I love lying down on the floor. I do it at least once every day – and no, I don’t mean sleeping! Ha!
I mean when I need a break; when I feel a headache coming on; when I feel overwhelmed; when I feel exhausted and still have 4 hours of teaching left.
I think my lying-down routine started when I was in college, trying to cure myself of my overnight jaw clenching habit and ongoing jaw pain. I had TMJ syndrome. My jaw clicked, it hurt after chewing gum for 23 seconds, and sometimes I’d wake up with headaches in the morning.
The only probable cause of the syndrome was stress, so I began accumulating relaxation practices.
Lying Down on the Floor is one of my absolute favorites. I thought it good timing to share this practice after bellies and bodies are full from Thanksgiving and the holiday rush is on its way.
I could write volumes about this simple practice, so consider this your first Lying Down Lesson:
1. Prepare the Space:
a. Identify a quiet, safe place.
b. Find one strip of floor just big enough for your body.
c. Turn off your ringers, bells, whistles, and any other distractions. Tell your loved ones you are not available.
d.If you’ll be distracted by lying directly on the floor, put out a sheet, blanket or mat. (Notice I did NOT say to CLEAN your floor first. Just clear space, put something down and get to the practice! You can clean another time).
e. Make sure the temperature is comfortable. Cover yourself with a blanket if it’s cold.
2. Set the Time: 5 minutes on a timer that will ding when you’re done.
3. Shift the Energy: Lie Down
a. Lie down on your back completely, legs extended.
b. Open your legs about a foot apart so there is space between them.
c. Let your feet flop to either side.
d. If your lower back begins to ache, bend your knees and stand your feet. Separate your feet wider than hip distance and let your knees fall in towards each other for support.
e. Place one hand on your heart and one hand on your belly.
f. Follow your breathing with your mind and your hands. Allow the breath to fill your body. Imagine all unnecessary tension draining away.
a. When the timer dings, slowly roll to one side.
b. Sit up Slowly. Pause.
c. Stand up Slowly. Pause.
5. Reflect: Notice if anything is different.
I recommend beginning this practice as a pre-bedtime routine. You may fall asleep on the floor 2 or 3 or 10 or 52 times at first. Eventually, your body will learn that you are training it to be in the place between awake and asleep: the place of rest.
I challenge you to try this 5 nights in a row between now and the next time I write, which is Dec 14. Can you commit to that?
Not only did this practice help my jaw tension (which is practically non-existent now), it improved the quality of my sleep and helps me manage my energy on a daily basis.
IT’S FREE!!!! IT’S DIY!! Isn’t that the best this time of year?!
Try it and tell me how it goes!
PS – Know anyone who could use some rest and might like these simple instructions? Please send this blog post along!