Polar Bears, Watercolour by Kirsten Harris
‘Winter, a time for hibernation.’ The familiar warm tones of David Attenborough’s voice over … an idea begins to form. Teaching Alexander Technique at school, as we approach the shortest day of the year, we talked a little about hibernation before a semi supine session, likening our constructive rest as being a 20 minute hibernation for humans. A time to snuggle up and drop deep inside, like a bear in a cave, finding our own inner place. A quiet cosy at home place that is really necessary to access in the long cold dark winter months here in Scotland.
The bear in a cave analogy worked well with the 11- 13 year olds on many levels. Sometimes it takes a few minutes for the children to settle, being easily distracted by each other. ‘The bears are popping their heads out of the caves again!’
I asked them to think about the long bones of the body as passages and caverns of their inner cave, the head being the entrance and to begin to explore the depth and design of their hibernating place before letting their thoughts come to settle by the warm glow of their hearts. To enjoy resting by the flames of the inner fire that is keeping them warm and cosy and safe. Aware simply of this beautiful warmth and their breathing, taking a bit of time out from the world, from school. No need to do anything, winter can go on without you for now.
A deep sense of ease and peace was palpable in the room.
One child commented that every time a thought about the outside world popped into her head she imagined putting it on a leaf and letting it float downstream on the river outside her cave. Nothing from the outside was to come in as she hibernated. Beautiful!
‘Slowly spring emerges and hibernation is over.’ David Attenborough’s voice over is in my inner ear again …
After your 20 minutes human hibernation let spring emerge slowly. Know that your muscles will be more springy as they have had a chance to release into length on the floor. You will be in better shape, physically, mentally, emotionally. Move with a yawn, yawn with a stretch, enjoy exploring your surroundings anew after your hibernation, refreshed and more at ease after your rest …
This winter I invite your daily ease to be 20 minutes inner hibernation in semi supine. Take time out to settle by the fire of your inner cave and perhaps give your self a mind’s eye bear hug for a year well done!
For a voice over to encourage your inner hibernation in semi supine, here are links to my recordings –