THE MAGICAL ART OF LYING FLAT
Although Instagram might have you believe the world and her wife are taking daily naps, under multiple layers of artfully fluffed blankets, the truth is that most of us don't really stop.
Constant busy-ness leaves us with an anxious chest, a lethargic body, and a mind that won't switch off, which I like to refer to as Fruit Machine Head. (A fruit machine is the
English name for a slot machine, in case you were picturing me with a giant fruit head. In which case, I'd suggest a tangerine.)
The good news is that you can dramatically improve all of that in ten minutes a day.
And you'll get a chance to use your favourite fleecy, woolly, fluffy layers. (Unless you live somewhere hot, which for me would mean lying on the bed in my pants with no covers, whining 'don't touch me'. I'm sure you're more elegant.)
What I'm going to tell you is so simple you will doubt its transformational powers.
But I promise you that after working with hundreds of people (and recommending this to them) the many benefits have been proven over and over again.
And all you need to do is this:
Lie flat on your back for ten minutes a day.
Yep, that's it.
Now, your mind probably just went in one of two directions:
1. What am I going to get out of this?
2. I need more details about what this involves.
If you're a details person, don't worry, I've got you covered in my extensive 'lying flat FAQ section at the bottom of this post'.
First, I want to tell you the three main areas where you're going to benefit from lying flat every day: Mind, Body, and Energy.
Mind - The monkey that likes to run a metal stick along the railings inside your brain finally goes silent, you get clarity on your next move, and after a few days you feel much less tense. If you've been a bit of an irritable moo lately, lying flat daily can really help.
Body - During 'waking rest' (lying down quietly but not actually sleeping) your body can perform healing functions that it can't achieve when you're either sleeping or active. Bonus!
Energy - The energy field that you have all around you is in layers, and they fit around you like Russian stacking dolls. When you lie flat, the layers have a chance to settle in place and realign, so you're supporting your energy system and enabling it to do its (many) jobs effectively. This includes processing energy work that you've done (which is why lying flat is non-negotiable self-care for my clients and customers).
At this point you're either thinking, 'ok I'm in', or 'there is no fecking way I'm lying quietly'.
If you're in - crack on!
And if resistance is showing its little face then let's find out why.
I can recall when my kinesiology teacher first told me to lie flat every day. The idea terrified me. Lying down, with no distractions, in silence?
"Can I do it in the bath?"
"Can I listen to music?"
"Can I do it right before I fall asleep?"
"No, that doesn't count."
My brain was scrambling, desperately seeking for an exit from this proposed torture.
I didn't know at the time that my perpetual busy-ness was my subconscious' way of avoiding thinking and feeling about certain things - mostly pain from the past and worries for the future.
Even the idea of being quiet with no distractions was sending my monkey mind on the bus to crazy town.
Always keen to be the model student, I promised I'd lie down when I got home.
Back there later, I was furious! I angrily told Pete and the kids about this stupid thing I'd got to do, stomped upstairs, and threw myself on the bed. Setting a timer for ten minutes, and screwing up my eyes, I felt my entire body heat up with what felt like rage. It took all my willpower to not jump up, and instead I lay there muttering about it being a stupid idea, and probably cursing my teacher. (Not exactly quiet, but it was a start.)
The timer went off, I could feel my skin crawling but I'd survived.
The next day I lay down expecting the same. But something magical happened. As I lay there, I felt the rage and resistance rise up. I heard my mind putting all its worst thoughts on repeat. I didn't try and clear my mind, I didn't do anything. I just lay there. And seconds before the timer went off, I felt something shift. Suddenly, I felt calm. The fury had dissipated, and I felt a sense of peace I could not recall ever experiencing before.
Day three, I was almost reluctant to hope I'd get that lovely calm feeling back, but sure enough, right before the timer went off, there it was.
Day four the feeling came earlier, probably around the nine minute mark, and this time, in the peaceful final minute, something else happened. I'd laid down with a million things on my mind, over-busy and wondering how I was going to get everything done. And in that last 60 seconds, I got absolute clarity. It was as though my brain and vision had cleared so much that I could see exactly what to do. The timer went off - and so did I.
Since that day, I have sworn by the magical art of lying flat.
Having introduced hundreds of people to this ten-minute practise, I've realised that I'm not the only one who wants to ask resistance-fuelled questions like 'Can I do it in the bath?', so here's the FAQ I promised...
Can you just repeat the instructions?
Sure! Lie flat on your back, in silence, with no distractions, for 10 minutes.
Do I have to lie on the floor?
Definitely not! The subconscious likes to collect evidence that I'm suggesting a form of torture, so I get asked this a lot! Lie on the bed, couch, wherever you like, and be comfortable!
Can I do it when I wake up or go to bed?
No. Lie flat at some point during the day, otherwise your bod just thinks it's bedtime and you don't get the magical benefits.
I'm scared I'll fall asleep!
That's why we use the timer - you don't want to lying there worrying about the time.
Can I listen to music or a meditation app?
Nope, no distractions allowed or it defeats the object. If you need to block out noise, use a white noise machine or app with headphone. (And if you're using your phone for that, put it on airplane or do-not-disturb.)
Can I do this with my kids / pets / partner?
It's way more beneficial to do it on your own. This is about giving your energy field a silent space to recalibrate, so if you chuck another energy system on the bed next to you, it's not idea.
What about if I can't lie on my back or I'm pregnant?
I suggest that you use pillows to recline in a more seated position. Just be comfortable. If you set the intention that you're lying flat, your energy system will gratefully compensate for your efforts.
Can I use my phone?
No, no, and definitely - no. Set the timer, put it on airplane mode, and set it away from the bed so you're not tempted.
I still have questions, what do I do?
Just go and lie down. After ten minutes you'll realise all those questions were your monkey minds attempts to wiggle out of trying it - and you'll be really glad you didn't listen.