Does Lying On Your Back Improve Your Posture?

I've answered another question on the Quora platform, where people ask the general public about anything and everything, but I keep my eye out for questions on posture and ergonomics. This is the question I responded to: 

Does lying on your back on the floor daily for 20 minutes improve your posture?

It can be an aid in improving your posture, but it's not the full picture.


In the Alexander Technique we use lying down with your feet flat on the floor and knees raised as a useful "Constructive Rest" (also known as semi-supine). But you have to take into account that your posture is an activity, so as much as a Constructive Rest can help release some of the postural tensions we accidentally and habitually hold, ultimately it's your behaviour in activity that you need to re-educate. Lying down is helpful, but not transformative. 


Posture is about coordination, and no amount of lying down is going to improve coordination.


The only reason your posture needs improving (ruling out pathology for now) is because you've created interference in your your natural functioning. Your posture is a natural by-product of your environment and evolution, you don't actually need to do good posture anymore than a fish needs to do buoyancy. You need to learn to prevent the habits that take you away from that. Posture isn't a fixed position, but a balancing act, the more you try to hold a fixed position the more you interfere with that balancing act, and the more tired you get from trying to hold a fixed position.


Instead of the word posture I prefer to use poise, which is as much a mental attitude, and far better encompasses coordination and behaviour, rather than just an ideological shape to be achieved. 

Alexander Technique semi-supine, AKA Constructive Rest
A useful tool for better posture, but not the answer.

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Comments: 2
  • #1

    Patty de Llosa (Tuesday, 28 February 2023 16:31)

    Don’t agree, that no amount of lying down will improve coordination, because when you let go of all that interferes, a new possibility appears whether you were lying down or standing or sitting. It has stayed with me since my training what Alexander said, “If you stop the wrong thing from happening, the right thing does its self.“ Best wishes to all who are in search of answers about coordination.

  • #2

    Adrian Farrell MSTAT (Tuesday, 28 February 2023 18:40)

    Hi Patty, my article is written for those with no previous exposure to AT. Although you're technically correct, one has to ask if anyone with no previous exposure would do anything other than carry on with their usual habits, and behaviour, after lying down, and even if they don't, how much improvement would they realistically achieve, and for for how long? There's a reason our training courses focus primarily on movement.