DEFINING THE ALEXANDER TECHNIQUE Tim Soar © 1999
The Alexander Technique is, above all, a practical discipline. Alexander often referred to the “practice and theory” (rather then the other way around) of his work, in order to emphasise his conviction that the pragmatic and tangible aspects of his technique were of primary importance.
This lying down procedure can be practised with great benefit with little or no theoretical knowledge of the Alexander Technique, and even if you think you know all the theory in the world, this simple practice can always show you something new. The semi-supine1 position is the most basic and important way of working on yourself; it provides a systematic activity through which to release unnecessary tension and to become more aware of the relationship between your head, neck and back which forms the “core” of your structure.
Lie on your back on a firm, flat surface with your:
It can be useful to lie down to quieten and calm yourself but, in contrast to a conventional relaxation exercise, this procedure embodies the following.
Ideally, find time to lie down once or twice every day for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Aim to learn to use the firm contact of the floor to inform you about the muscular texture – the relative states of stiff tension, floppy relaxation and springy expansion of your back.
When you want to get up, don’t sit up, roll over slowly first.
1 To lie supine is to lie face up (as distinct from prone – face down). To lie fully supine one would simply lie out straight. The Alexander lying down position is described as semi-supine
because of the raised position of the legs, head and hands.