Semi-Supine – A quick lesson in the Alexander technique

Semi-Supine – A quick lesson in the Alexander technique

Quality “me-time”

The Semi-Supine position is a lesson we often first teach as an Alexander Technique teacher. The regular practice of lying down in the semi-supine position will help in encouraging the changes sought with the Alexander Technique. It is invaluable for maintaining a healthy spine. It is a way of giving yourself a ‘little Alexander lesson’.

How to practice the semi-supine position

First find a fairly firm surface, like a mat or rug on the floor to lie down on.  Use a couple of paperback books under your head to raise it slightly.

Next, bend your knees so your feet are comfortably flat on the floor and about shoulder-width apart.

Now take some time to allow yourself to ‘arrive’ and settle in this new position. Notice how you are in contact with the floor and 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.

Start to notice what is around you. What noises can you hear inside and outside the room? What can you see? Notice those shapes, forms and colours to the sides, above and below (it doesn’t matter that they’re not in focus).


Each time your mind starts to wander, gently bring your attention back to where you are here and now.  Simply noticing things around you again, what you can see, hear and feel.

Try these thoughts (remember they are just ideas never actions to do):

Be aware of the direction of the crown of your head. Is it towards the wall? Notice your feet towards the opposite wall. Now concentrate on your right side out to the right. Then the left out to the left. Be aware of where up and where down is.

Think of the whole of your back. Start at your tailbone and gradually work all the way up to the top of your spine. Think 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 being free. Imagine that they could just float up away from your hips towards the ceiling.

This position gives the best support and rest for your back and is the perfect way to de-stress, refresh and feel energised.

How long and how often should I do this?

Ideally, 15 to 20 minutes each day to lie down, is enough time to help restore suppleness and realignment of the spine and to reconnect the relationship between your mind and body.

As well as the physical benefits, the semi-supine practice will give you that all important time to be aware of yourself, to quieten your mind and just stop.

This information was taken from the STAT website.

Although this brief lesson gives you insight into the Alexander Technique, the best introduction to the Alexander Technique is by a one to one session.

By Richard Marsden

Richard is an Alexander Technique Teacher in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria and Preston, Lancashire. He has been practising since 2002.