Extending Constructive Rest

Begin in rest position, legs folded, feet flat on the floor/table, arms at the sides on the floor/table, palms down, head supported as taught by your A.T. teacher. Allow your neck to be free, head to go forwards and up, back to lengthen and widen until you feel some movement into length. You need strong, persistent directions to sense some movement while you are lying down.

Now, bring your awareness to your hands. Activate proprioception by searching for the bones and joints of your fingers and thumbs. Keep searching until you feel liveliness and extension in your hands. Then let your arms lengthen to follow your hands as you move them down below your hips, fingers touching the floor/table. You should feel this length through your shoulders and neck.

Bring your thinking to your feet without losing the freedom and length you have found from your fingertips to your head. As you did with your fingers, find the bones and joints of your toes. This will take persistence, because you have probably been wearing shoes for most of your life, and are not used to allowing your toes the liveliness of your fingertips as sensory instruments. You will find them, but it may take more time. Don’t lose your neck and fingers – keep going back to them.

When you have found some length in your toes, let them lead your feet and legs down, sliding along the table until your legs are at full, unforced length. Do not flex your ankles to let your heels slide down. You should feel opening through your hips and lower back as they extend. If your legs have found easy extension, they will not flop open but will find ease in parallel. With your arms, legs, and spine extended together, you can find the most open condition for your body, more open than it can be with legs and arms folded.

Remember, retracting of the fingers and toes is evidence of grasping reflexes or stress responses. Freeing the neck is not possible without releasing them. Thus, working with legs and arms flexed in constructive rest is… well, not very constructive. Also important is keeping all of the senses open – remaining in dynamic response to vision, sound, and touch.

Allow length to create width.