A Winter's Tale: Practice the Story of your Life

A Winter's Tale: Practice the Story of your Life

A Winter’s tale and Inner Practice by Judy Hirsh Sampath


The word “hibernate” originates from the Latin to ‘occupy winter quarters’. Consider the word ‘quarters’ and how you will inhabit your quarters this winter as you are called to stay inside more.

Winter conditions are a natural calling to close the draft out, filter out the bombardment of information coming in, curl up to keep warm inside. 

The body is always striving for balance and homeostasis. As you ride the waves of life, now is the opportunity to go beneath the waves and settle in. Now is the time to linger longer in the dark, pause to rest and spend time in your inner neighbourhood, getting to know the characters who live in the community of your own body.

Practice -  The Story of your Life


This exercise may inspire you to hibernate in the creative quarters of your being and see where it leads you. It’s not a “yoga practice” as such, you can find many practices you can do on your mat and advice on getting through the winter months. Something different can offer in-sight and self-awareness in the most unexpected ways, something new that might surprise you. I hope this idea will ignite something in you to keep you warm and engaged. 


As you settle down and collect your mat and props, start to imagine a movie of your life; a long story you tell about yourself from your past or a dream that you have for the future. If you use the phrase 'the story of my life' or 'welcome to my world', what does that mean to you? Where would you begin the movie of the story of your life? Which story would you use as the main plot and what would you weave in as sub-plots? What genre would it be - romantic comedy, thriller, Disney fantasy, musical, melodrama, horror, indie arthouse, documentary?


Occupy your winter quarters. Start lying prone on your yoga mat or over a bolster where your forehead is resting on the backs of your hands, cushion or floor. Close your eyes and move your head a little across from side to side, feeling into the space behind your brow - the chidakasha, space of consciousness. This is the 'wide screen' space where all your dreams are screened, your unprocessed stories appear. Suspend your everyday life and stay here for some time and notice what happens over time. 

Now start to move your body, small micro movements to big sweeping movements - rising up from prone into cobra, coming to all fours, finding your way to down dog, forward bend, standing on your two feet with your head on top of your shoulders. 

Notice sensations in your body and choose one to focus on. Lean into yourself. Who is here? Can you see, hear, feel them? Get into character. If this sounds silly, well silly can be refreshing if you don’t ‘do silly’ often.

If this doesn’t work for you, go to your wardrobe and pick out a costume. A good way to start is to find an outfit hidden in the back of your wardrobe that you have never thrown away because it has meaningful memories for you, a picture in time of who you were in that moment.  Move in character, speak in character, throw some shapes that express the essence of the character, find a pace or rhythm - get deeper into this part of you. Ask yourself, who the main character is here, what resources they have and what difficulties they are experiencing. 

Check in with your senses. What can you see on the screen behind your forehead (chidakasha), what is the soundtrack, follow where it takes you, how do these ideas land in your body. This may be enough. You don’t have to do this as a linear narrative, pick a moment and dwell in your quarters, cosy up with a bed time story to yourself.


To continue

Continue to act, write, move, imagine to find a creative outlet. 

From here, you can develop the narrative – how your movie, play or story would start, which characters you would include, and how would you like the ending to be. 

Take time with the ending, try out all different endings and choose one that satisfies you in some way, it can be ‘based on a true story’, with new embellishments, characters, scenes and especially a new and wildly imagined ending! 

How does ‘happily ever after’ translate for you, if at all? Or does your story end with a question mark?


Be as creative and wildly daring as you like. Your body has been with you the whole of your life. Your body holds your history, your ancestry, your soul - it’s all inside, a vast well of characters, voices, spirits, memories. 

Allow yourself to dream free, turn thoughts into hopes and dreams, limitless possibilities and choices. 

If you would like to dream wildly about your life stories and direction or thinking to train as a yoga therapist, contact Judy for a discovery call judy@yogaunited.com  Who knows where it might lead.