• Eve Bernfeld

Hit the Deck


Lying my back, knees bent, head on a paperback book, arms on floor or abdomen

I guess people perceive me as the Posture Police, because they are often saying things to me like: “At the end of the day/at the end of a long trip/when I get off work/[fill in the blank] I’m just too tired to sit up. I try, but I can’t. All I can do is just collapse into the couch. I wish I could stay upright like you.” This may be said sheepishly with a look of apology, or it may be said in a challenging way, the implication being the speaker’s life is so much more tiring than mine. Today I officially respond to both types of people: “You think I’m never too tired to sit up straight? Ha!” I do, however, have a suggestion for another way to deal with fatigue beyond collapsing into the comforting cushions of the couch. In the words of a pupil who recently came to her lesson very excited because she had just had this revelation: “If I’m too tired to sit up, I need to lie down!” Yes! Sometimes you just need to hit the deck. Presenting the Alexander Technique Lie-Down. (See photo above)


I often lie down between students, as a way through my afternoon doldrums, and even before I go to bed at night. Also when I've had it up to here with my kids or have spent too much time on the computer, say, writing a blog (yes, I solemnly swear that I will lie down after I hit "publish" on this--possibly before that).


I realize that not everyone has the space or flexibility to just lie down on the floor at work. But you might be surprised by the benefits of 10 or 15 minutes of lying down directly after work (as I've had many students do).


I further realize that taking time out of our day to lie down and do nothing is a radical proposal. Simply shocking. It goes against all of our productivity, goal-oriented, get-stuff-done, sleep-when-I'm-dead programming. I dare you.


And not to contradict what I just said, but I will add that I'm SO much more productive and SO much less exhausted/crabby by the end of the day when I lie down during the day. (There is also 120 years of anecdotal evidence from Alexander Technique students that taking time simply to lie down each day in this way improves stress, back pain, neck pain, stiff shoulders and breathing. And it's FREE.)


I hope you give it a try. And tell me what you find.

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