What expands will contract and what contracts will expand once again. The best and greatest example is our breath. Our lungs expand on the inhale, allowing vital life-force energy to flow in, and in turn, they contract on the exhale, allowing that same energy to flow out. We cannot inhale without an exhale ~ each makes the other possible with the inner space they create.
Thus, we are born through this same dynamic flow that marks our birth and continues with us throughout our life. We move through our comfort zone and emerge into the world which we seek and are ready to belong in, yet also experience the natural tendency to want to draw back, to return to what is already known. Sound familiar?
Have you ever found yourself aware that you’ve settled into a path of least resistance, lingering in personal needs, wants and desires ~ or working too hard or too much or not enough to notice all the new possibilities around you, or that you already have everything you need? Where you’re comfortable or even, ironically, comfortably uncomfortable? Your energy is contracted, static, rather than expansive and dynamic. It's like you’re stuck at the bottom of your exhale.
Immersed in the practice of yoga is a concept known as Spanda ~ the ebb and flow of consciousness. It is the energy that stirs deep below the surface when you feel alive, awake, excited to seize the moment and experience the joy!
The practice of yoga helps guide us on this journey toward consciousness. For some it may be a physical practice, others more spiritual, meditative or breath based. For all of us it is a practical path that guides us back to this moment of opportunity. It offers full engagement of, and participation in, life exactly as it is: a powerful dance between contraction and expansion. Ultimately, we must draw in to expand out and vice versa.
There is beauty in the contrasting forces that emerge here. From over stimulation, or saturation we recognize the ability to draw back and turn inward. To embody the breath and experience the flow of consciousness that can awaken or reawaken us from the looping boundaries of self-imposed habits. There is a tenderness on the physical level where the body melts and the congestion dissolves, offering us a new perspective. The sensations deep below the surface enhance a delicate trust between our busy mind and observant body. It is here that we may illuminate the unconscious holding patterns and lean into the present moment awake and aware. Then we expand again.
The potent energy between expansion and contraction is a powerful tool for all of us to witness and get playful with. Rather than place the two at odds with each other, we can steady the practice through the breath and use the contrast to drop us into the dynamic tension of Spanda, stimulating growth and freedom in our bodies, hearts, and minds.
Recommended Practices & Events
Livestream Discussion w/ Tracey
Tracey is on Instagram Live on Tuesday, May 10th at 12pm PDT for a livestream on this month's theme of Expansion.
The Ebb and Flow of Expansion | 7-Day Series | Begins May 13th
The Ebb and Flow of Expansion is a seven-part yoga series exploring the relationship between expansion and contraction, ultimately discovering new space in the body and mind.
Engaged Expansion Zoom Workshop | May 20th
Join Tracey for a special 90 minute live workshop that is the capstone for the 7-Day Ebb and Flow yoga series. She will explore the practices introduced in Ebb and Flow and develop body trust through repetition and moving meditation. Moving from the ground up, Tracey will open, churn, and promote the circulation of energy patterns associated with each of the chakras.
Classes To Promote Expansion
Programs To Promote Expansion
Meditation To Promote Expansion
Join the Sangha Session (Community Conversation) in the forum: "Yoga helps us expand not just physically, but mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. In what unexpected ways has yoga helped you to expand?"
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