liminal space

  1. relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.
  2. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold

When I am bringing my students out of śavāsana, I usually ask them to curl onto their side in a foetal position, head resting on the lower arm. This brings the spine into its primary curve, just as we were when coiled into the womb space, quite literally surrounded by our mother.

I invite my students to rest in this shape for a few breaths, taking the time to just be in this in-between, liminal space, before we close our practice together and everyone moves off into their individual lives.

Lately I’ve been thinking about the nature of this space.

There is a word in Sanskrit – sandhya – that designates the space where two things meet. The place of transition, of potential… It is the suspension felt at the top of the inhalation, the void at the bottom of the exhalation. It is where dawn meets day, where dusk meets night.

It is the womb of the world from which all things are born.

In my previous blog reflection I spoke of my Bharatanatyam teacher in a video clip he shared with me. A small figure in an immensity of sky, river, and earth – he is seen walking away from the camera witness, becoming smaller. Then he stops.

For a moment frozen in time he raises his arms into the starting position for dance. He enters the liminal space. The space opening out from everything preceding this moment. The birthplace of everything that proceeds from this moment.

Can we sit in this space…?

And how would this change what is to come?

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