I am lying on my bed while an American man I don’t know talks quietly into my ear. “I want you to say, 'I’m resting for my shoulders now,’” he instructs in a voice as smooth as honey. “I’m resting for my shoulders now …” I intone, focusing intently on the tension across my upper back that has been causing a crick in my neck.
This man – speaking to me over the phone from his coaching practice in Salt Lake City – is Dan Howard, a hippyish former businessman and founder of an intriguing technique called the Intentional Resting method. Dan believes that “resting” certain parts of the body can help you regain strength and perspective, and even ease pain. It sounds crazy, but he already has a worldwide following of thousands who practise what he preaches.
“People are not taught how to rest any more,” he says. “We’re shown the opposite: stress more, work harder, keep going. What that then does is create frenetic energy which is fruitless.”