Teachers of the Alexander Technique – a practice which helps you to change long-standing habits that cause unnecessary tension and is acclaimed by celebrities across the globe – are urging people in Cyprus and around the world to take stress lying down this October.
For the first time ever, the UK-based Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique (STAT) is leading National Lie Down Day in an attempt to equip us with a century old technique which helps to manage stress.
During Alexander Awareness Week (October 9 – 15) the Society and 3,000 teachers worldwide will be encouraging everyone to pick a day in which they can lie down for 10 minutes in the ‘semi-supine position’.
And, practitioners in Cyprus are also encouraging people on the island to participate.
- Students stressed by new English, maths GCSE reforms
- Young people in Cyprus seeking stress relief
- Stress or anxiety?
Liana Thrassou, an Alexander teacher who has taught the technique in Cyprus since 2012 comments: “Lying in the semi-supine position is an excellent way to give our body and mind a rest. When we are under stress, the last thing we think about is slowing down, let alone stopping completely to lie down on the floor. Yet it makes a huge difference to take a few minutes out of our day to care for ourselves. The Technique has an immediate impact on our physical, mental and emotional state.”
Liana continues: “People can try this anywhere – at home, during a break at the office, at the park or the gym. It’s about time we began to take charge of our own well-being. Just as brushing our teeth every day, lying down in semi-supine daily is equally preventative in terms of our health.”
Liana is taking part in International Alexander Awareness Week and will be offering private introductory Alexander Technique lessons at half price during October 9 – 15, as well as conducting two workshops.
The workshops will take place at Dancehouse Nicosia on Monday, October 9, between 10am and 1pm in English, and 5-8pm in Greek. For more information or to book a lesson, contact Liana by e-mail on firstname.lastname@example.org
According to advocates of the practice, the ‘semi-supine position,’ also known as ‘active rest’ or ‘constructive rest’ is the best way to restore and reconnect the body and mind; a little like the reset button on a computer. As well as realigning the spine, it stops you feeling overwhelmed, allowing you to focus on yourself and providing vital time out to quieten the mind and process emotions.
Acknowledging and taking control of the emotions associated with stress, whether they are anger, fear or helplessness is key to dealing with them. It is when they begin to control us that they become dangerous and, at worst, can lead to severe physical and mental health problems.
As Alexander Awareness Week gets underway, STAT is also asking people to share pictures of themselves lying in semi-supine wherever they can using the hashtags #LieDownDay, #SemiSupine and #AlexanderTechnique.
How to lie in the semi-supine position:
- Lie down on the floor, preferably with a mat or soft blanket underneath your body and a couple of paperback books under your head to raise it slightly. The books are the right height when you feel no tension in your throat
- Bend your knees with your feet flaton the floor about shoulder-width apart. Feel the back spreading onto the floor
- Take some time to allow yourself to ‘arrive’ and settle in this new position
- Notice how you are in contact with the floorand your head with the books; notice the main weight-transmitting areas – the back of your head, the two shoulder blades, the back of the hips and the feet
- The best way to stop and take charge of your mind is to notice the thoughts whirling around in your head and think ‘no’ to them; in the Alexander Technique we call this ‘inhibiting’. Bring your mind back to concentrating that your neck is free, lengthening, going up and out of the shoulders and that your back is gently spreading and widening onto the floor
- Each time your mind starts to wander,gently bring your attention back to where you are here and now, simply noticing what you can see, hear and feel
- Try calmly thinking these thoughts(remember they are just ideas never actions to do):
- think of the whole of your back, starting at your tailbone and gradually working all the way up to the top of your spine, with the idea of a gentle unfurling all the way up, together with an expansion or widening of your torso
- since your hips and feet are fully supported by the ground you can imagine your knees so free that they could just float up away from your hips towards the ceiling
- When you have managed to get yourself really still, think of something that makes you feel stressed and notice what it does to your body. Then inhibit and let your thoughts become quiet again. Think about the stressful thing again but this time omit the tensions you noticed as you inhibit and you can see just how powerful your thought is
- If you can practise working on this you can be in the present moment, free yourself from the negativity of anxiety and take the steps towards a stress free life