“I am free to rest on my front”
‘People do not decide their futures, they decide their habits and their habits decide their futures’, said FM Alexander.
Information and knowledge are useful. Putting these into action is even more useful. Committing to doing this action one, three, or ten times a day – then you’ll really start to notice the benefits.
As many of you know, one of Alexander’s major discoveries about us mammals is that the relationship between the head and spine govern the coordination of the rest of us. Yes – all of us! Physical, mental, emotional, spiritual – we don’t separate – its all one thing – our Self.
Lying on your front, with a cushion under your chest and a small book under your forehead so that your nose is easy. Prone is
“I am free to rest on my front”
I’m thinking about the many benefits of resting. Mostly because I have hardly had any rest today! My body is craving it. I shared David Whyte’s poem from Consolations called Rest in an earlier email to you all and recommend you read it again.
Rest helps us to process what is going on. Rest helps us restore and refresh and heal. Rest helps us get the balance of activity and inactivity. Rest helps with the balance of giving and receiving. Rest helps us find an exchange between inside and outside. Rest helps us come closer to our true authentic self. Rest helps the breath do its natural exchange. Rest helps us discover how much energy we have for the next moment. Rest helps us come closer to our body, mind, unity.
There is some evidence that lying on your front is beneficial for your lungs and has been used in Intensive Care situations for some of the worst sufferers of Covid-19. https://www.newser.com/story/288647/worst-covid-19-patients-may-want-to-lie-facedown.html
There is a lot of lung tissue in the back region of your torso. When we take the pressure off our ‘back’ by lying on our front, this may add more pressure to your heart, so if you are sick or have a heart condition, this holds some risk and I recommend you ask your GP if this is suitable for you.
If you are well, if you are an adult, then it is a useful position, one with many advantages, to lie down and rest for a while – 10-20 minutes. Feel free to have a go, and do your own risk-assessment.
Lie on the floor, on a rug, mat or blanket. Do not lie in a draught. Do not lie in the thoroughfare where other people or pets may want to pass you.
Do lie on your front, legs long behind you, with a cushion or pillow under your chest, and a book under your forehead, lie down and rest. It is useful to rest facing down, rather than twisting to one side. If you can’t comfortably do this, put another cushion under your body, or a softer and higher support under your forehead.
You can have your arms by your sides, under your chin or above your head, finger-tips just touching or out to the sides or elbows out to the sides and hands forwards (like a cactus plant, or surrender position). Let your hands be quiet.
When we lie down on our front like this, it can have a quietening effect on our nervous system and breathing. The only parts of us which move will be our jaw joints and tongue muscles. And the breathing mechanism.
Invite your hands and tongue and jaw to quieten and explore the possibility of stillness.
Bring your kind and gentle attention to the upper or back surface of your body. Notice that there is space above you to move in and around. As your breath comes in (all by itself) watch how your whole torso can expand a little (or a lot!)
As your breath leaves your lungs, your ribs get closer to each other, your torso condenses and your back will get further away from the ceiling, and nearer the floor.
I find that my whole body quietens down, but my mind and tongue and jaw can now have a chance to come centre-stage and enjoy some attention. They may enjoy displaying the various tricks they can do, showing off the twitches and twiddles they often get up to when we aren’t looking. Allow them to do their thing.
Watch the display with interest for a couple of minutes. Try not to judge, stay with the sensations, stay noticing your breath moving you.
Now invite jaw and tongue to become quieter and stiller (I don’t mean hold your breath). See what your jaw and tongue may not need to do in this resting position.
Allow your jaw to agree with gravity, your tongue to return to its fullness in all directions.
When you are ready to get up, decide not to hold your breath. Decide to let your head lead and your whole body follow. Come onto your hands and knees, and pause here a while.
Move slowly and carefully as you gradually make your way back upright.
If I was with you in person or online, I would be able to guide you specifically and answer any questions and add various other aspects of guidance or comfort. Use these words as best you can, and explore the fuller possibilities for your lungs to be moveable without the pressure and weight of you lying on them.
Is this position familiar to you? Is it comfortable? How did you enjoy this?
Habits can be changed, and first we start with changing our thinking. First through education and understanding, then through a guided practice to a better overall systemic thinking, then practising the principles, not the movements.