An Open Letter to Your Boss / by Ariel Carson

Work Rules by Laszlo Bock

Google’s Senior Vice President of People Operations, Laszlo Bock, recently endorsed the Alexander Technique for helping with “desk bound back pain” in his new book Work Rules.

Oh dreamy Google, if only all companies could foster such awesome workplace environments.

My universal vision is that one day everyone with a desk job, or who uses a computer for long periods of time, would learn the skill of Alexander Technique to help them stay pain free and injury free, and reduce work related stress.

In my vision, I see open spaces with yoga mats and soft cover books where employees do Constructive Rest on their lunch breaks, or as part of their prep for big presentations, or even as a way to begin meetings.

That’s why I have drafted a memorandum below to be sent to your boss. That’s right, your Head Honcho, Chief Director President Executive Officer, Charles in Charge, Super-Duper-Visor, to let them know it’s high time some changes were made. Self-care is non-negotiable. Because hey, we all deserve a chance to be as cool as Google. 

And if you already are the boss, this one’s for you.

SUBJECT: New Office Procedure for Immediate Implementation
TO: (insert boss’s name)

I’m writing to notify you of a significant addition to our workday routine. In accordance with the newest standards set forth by the global chapter of the Council for Prioritizing Self Care*, all employees of  (Insert Company Name) may now lie down at any given point during the work day in a semi-supine position, with books underneath their heads, eyes open, knees bent, and the soles of their feet on the ground. See photo below.

Alexander Technique Brooklyn - Constructive Rest

Please do not be alarmed. Work responsibilities are not being shirked.

This is the Alexander Technique practice called Constructive Rest, and while it may appear from the outside as a drop in productivity, studies show it actually boosts the overall company morale. (See study).

Here’s how:

  • Muscles get overly tight from long stretches of computer work, or because of stressful meetings, presentations, and/or important phone calls. In Constructive Rest, you become more aware of how your muscles may be overworking, and release the extra tension. This means fewer early workday departures because of tension and stress headaches, or repetitive strain injuries flaring up.
  • As your muscles release, your mind stops racing and your breathing opens up. You calm down through your whole mind-body-self.
  • As you practice being aware of both your inner sensations, and the environment around you, you feel more connected, and less isolated; less like you have to do everything all on your own. It’s a reminder that you can avail yourself to the support of the ground, as well as the support of your colleagues.  
  • By taking care of yourself, when you return to your other work tasks, you feel much more centered, lighter, and more spacious. You are refreshed, able to think and make decisions more clearly, and innovate more freely.
  • Applying the length and width you find through your back in Constructive Rest, you are also able to sit at your computer with more conscious, improved, buoyant, supported posture.

Please email me to acknowledge you have read and understand this memo in its entirety, and feel free to ask any questions you may have.


(Your Name)

*The Council for Prioritizing Self Care does not exist as far as I know, but wouldn’t it be cool if it did? Anyone want to start it with me? Send me an email! redefiningposture [at] gmail [dot] com : )  

P.S. To try Constructive Rest for yourself, download a free mp3 audio file by clicking here.

Your comments are always welcome below.