Friday, December 4, 2009

Exercise of the Month: Constructive Rest Position

The energy of the natural world encourages us to slow down as winter approaches. Nights grow to maximum length and facilitate more sleep. Slick roads necessitate slower speed to stay safe. Cold weather hampers outside exercise.

The social world encourages us to do more during December. Decorating, sending cards, baking, parties, shopping, trips to the post office, travel, and more are packed into the time between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.

Finding time to rest this month will help you tune in to the natural rhythm of life and give you more energy to enjoy yourself. That’s why this month’s exercise is to practice relaxation with the Constructive Rest Position.

Traditionally, the constructive rest position is done with both feet on the floor with the physical aim to release the iliopsoas muscles. It's used to counterpose psoas strengthing exercise such as Pilates and can be helpful in alleviating low back pain. The photo above shows a variation with is more restful: raising the legs and resting them on a chair.

1. Lie down on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor or calves on a chair.
2. Place a small towel under your head if needed to keep your neck in line with your spine as shown in this Alexander Technique description.
3. Place your arms in a comfortable position, by your side or on your torso.
4. Quiet your mind and rest for two to twenty minutes.

For me, the Constructive Rest Position is like a power nap without the side effect of waking up groggy. If you’re short on sleep or feeling frazzled, try it and give yourself a boost.

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