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- Ella Jolly, Social Worker
New York City

Why lying on the floor is the new nap

If you follow me on facebook or twitter, or have been reading my newsletters for a while (thank you!), you know that besides bodywork, I take care of an awesome toddler. And in the past month, her 5mo old adorable, squirmy and hefty baby bro has been added to the mix. It is wonderful and it can also be EXHAUSTING!

To make a long story short, I’ve had to get even more creative and more strict about self-care. Gone are the days of having a 1.5 to sometimes 2.5hrs break while the toddler naps. Now, I count my lucky stars if I get 30min of time to myself. My natural inclination when that happens is to (almost literally) run to the sofa to lie down (i.e. collapse) and close my eyes until one of them wakes up.

While I’m a huge, HUGE fan of napping, I’ve also (re)discovered the power of just lying on the floor. Legs bent or straight out or alternating. Arms by your side, overhead, or resting on your belly or chest. Eyes closed. Soft, full belly breaths. For me, there is something uniquely rejuvenating about doing this, especially when I’m feeling physically fatigued and/or mentally strained, ungrounded, or just need a quick break. The goal is not to fall asleep, but simply to give myself time to rest and become aware of where I’m carrying tension so that I can release it.


This is more like Constructive Rest in the tradition of the Alexander Technique, and less total collapse or napping. The biggest difference I notice is that I usually come out of lying on the floor with more clarity and energy than when I nap, which can sometimes make me feel groggy (especially if I nap more than 20min). Lying on the floor for 5-20min is usually enough to feel some positive shifts.

If I’m really gettin’ into it, I’ll:
:: add a foam roller across my sacrum or mid-back (across the bra line), or under my knees for low-back support
:: put a yoga block under my sacrum to release my low-back (a Restorative Yoga trick)
:: prop my legs up on a chair to help release my low back and hip flexors (knees bent at a 90 degree angle, more or less)

I’d like to put a particularly good word in for doing this at the end of your work day; right when you get home, before eating dinner or getting (back) on the computer, or even fully engaging with anyone you might live with (though I realize that can be tricky). For me, that’s often when I would like to nap, but know it’s too close to bedtime to do so. It gives me the boost I need to have a more graceful, chill, and comfortable end to my day, and a chance to transition, regroup, and let go of some unneeded stuff.

So next time you find yourself needing a break during the day and you can’t exactly take a real nap, or it’s too late to take one, I invite you to switch things up and lie down on the floor (preferably carpeted or on a yoga mat, but a bare floor will do). Go on, see what happens : )

With love + rest,

p.s. If you’d like to learn more about Constructive Rest from an Alexander Technique teacher, allow me to recommend this helpful article.

p.p.s. Know a busy or stressed someone(s) who could benefit from learning about the wonders of lying on the floor? Make sure to share, tweet, or forward them this article!

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