Pain – AT point of view

There are 4 reasons why you may experience pain whilst having AT lessons or practising the AT – in order of likelihood:

1) You are “Doing” the directions – rather than thinking the directions you are making some effort in one area which will have a corresponding painful effect in that area or another.

Directions are thought only.

2) Changing pains – this is common during a period of muscle redistribution.  Some muscles which are held when released may “feel” painful and conversely other muscles that have not been used when engaged may cause an uncomfortable feeling.

As we direct to lengthen and widen we will be aware of the battle of the habitual muscles wishing to contract – this battle can cause changing pains typically in the legs.

3) Emotional trauma – the muscle memory holding a negative experience may invoke a physical reaction.

4) If there is a skeletal misalignment – a structural issue – then the muscle distribution will be such so as to accommodate that.  During AT lessons as muscle tension is releaved and muscles redistributed some skeletal pain may be present before the skeletal pattern realigns too.  If this is found then often It helps to also have osteopathic work or use a McTimoney chiropractor whilst continuing with the AT lessons.

Standing up in semi-supine

This is the direction.

To have the same sense of total support and ease when standing up as when in semi-supine on the floor.

To convert horizontal semi-supine to vertical semi-supine takes practise!

Step one is to begin by imagining the books are behind the head supporting it.


Always starting from the point that it is very likely that we believe to ‘do a thing’ requires a level of effort.

Typically in a lesson we work on this constantly that to walk to stand to sit requires somehow ‘our active participation’! ┬áRather than allowing the musculoskeletal system to react in harmony with gravity and instead simply watch or marvel at the experience.

Everyone likes to add something to that which requires nothing to be added – we call them habits.

The Technique encourages a developing awareness that allows us to see these habits and to truefully accept that they are not helping!

The choice is then there to make.

‘Outside in’ Directions

FM’s traditional directions were internal – “let the neck be free, to let the head go forward and up, to let the back lengthen and widen, to let the knees go forward and away”

But there are also ‘outside in’ directions – a different perspective on the same spatial picture.

The space around you informing you or where you are in the room – the ceiling: it’s distance from the top of the head – the walls: pointing inwards to your shoulders – the top of the knees: never lowering in space even as you walk around.

And most importantly the floor coming up to support you.

try this: stand about 4metres from a wall and guess where the very top of your head is – ask someone to mark the spot.

go check it – is your mental map of yourself smaller or bigger than reality?


Best time for active relaxation – semi supine


Notice if an activity has drawn you in and you’ve spent sometime unaware of your balance of your head over your spine & your sitting bones.

Use the floor

It’s a perfect rebalancing device – the books under the head, the reference of the floor under the back and feet.

Bring your whole awareness into taking back a total view of your space and release into it – let go of the muscle pulls.

Stop pulling the head into the neck the arms into the torso and the legs into the back. Direct everything towards your centre from the outmost extremities inwards – just think it don’t do it.

The neck and back will re lengthen.

Go back to your activity refreshed and start again.

Semi supine should take (with practise) 5 mins only.