The art of lying down | Sunday Observer

The art of lying down

Groucho Marx’s aphorism “A thing that can’t be done in bed isn’t worth doing at all” is nothing but a confirmation of lying down. You might say only lazy people lie down all the time. And active people lie down only when they are tired or ready for sleep. The implications of Marx’s aphorism however are deeper than such platitudes.

If you are reading this article lying down right now, there is no necessity to defend your position. An eye specialist might say reading while lying down is bad for your eyes. Apart from that if you snuggle into a comfy corner of the bed with your favourite novel, no one can protest, can they?

Healthy people sleep for about seven to eight hours a day. That’s compulsory lying down because no one can sleep while standing or sitting on a chair. You can of course doze off while travelling or sitting on an armchair after a heavy meal. Apart from such occasions, we lie down to relax our tired muscles or to relieve our pent-up feelings. What is remarkable is that the posture of lying down does not demand too much energy or resistance.


When we lie down in bed we might fall asleep and dream all kinds of dreams. We might call it daydreaming. Modern psychologists say daydreaming promotes good health. Apart from daydreaming we can contemplate on serious problems while lying down. On most occasions we get up with a sensible solution. Isn’t that great?

While lying down most of us constantly move around changing our posture. When we stretch out horizontally, we might feel that we are standing horizontally!

Human life is so complex that most of us have to find solutions to a number of problems cropping up every day. In our waking life we try to find solutions while sitting down at a table. In an office we cannot lie down and find solutions to the numerous problems. However, it goes without saying that we find it difficult to find solutions to our personal problems in that sitting posture.

Tuition classes

In a fast-changing world lying down is considered a mark of indolence or a sign of physical or mental weakness. We criticize those who lie down as time-wasters who are not putting their time to better use. However, modern psychology has found that lying down can have positive benefits. It is like taking a walk along a footpath in a jungle. At the end of the walk, we feel refreshed and energized.

Today, children are dragged from one tuition class to another in rapid succession. They leave home without a proper meal. In the past when mass scale tuition classes were unheard of, students enjoyed their leisure after school. They played in open areas and went home to relax. At night they would do the homework. Even adults can be seen rushing to workplaces. At work they may have to do some uninteresting duties. After work, some people do overtime to earn a little more money. Then they return home fully exhausted. Constant stress compels them to seek medical care. If they get out of the rat race and relax a little during the day, many of their problems would vanish.

Tangled arrangement

Those who feel restless all the time should lie down in bed gazing upward at the ceiling for some time. It is always better if you can lie down under a tree and gaze upward at the beautiful sky with the clouds eternally forming intricate patterns. On such occasions your entire mental makeup will undergo a sea change. We cannot experience the same feelings when we stand upright. Viewing problems horizontally is the best way to come up with solutions. When you lie down under a tree, you won’t be disturbed by visitors or by irritating calls. Switch off your mobile phone for better results.

The celebrated American psychologist Robert Levine said, “The economy of time and the pace of our lives is a system with a tangled arrangement of cadences, of perpetually changing rhythms and sequences, stresses and calms, cycles and spikes.” In a fast-changing world we are compelled to move from one place to another constantly. At workplaces most of us do sedentary work. At least occasionally you should move away from this demanding system if you care for your physical and mental health. If you see a villager lying down under a tree watching the birds and the bees around him, he is not wasting his time. This concept should change. Spending some time lying down is something pleasant and essential to life. Although we are not consciously aware of it, the force of gravity always pulls us towards Earth. However, we do not try to obey nature. Instead, we stand erect, sit or walk. Aren’t we wasting much of our energy by going against natural laws?

Healthy practice

Being sons and daughters of the Earth we orient ourselves in two directions from the Earth’s surface. When we walk we remain vertical but connected to the Earth. When we lie down our whole body touches the Earth. However, this does not happen when you lie in bed. Instead, you should lie down on the ground or at least the tiled or cemented floor of your house. Many educated people prefer to sleep on the floor leaving their beds for an afternoon nap. This is a healthy practice to follow. Lying down can be done in different ways. You can lie down on your back, stomach or sides. You can also lie down next to someone you love! Although you need to exercise some physical control when you sit on a chair, lying down needs no such efforts.

The only risk of lying down is that you will soon fall asleep. Lying down is quite natural. We are born horizontally and when we die our bodies are kept horizontal. According to Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, “The three great acts of life – birth, coitus and death – involve lying down.”

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