IWD Workshop ~ Learning how to do the Lying Down Procedure
As part of any Introductory AT Workshop, I always include some time to introduce the Lying Down Procedure to participants. This is performed in a semi-supine position, which allows the back to have maximum support and the spine is as near to being in a straight line as it is likely to get.
In the first photo, you can see some of the women following my instructions and using their hands to gain a sense of their head-neck-back relationship, in order to roughly work out what height books they would need under their heads. Both myself and Deena Newman, who assisted me, then went around and adjusted the books if necessary, as different people need different height books to rest on. If the books are too low, the head drops back and down to the floor and the neck curves into a banana shape, so cannot release and fully lengthen out. However if the books are too high, the throat can be constricted and pressure can be put onto the vertebrae at the base of the neck. So it is worth taking care when choosing the height of books to use under our heads.
Once people were lying appropriately, we then gave everyone another brief experience of some ‘hands-on work’ – as you can see in the second photo, which shows Deena putting her hands on a participant’s head and neck, encouraging her to release any muscle tension and to have a ‘free neck‘. During individual lessons, this usually takes place on a table, which makes life rather easier for the teacher!
Why do we use books?
Soft cushions and pads give way and get compressed under the weight of the head but paperback books give us a firmer support – without being as hard as hardback books! In the same way, we always lie down on the floor, rather than a bed, so that our bodies can have maximum support and more of a chance to let go of contractions and ease out into into a more lengthened and expansive state.
There was a brilliant and relevant quote in a recent Guardian Interview when Jonathan Price, the actor, was asked Which
book changed your life?
book changed your life?
‘The one the teacher put under my head during the Alexander Technique sessions at Rada. I grew an inch and a half.’ Jonathan Price Guardian Interview 7 March 2015
Article on Using the Constructive Rest Procedure
If you would like to read more about using this incredibly useful, calming and enjoyable procedure, you might like to read my article on the Lying Down Procedure.
Even without going to Alexander Technique lessons, this procedure can be used for relaxation and to help you de-stress – but with the help and guidance of an AT teacher, you can learn how to make the lying down procedure far more effective! It can help you let go of tensions, calm your nervous system and importantly, can set you up to perform your next activity more freely and easily, whatever that activity may happen to be. It is a valuable tool to use throughout your life.