Here we continue with our exploration of the semi-supine position.
See to it that you are not tightening the muscles at the back of the neck. It helps if you think of
allowing the books to support your head so that you are not pulling your head onto the books. Also, make sure you are not holding your head off the books, so that you are not tightening the neck muscles and are instead allowing the books to fully support your head.
Think of allowing your head to come out of your back so that your back and spine can lengthen. Do not try to move your head; simply allow this to happen. As you release your neck muscles, it may feel as if your head is starting to come out of your back; at the same time, your back will tend to lengthen and to make fuller contact with the floor. It will also tend to broaden out, which means that the muscles that tend to narrow the back are releasing.
See to it that your are not tightening in your thighs and hips so that your knees can come out of your hips and back. It helps if you think of the knees pointing to the ceiling. You may find in this position that your legs will tend to flop outward. Don't let this happen, and instead think of the knees pointing to the ceiling, and think of letting go in this direction, or into length. As the other parts of the body work better, the thighs will let go as a continuation of the lengthening of the back, and the knee direction becomes part of a total pattern.
It is important to remember that lying down in semi-supine is not a relaxation exercise -- that is, it is not meant to bring about a complete relaxation of muscular activity but a toned, lengthened condition of the muscles. To this end, you must remain alert throughout the process and try not to space out. If you find your are getting sleepy, take a rest, but do not confuse resting with lying down in semi-supine, which is a discipline that requires an alert, aware state of mind. The semi-supine exercise is essentially a mindfulness practice, but one with a very definite physiological goal.