The Beauty of the Space Between II – Sun Salutations


Inner Landscape 6
The moment when one pose transforms into another.
The moment when materials merge with intention to become art.
The place of unknowing, possibility, and potential hovering between a thing and a thing – an idea and an idea – a place and another place.

The space between each yoga pose is a place of ambiguity, an acknowledgement of dissolution – the anything-can-happen moment of transformation. If you take a basic Surya Namaskar or Sun Salute (standing-standing forward bend- plank-catturanga-up dog-down dog-and so on), the rhythm is pose-pose-pose-pose. But what happens in the shift between the poses is the dissolving of one form and the assertion of another.  Utter chaos in the sense that anything could and does happen in that space between the poses:

You inhale or exhale. This inflates or relaxes your body. You wonder what you might eat later. You have the shiver of a recollection of something someone said to you earlier that you need to remember or that chafed a bit or flattered you. You experience pleasure. You experience discomfort. You feel ecstatic and think yes! endorphins! You feel sluggish and wonder if the pose will always feel like this from now on. You think – what if I don’t ever love this pose? You ever-so-slightly adjust the direction of your front foot. Suddenly you feel like everything in your hips is off kilter. You squeeze the feet toward each other, toning the muscles of your legs and feel a burst of energy rise up through your body. You wonder if you need to wash your mat. Why is the person next to you breathing so loudly? That’s ok, actually, you tell yourself. Or maybe it’s not. This has been 10 seconds of your practice.

The Space Between is a universe of possibility – a mental and sensory primordial muck that you can dive into headfirst or dread. Your choice. You can flounder endlessly or you can pull together and sculpt the space with your intention. You can be overwhelmed or you can feel liberated by the momentary lack of boundaries. You can plunge feet first into your choices instead of passively waiting for them to emerge.

Rilke says, “everything is gestation and then bringing forth.”
Contemplate-plunge in-draw out.

In the studio 2010

I was sitting alone in my studio looking at the hundreds of pencils and colored pencils grouped generally by color into a number of jars. I looked at the sheets of deliciously thick smooth drawing paper and realized that I was in the goo, the muck. Not in a bad way. Just an acknowledgement of what was. And this was ok. I knew that a whole bunch of physical, mental, and, yes – spiritual movements had to take place before the pencils and the paper did their thing by means of my eyes, hands, and mind.

You can’t force inspiration but you can’t sit around and wait for it either. Engage. Do the yoga of art. Dive into the muck instead of simply stopping at the contemplation of it. Begin doing, accepting that sometimes the engagement calls forth your creativity and sometimes it doesn’t…it might be a crescendo or it might be a whimper. You can make a bad drawing or have a bad practice, and it is a necessary part of the rise and fall of any creative endeavor.

In the studio, 2010

Sitting and writing tonight, ideas and images poured out my head through my fingers onto the keyboard and took their sprawling form on the computer screen. A rich mess of four pages filled with fragments, ellipses, quotes, ideas, and references had emerged when I finally stopped typing. I closed my computer and went to brush my teeth. Then I stopped, reopened my computer, and wrote this paragraph. In the space between my one action and my next, something gelled, codified. Tomorrow I re-attack the raw material, cutting and pasting until a coherent whole emerges. I move. I draw. I write. We use our bodies and minds to inscribe our worlds – to create and delineate our embodied experience.

I am guest blogger and “Spirit Guide” at SocialWorkout.com   –   April 15-May 15, 2010 
for their Million Minute Month challenge – posting every Tuesday – please take a peek!
http://www.socialworkout.com/2010/04/20/sun-salutations-and-beauty-space-between
Susanna Harwood Rubin

Author Susanna Harwood Rubin

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