards the floor.
- Think of your shoulders floating to the walls beyond the sides of your body.
- Feel your hands opening inside.
- When you are ready to come out of the position, keeping your knees bent, roll over to your side, continuing to free your neck, rolling your head slightly forward, sit up, stand up slowly.
- Walk around a bit . How do you feel? What has changed?