Lie down on your back with the soles of the feet against the floor and head on top of a stack of books. A firm surface will help you to release the back more effectively than a soft one, as it gives more feedback for your body. You can use a yoga mat or a blanket to lie on. Use paperback books underneath your head.
Keep your eyes open. Give yourself permission to be awake, even if you do nothing. Make sure that you are warm, feeling cold makes you tense.
If the book stack is too high, the throat feels the pressure. If your head is tilting backwards, the book is too low. Check that the stack of books doesn’t touch the neck or shoulder, it’s only under the head.
Place your feet relatively close to the body, but not so close that you feel compression in the knees. If the legs are too far away, the arch in the lower back is emphasized, so that it is more difficult to release the back. Feet are approximately hip-width apart. The arms are either resting on the sides or the palms are on top of the abdomen. If your shoulders feel tight, move the hands towards the chest.
If you feel uncomfortable at this point, get up and try again later. If you feel comfortable, lie down for 10 to 20 minutes. If the lower back or any other part of your body feels numb, it’s time to get up and move.
You can pay attention to how the head, shoulders, hips and the soles of the feet meet the surface. You do not have to do anything. You can let your body start finding a better balance on its own. If you can stop trying to relax, you give yourself a chance to release as much as necessary, and not too much.
You can also remind yourself of the directions in which the different parts of the body are released. Think of allowing the neck to be free, so that the head, arms and legs can get a chance to release away from the spine.
Here you can gradually stop pulling yourself together. The body becomes more three-dimensional, it is extended, widened and deepened. Notice that the knees are pointing towards the ceiling. The feet are softened towards the floor.
If you can’t keep your thoughts together, let go for a moment, and allow yourself to just be there.
(c) Aino Klippel MSTAT 2012 n which