Let me introduce you to the term Spanda
“Spanda, is a Sanskrit word meaning “divine vibration”, or pulse. This term is used to describe how Consciousness, at the subtlest level, moves in waves of contraction and expansion.
Spanda, according to Kashmir Shaivism, is the creative pulse of the Absolute as it manifests into the dynamism of Relative form. It might be understood as the universal desire to manifest, like an eternal spring, joyfully over-flowing and always full.” Dyczkowski, Mark S. G. The Doctrine of Vibration.
In other words, there is Consciousness, out of which everything is continuously arising (through expansion and contraction) due to Consciousness’s desire to manifest (into form). Spanda is the energy that creates and pervades all of life.
When I consider this, it makes everything feel so present, active, and alive, the opposite of dullness and stagnancy. My focus also becomes more on this moment as it arises as opposed to seeing things in linear form. Nothing is completely still, down to the smallest subatomic particle everything is moving/pulsating/vibrating.
“I could see this radiance of Consciousness, resplendent and utterly beautiful, silently pulsing as supreme ecstasy within me, outside me, above me, below me.”
(Baba Muktananda's experience of final liberation)
Even though both Expansion and Contraction are always happening on the subtlest level we have the choice in every moment to give more or less energy to any particular thing.
We have the ability and opportunity to…
Attract – Release
Invite – Reject
Amplify – Nullify
Attach – Detach
Feed – Starve
Where is your focus right now?
What are you giving your attention towards?
What is wise to welcome in and wise to release?
Become more aware of what you want and what you don’t want.
Become more conscious of your actions.
There is the constant condition of movement and change, and we have the power within to direct it one way or another.
As we Expand and Contract our bodies in our physical Yoga practice, be clear in what you want to Expand and Contract off the mat in the beautiful vibration of your lives.
Ways to explore Spanda in your Yoga Practice
Breathwork - Meditation
In a comfortable seated position, close your eyes and feel the breath. Feel the opening, expansion of the chest when you inhale and the de-compression and softening contraction on the exhale.
- Add in movement with the arms, expand them wide to the side on the inhale, and wrap them across and around your body on the exhale, repeat 8x.
Experiment with holding the expansion of the chest on the exhale.
Feel the lungs inflate and deflate 360 degrees, visualising the lungs as a 3d shape.
Broaden your awareness and sense the vibrations of the universe.
With your first two fingers, feel the pulse on the opposite wrist.
With your hands over your heart notice the beat – do this multiple times throughout your practice to become more aware of the changes.
PULSE – When holding a posture, find your end range, then pulse 8-10 times going a little deeper with every pulse, really feel the pulse of the body and breath.
SENSATIONS – Can you tap into feeling subtle sensations, skin tingling, the inner vibration of your cells, the flow of blood, the movement of breath, maybe a little shaking in those strong posture holds?
OPEN/CLOSE – When flowing choose a large, open, expansive posture where you feel spacious and follow it with a small, closing, contracted posture. Repeat that flow in a rhythm 3 – 5 times.
EXTEND/FLEX – When moving your body parts you can also think in terms of Extension and Flexion. They refer to increasing and decreasing the angle between two body parts: Flexion refers to a movement that decreases the angle between two body parts, Extension is the opposite.
MUSCLE STRENGTHENING – When engaging your muscles, connect with the contraction happening. Can you switch on some other muscles to help hold the strong pose? If it feels intense, become more curious about the contracted sensation and breathe steadily through it.
MUSCLE STRETCHING – When stretching connect with the extension and expansion. For an active stretch, add in some muscle engagement and contract. For a passive stretch, release any contraction.
DUAL ACTIONS – There will be many times when the body will be expanding and contracting at the same time, notice these moments. Warrior 1 for example: There is contraction in the leg muscles in the low lunging position, but the front leg is extended to the front of the mat, and the back leg is extended to the back of the mat. The arms muscles are contracting to hold them overhead, but they are also extended, hands reaching towards the sky.
What other ways are you feeling or finding Pulsation – Expansion – Contraction in your yoga practice?
Peace + Love
“Your hand opens and closes and opens and closes.
If it were always a fist or always stretched open, you would be paralysed.
Your deepest presence is in every small contracting and expanding.
The two as beautifully balanced and coordinated as birdwings.”
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