Recently I came across the word “incubation” as mentioned in this video with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and was led to an interview with Peter Kingsley, where he discusses the role of incubation in health. Incubation is to, “just lie down… and wait for healing or guidance or understanding…. You just have to surrender and do absolutely nothing, be very patient and humble (Kingsley in Sepp, 2011).” He mentions that an aspect of incubation in ancient times involved going to shrines of the underworld and that the greatest healing often occurred in touching the hand of death or completely surrendering. “The only way to be healed of certain afflictions was to face the power of death, make contact with it, while still alive (Kingsley in Sepp, 2011).”
In the Body Continuity work I am developing and teaching, I offer an environment for individuals to explore a type of “incubation.” This body of work is based on the principle that if allowed, the body will often regenerate through its own wisdom. I often refer to this work as deep rest and have the experience where the breath moves from a gaseous exchange to that of a more fluid experience, reflective of embryological breathing imprint (Smith & Olsen, 2006), or what I call navel breathing. As the breath deepens this way the direction of the breath also changes from a vertical to a horizontal breathing, where the exhale nestles deep into the front of the back of the body and the inhale springs from the “ocean floor” of our body. This type of breath according to Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen can, help bring individuals toward a preconscious state while maintaining a conscious mind. She believes that embryological breathing helps to build the “marrow and produce red blood cells (Cohen in Smith & Olsen, 2006, p.26)”, which ultimately leads us toward states of optimum nourishment and health.
This practice is fairly simple, but requires patience and attention. Taking up to an hour a day to practice can begin to unwind deeply held fear and tension patterns in the body and replace them with patterns of feeling supported and resourced. Often when this is allowed to happen, you will experience a sense of effortless movement throughout your day, your structure may begin to re-orient, and you will feel more present in yourself, not to mention you may be growing marrow!
Sepp. (2011). Parmenides and the origins of western thought. LALEVA. Retrieved from http://www.laleva.org/eng/2011/05/parmenides_and_the_origins_of_western_thought_.html
Smith, N.S., & Olsen, A. (2006). The place of space: An interview with Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen on the embryological embodiment of space. Contact Quarterly, 31(2), 19-30.