A practice to increase awareness, improve coordination, relieve habitual tension and spinal compression, and regain peace of mind/body.
- On a firmly padded surface, such as a yoga mat or carpeted floor, lie with your knees pointed toward the ceiling and your head resting on a small paperback book. Many people start with a book around one inch thick and raise or lower the height from there. Your shoes should be off, and your feet can be about hip width apart. Rest your hands on your torso with elbows bent, or at your sides as you wish. Leave your eyes gently open.
- Notice the points of contact between you and the floor. These skeletal landmarks, where bones on the surface will be resting toward the ground, likely include: back of the head, back of the shoulder blades, back of the ribs, sacrum/back of the pelvis, soles of the feet.
- Wherever you notice yourself making contact with the floor, allow that part of you to rest. Let gravity take you onto the surface you’re resting on. You may find that you have to intentionally stop tightening some areas of your body to let yourself rest.
- You may notice your Whole Self expanding into the space around you, and discover more length, width, and ease in your torso. Make sure that you don’t “try” to relax, or “try” to lengthen yourself. Just allow it to happen.
- Continue to observe yourself, without judgement and with kindness, as you allow the simple act of stopping to help you, literally, unwind. Remain at rest for five to fifteen minutes, whatever feels right to you. Shorter periods repeated regularly are more effective that occasional long periods.
- When you are finished resting, I suggest that you roll to one side and use hands and knees to return to standing, rather than doing a “sit up.” This allows you to sustain the length that resting gave you. Spend a moment standing, or gently walking, to notice how the ease you had in semi-supine comes with you.
If audio is your preferred way of learning, please enjoy this snippet of a live interview on The Happy Musicians podcast, where I describe Constructive Rest and its benefits for musicians (and everyone else!)