Constructive Rest is a practise that first came onto my radar about 5 years ago.
It has been a regular part of my daily practise (most days anyway) for the last 3 years and has been a PROFOUND tool on my healing journey.
So what are the benefits of Constructive Rest?
+ It helps to restore the length of your spine by letting your back and neck muscles release into their natural resting length.
+It allows for your intervertebral discs (the soft cushions between your neck and back bones which absorb shock) to re-hydrate to their optimum thickness (this too lets your spine get back to its resting length).
+ It passively releases the psoas muscle, a chronically overused and tight muscle at the front of the thigh that can cause all sorts of issues from lower back pain through to anxiety and digestive disorders to name just a few.
+ It allows your breathing to return to an easy, natural and well-functioning state.
+ It helps to soothe the nervous system, clears and centres your mind and brings you back in touch with the present moment.
+ It can help to decrease stress and relieve anxiety.
+ It can help to relieve chronic pain in the physical body
+ It helps you to become better aware of your habits of tension.
+ It puts you into a state of calm alertness.
+ It helps with fatigue by revitalising the whole system.
Who's it for?
Seriously, this pose has a reach that is wide!
If you sit all day, stand all day, doing any movement repetitively, drive a lot, suffer from chronic pain, stress, anxiety, fatigue, digestive issues, nervous system disorders, sleep problems, back pain etc etc!
The list goes on!
This truly is an ideal practise for just about anything.
How to practise
+ Find a place on the floor to set up - preferably on a carpeted area or use blankets to create a comfortable place to rest for at least 10 minutes.
Have another folded blanket close by on the floor.
+ Come to lie on the back with the feet on the floor and the knees bent. Ensure that the feet, knees and hips are all in alignment.
+ Play around with the placement of the feet - you don't want them so far away that they start to slide out, but equally they aren't right up against the buttocks either (check out the picture above)
Ideally you want to get a sense that the legs are holding themselves up (I like to think of the lower and upper leg bones like 2 playing cards leaning against each other - effortlessly when in the right position)
+ Once you have found the right spot with the legs, start to become aware of the rest of the body.
If the neck is feeling uncomfortable a folded blanket or towel can be placed underneath for support.
+ Connect in with the breath and slowly begin to explore all the sensations that are arising.
Feel where there is tension in the body, notice any emotions or feelings that arise, watch for any associated thoughts or stories.
+ Slowly the body will begin to unwind and the 'relaxation response' - an aspect of the parasympathetic nervous system - will be triggered, soothing the whole system.
Stay with the breath and your experience.
+ If the knees start to shake or feel like they want to drop out to the side then a folded blanket can be placed on top to help contain them and facilitate the deep psoas release we are desiring.
+ Stay for as long as it feels good, a minimum of 5 minutes though to really glean the benefits.
Simply lying in this position for 10 -15 minutes at a time can work wonders for you.
Can you commit to a daily practise of 10 minutes for a week?
I truly believe you will be amazed at the results!
Be sure to let me know in the comments what you discovered!