Semi-supine is an invaluable practice that encourages the changes which the Alexander Technique aims to promote. By establishing a regular practice you will make faster progress during your lessons.
The shock absorbing discs between our vertebrae gradually lose fluid during the day due to the pressure of our own body weight and gravity. After about 10 minutes in semi-supine, the fluid which has seeped out into the surrounding tissue can start to become reabsorbed, causing the discs to ‘plump up’ again.
Whilst a healthy spine should have curves in it, many of us have pronounced curves. Lying in semi-supine allows gravity to work, helping to soften out any excessive curvature.
It’s useful to give yourself a daily dose of ‘me time’; a chance to think about yourself and forget about everything else. Lying in Semi-supine allows the nervous system to quieten down. It’s a position where muscles can lengthen, excessive tension can be released, and you can learn to interfere less with your natural functioning. You may also find your breathing becomes quieter and deeper after about 10 mins.
How to practise semi-supine
Allow yourself 15-20 minutes. In a room free from draughts, lie on your back on a firm surface - preferably a carpeted floor or an exercise mat, but not on a bed.
Rest your head on a small pile of books so that the head is neither tipped backwards, nor forwards constricting the throat.
Have your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart; if your knees fall inwards put your feet slightly closer together, and if they fall outwards put your feet slightly further apart. Rest your hands lightly on your abdomen.
Keep your eyes open; this gives a certain tone to your muscles. Stay awake and alert, you are looking to expand and release muscles, not to collapse into total relaxation.
Free you neck and allow your head to release outwards away from your shoulders. Ask your back to lengthen and widen and your knees to go up towards the ceiling. These directions will become clearer in future lessons. After 20 mins slowly roll over and come back up to standing. Practise daily!