The Best Back Support: lying on the floor
Jun 28, 2021 - Meghan Pickrell
In last week’s entry I wrote about the benefits of sitting on the floor. Today, I’m exploring lying down! Lying on the floor in the ‘constructive rest position,’ (which I will demonstrate for you today) is a wonderful reset for your pelvis, back and psoas (the muscles that connect your back and hips). Just lying on the floor can do wonders for a sore back.
Who knew that the floor is such an accessible and efficient tool for improving your physical health? There has been some evidence that sleeping on the floor helps with back pain and sciatica. That being said, simply lying on the floor in the constructive rest position for 10-15 minutes is what I recommend for balancing the spine and pelvis. I also love the simplicity of it. Lying on the floor in a completely supported position takes away the fear of hurting yourself or making a false move that exacerbates existing pain. There is only the feeling of restoration and healing in this posture. Here’s how to begin:
Constructive Rest Position
- Cushion. Make sure that you have a little cushion on the floor. A yoga mat on a rug or carpet or a thicker pilates mat, like this one, will do the trick. A folded blanket will also work. You don’t want too much cushion. The firmness of the floor is meant to serve you. You want a small folded hand towel under your head. This should only be about an inch to 1.5″ thick.
- Lie down! Lie down on the floor with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle (see photo). Your feet should be about hip width apart or in line with your sit bones. If this position is uncomfortable for your back you can place your lower legs and feet on a chair.
- Breathe. As you breathe, allow your belly to rise and fall. You can imagine your breath dropping down into the hollow basin of your pelvis. Your belly will inflate as your inhale and deflate as your exhale. Try inhaling and exhaling for a count of 4.
- Notice. Ask your body to show you any places of tension. Next, ask your body if it can release that tension. Don’t worry if your body doesn’t want to let go. It’s not our place to judge (I mean this kindly). Just breathe and allow. The tension will dissolve in due time.
- Slowly arise. After about 10-15 minutes slowly roll on to your side. You may want to stay side-lying for a few minutes. Then push yourself up to sitting. Take a moment there. Once you arrive on your feet, walk around for a few minutes. This is really important. Just walk around your home and notice any changes in your gait. Do your back and hips feel different? You may be a little sore or you might feel more mobile. Both are fine. Check in with yourself throughout the day. As the day progresses, you may feel different in your body.
I recommend doing constructive rest position in the morning or midday. This can be your ‘Movement Practice’ for the day! Part of my intention with the creation of this website is to encourage you to get on the floor every single day. Is the message coming across 😊? Some days you get on the floor and go through a vigorous program. Other days your body will want a restorative experience. Both are equally beneficial for your mental and physical health. This is a ‘Movement Practice’.
To progress the constructive rest position into more active movements, I recommend Psoas Release. I’ve also created Back Care as a session to help ease back pain. Both are found in our Wellness Collection.
If you’re a Los Angeles local be sure to come by our Pilates Studio in Los Angeles .