“Today, I Will Lie Down and Rest For X Minutes”

“Today I will lie down and rest for x minutes”

Say this thought to yourself little and often throughout the day. Or may be wait until you can enjoy a nap or its bedtime.  

Information and knowledge is useful.  Practice putting this into action.  Commit to doing this one, three, or ten times a day – then you’ll start to notice the benefits.

As many of you know, one of Alexander’s major discoveries about us mammals is that the relationship of 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.


                              

     Image courtesy of Imogen Ragone, BodyIntelligence
 

“Today I will lie down and rest for x minutes”
 

We know the importance of sleep.  We know we ‘should’ go to bed earlier.  We know we feel terrible if we don’t sleep well, or don’t sleep for long enough.  Perhaps you don’t know that being under-slept actually makes us more susceptible to being ill, it takes us longer to recover too.

My son recently discovered that “the Guinness Book of Records, since 1990, no longer accepts records related to sleep deprivation due to the health risks”.

This is hugely significant.  People can do so many extraordinary and death-defying stunts – tight rope walking 11,000 feet above sea level with no harness, or the highest freefall jump 192.9 feet into a pool of water or how about the man who can hold his breath for over 9 minutes and was able to get to 702 without any oxygen!?

Unbelievably these records are allowed, and yet the Guinness Book of Records no longer accepts records related to sleep deprivation due to the health risks!

Sleep helps the immune system.

“T cells are a type of… immune cells that fight against intracellular pathogens, for example virus-infected cells such as flu, HIV, herpes, and cancer cells,” Stoyan Dimitrov, PhD, a researcher at the University of Tübingen and an author of the study, told Healthline.

Now, more than ever, we need to sleep well.

How you set yourself up before bedtime is important – we know we should unplug our phone or laptop, get to bed earlier, keep the same rhythm of bedtime and rising, and sleep in the dark.  

You probably realise that you don’t have much say about what you do with your thoughts or body whilst you are asleep, so it is good to practice this subtle thinking during the day.  We can practice the thoughts and movements so they become more habituated in a good way for our unconscious times at night.

Lying down for a conscious and constructive rest during the day helps us unplug ourselves.  Even if its only for a couple of minutes, it can help us discover how much energy we really have in the tank.  Sometimes I lie down in semi-supine on my back with a book under my head, knees bend and feet pads down on the ground and feel the benefit even after a minute.  When I get up again, I can feel very restored and carry on the rest of the day with more energy.  At other times, I lie down and rest and rest – and when I roll onto my side then up – I get a real sense of just how tired I am, and so take myself off to bed, or cancel the evening’s activities.

When I was ill with shingles a few years ago – I spent most of my time lying down in semi-supine and only got up – slowly and carefully – when I absolutely needed to.  

Please see what you can commit to for your own rest and sleep health.  

Each and every day.  Lying down every day for a deliberate Full Stop – even if its only for a minute or unto 20 minutes.  Longer if you need it.  Getting this daily practice into your routine really pays dividends.  It helps our spine return to its full easy, resting length.  Which helps our nervous system calm down.  Which helps us breathe more effectively – bringing in the oxygen we need, and releasing that which we no longer need – our exhaust fumes.  Which helps our digestion work better.  Which helps us stay healthy.

If you are under-slept – then this is one good thing you can do for yourself.  Get on the floor for a few minutes every day – even if its the last thing you do before you go to bed.  It will give you a great head-start.

“Today I will lie down and rest for x minutes”

Whilst I was pregnant and during the first several years of being a mum, I lost the knack of sleeping well.  I did keep practising resting well.  I don’t want anyone to think you can just say this phrase and you’ll have a magic wand and cure insomnia – I certainly wish I had that skill to teach you.  And yet, I know from bleak experience, how important it is to rest well.

If we rush and push ourselves and strain ourselves day after day we can become chronically over-tired, which weakens our immune system.  It literally stops the production of T-cells which are needed to fight off diseases – such as Covid-19, flu, cancer and many other serious illnesses.

Using a pillow in different ways can support the natural curves of your spine.  If your pillow is too high, your head and neck will be bent upwards.  If the pillow is too low – your head and neck will kink over too far the other way.  It’s useful if your spine can be flexible enough to go to either extreme, but not to live like that all night.

If you lie on your back during the night, the pillow only needs to be as high as the books you’d use under your head during constructive rest.  Your day-time practice supports your nighttime experience.  

When you roll onto your side – see how smoothly you can do this, in the sequence of head, arms, ribs, pelvis and then your knees and legs.  We are designed to naturally move in sequence.  We move in a different sequence – we go ‘out of order’ – literally.

Lying on your side, the pillow(s) should fill in the gap between your ear or skull and the out edge of your upper arms.  It is often a different height required for lying on your side, or lying on your back.

I often use two or three pillows, a shallow one for when I’m lying on my back, another one nearby which I can roll my head on when I’m on my side, and even a third one for hugging when I’m on my side, to support my upper arm.

When I was pregnant I had a fourth v-shaped pillow which I had between my legs and knee joints to support my bump and pelvis.

If you lie on your front – you probably don’t need a pillow at all.  If you have it under your head – you are effectively pushing your head backwards, which is neither comfortable nor desirable.  Lying with a pillow under your chest will relieve pressure on your nose and the neck-region of your spine.  

I wish you a good rest and perchance a good sleep.

“Today I will lie down and rest for x minutes”

Thank you to Sheryl for this suggestion to cover sleep and pillows.

If you’d like to feedback about your experiments with any of these email ideas, why not get in touch and ask me in person.  I am continuing to work with people regularly online and even by phone.  Let me know what your challenges are and I’ll see how I can best help you. 

Written by Lucy Ascham, Body & Soul Energy Expert

Book your free 15-minute consultation today

What My Clients Say

“No pain in the night, no pain when I got up, no pain when I went for a run and no pain now! It’s much more than I expected, thank you! "

Steve

"It is as though I have been gifted an entirely new lens through which to view human behaviour, and it is a lens of compassion and empathy like no other. Due to this, I have been able to come to terms with the way my family operates, which has proven to be a great relief. I would definitely recommend working with Lucy. She held such a safe space for me and my vulnerability with great compassion and authenticity."

Elena

"Using these techniques has helped me reduce the day-to-day tension I’ve developed over a lifetime of anxious habits and hypersensitivity. It’s been amazing to re-learn how my body works, and how to swap out the survival mechanisms that got me so far, for habits more in keeping with how my body is happier to work."

Alex Booer

“I’ve been doing the Alexander Technique with Lucy over the past few months and my posture has improved enormously. I have a greater awareness of how my body functions and can recognise the signs of when I’m falling into bad habits."

Paul Tolton, Actor

"I feel present. Nice to feel here, not racing ahead. I have a more measured, calm approach. I’m less reactive and am learning to look after myself and choose my responses.”

Rosie

"I had a traumatic accident a few years ago. After you ‘wriggled’ my head it felt weird – and really good. I could walk evenly for the first time in years!! I’m making friends with my body.”

Zoe, Singer

"I have been happily surprised and have learned a lot about how my muscles and spine behave when I let them. I rapidly realised that AT is not in the least pseudoscience, rather it teaches one to be aware of how the body is holding itself."

Julian Davis, Retired Professor of Medicine & Pianist

"I've just had two enjoyable and useful sessions with Lucy on Zoom. I had been doubtful about how it would work but I was pleased with how it went. Of course, nothing is as good as face-to-face but we are where we are and this was great and has helped me to progress as I had hoped. Thank you. Looking forward to the next ones!"

Bev

"Lucy's sessions are amazing. Her unique blend of skills helped me have good posture without effort. Before this, I had seen many physiotherapists and osteopaths, but the pain kept coming back within a few weeks. Even after my first session with Lucy, the difference was so clear that my friends commented on it. After several months, the effects are being maintained with her support."

Julia