Are you lying comfortably - the sequel
Are you a front relaxer? A side relaxer? Or even an upside down relaxer? Discover how to rest easy when you're not lying on your back. I hope that the first part of this blog was helpful (time to experiment if you haven't tried those suggestion yet), but you can relax in lots of other positions and padding and props will make a world of difference to your experience.
Ready? Grab pillows, blanket, block or book and let's relax...
There are a lot of advantages to lying down on your back to relax. Your spine is balanced and realigned by the support of the flat, firm ground beneath you. We don't use both sides of our body in evenly so when your body can rest back into the floor in a symmetrical way, it can even out the space in each side.
But lying on your back may not be comfortable or possible, even with all the padding and support I suggested in part one. And sometimes you just need something different. So here are some other resting postures for you to try.
Lie on your front
We think of breathing moving out in front and to the sides of the body. We're not as well connected with the feeling and sensation of the back of the body, so you might miss the way you breathe there. It's a lot easier to notice when you're lying on your front and you could discover a whole new and different experience of your breath because there's more lung tissue in the back of the body. When I was small, babies were put to sleep lying on their front and I wonder if that's why I preferred the position to sleep for years.
Lying on your front also feels protected and safe. If you're feeling vulnerable, exposed and anxious, this position can help to calm your nervous system.
There are downsides. You'll tend to move your head to one side and stretch your neck but favour one side - sometimes exclusively - setting up an imbalanced stretch right through your shoulders, spine and hips. It may never be a problem, but you spend a lot of hours asleep and it's worth considering if pain in any of those areas stems from your sleeping posture. Aim to spend an even amount of time on each side. Like this.
(By the way, I take the photos on timer - which is why I sometimes look a bit weird...I hope!)
Side and front combo - flapping fish posture
This is another popular sleeping posture and you might feel more relaxed in a familiar position. I have no idea why it's called flapping fish (answers on a postcard!). The bent leg stops you rolling forwards onto your front. Again, it's one sided, so you need to make sure that you even out by alternating sides. You might prefer to use a thin pillow, block, book or folded blanket under your head so you don't get pins and needles in your arm. Use the smallest support you need.
After about 28 weeks, pregnant mums need to sleep on their side (ideally the left side) but baby bump will stop you rolling forward before your front leg is really on the ground. It can put pressure on the joint at the back of your hips, so add a pillow or a block for support. Works very nicely when you're not pregnant too.
Lie on your side Remember only use as much padding and support as you need and to alternate sides. You might be fine with no support like this one.
Or you might like padding under your head.
Or padding between your legs if your hips, lower back or knees feel tender and need support. Another popular sleeping posture in pregnancy.
Put your feet up!
If you've just had one of those days then putting your feet up changes your perspective and refreshes your system. I find these postures soothe my spine as well as my frazzled nerves. Play with padding under your hips or waist to find your own unique recipe for relaxation.
You can bend your knees and stand your feel on the wall, or bring the soles of your feet together with wide knees to give this posture a different flavour. A pillow under your feet is comfortable and protects the wall.
Or rest your lower legs on a chair or sofa seat while you're lying on the floor. I've used a stool so you can see more clearly in the picture. The support needs to be about the same height as the length of your thigh bones, so you may need to experiment around the house until you find something that's just right for you.
You don't need to lie down for relaxation at all. You could sit up too. Or, if you love that resting feeling of child pose, you can add padding to make it an even more delicious release. Padding under your ankles can help you avoid pins and needles in your feet. Padding behind your knees gives the joint space and support. Substitute the pillow under your head for a rolled up duvet to sink into extra special comfort.
If your back doesn't like that rounded shape in your spine, then you can get the same feeling and keep your spine long and neutral by using a higher support. A sofa seat or dining chair works great, but the stool makes it easier for you to see in the picture. (You should have seen me scrambling to do that in the 10 second timer!)
These postures are a useful starting place, but they aren't meant to be THE definitive guide. Your own beautiful and unique shape and experience may need something completely different. So now you have some principles and the confidence, go ahead and freestyle your way to a nourishing supported savasana all of your own.