When we lie down in semi-supine with a book under the head and knees bent, this allows our spine to gain maximum support and our nervous system to calm down. This wooden model would not let me bring the feet any closer to its body but for most of us, this position has the feet too far out, so they will tend to slip away. Also, the weight of the legs tends to drag on the pelvis, contributing to creating an arch in the lumbar region, the lower back, which can be uncomfortable, particularly if you have back pain. If the heels are just in front of the knees, this usually works better – unless you have a restriction in your knees in which case bring the feet in as close as is comfortable for you, without forcing the position.
Ah the joy of lying down in Semi-supine!
If you place your hands somewhere on your torso, with your elbows easing out away from your body, this allows your shoulders to drop into place more easily. Again this model would not let me put the hands on the ribcage, which is where many people find is a good place for them to be.
A variation on the lying down procedure is to place the feet on a chair, so that the legs are more or less at right angles to the body. This is great if you are finding it hard to balance the legs without using lots of muscular effort, as you just don’t have to worry about balancing them when they are supported on a chair. It can also be good to use this position if your lower back is feeling very contracted and tense. Just make sure that you are not restricting your circulation behind your knees. You can then add this variation on the lying down procedure into your repertoire of tools to use to work on yourself.
Whichever position you use, enjoy the process of unwinding and easing your body into its full length and width and experience being in a quieter, freer and calmer state. Then allow that calmness and expansiveness to still be with you when you get up from the floor and begin your next activity, whatever that is.
One pupil got up from lying down on the AT table and caught site of himself in the mirror and exclaimed “I look taller and broader than I did before my lesson!” It works…..
For more info, you might like to read the notes on the Lying Down Procedure.