Midlines and Sidelines

by julee snyder


It may seem overly simplistic, but it’s what I actually like about the midline and sidelines concept.

Midlines: We really only have the one midline, but we may sense it differently depending on whether we’re talking about the front midline, the back midline or even the center midline of the body. I think of the front midline as the joint inseams of the legs from big toe to inner heel to inner knee up to the pubic symphysis. It continues up to the naval, the breast bone, center of the throat, centerline of the palette, bridge of the nose to the crown of the head. The back midline follows down from the crown along the spine, the inner lines of the legs to the heels and back to the big toe.

This is associated in yoga energetics with the shushumna nadi, that energetic midline, that passes through all of the chakras. It’s also associated embryologically with the Primitive Streak, our body’s first physical midline, that is a channel that begets the notochord and the subsequent folding of the embryo. It operates as an organizing structure. And I feel that it continues to operate as such today.

We might even argue that our physical sense of self, of “I,” exists here at the midline.

Sidelines: Imagine for a moment that your body had side seams just like many of your garments. Trace those side seams with your finger. Can you feel how doing so gives you a particular quality of information?

I’m reminded of how schools of fish and flocks of birds often sense each other through their side bodies; and that it’s our peripheral vision that is more highly attuned to sense movement; and how much we can orient spatially with our ears, both sound and vestibular.

Play with sensing yourself and your alignment through your sidelines. Play with sensing others through the sidelines as well. Think about parallel play; cooking, reading, sleeping side-by-side; sitting in circles; moving in crowds.

How does this shift your consciousness and your sense of self in relationship?

Happy Practicing!