Contraction vs Expansion 

  • Contraction is a state of resistance, tension, a need to control or protect.
  • Expansion is a belief or faith that regardless the circumstance, all is well, and it is safe to be open.
  • Contraction is rigid and impermeable.
  • Expansion is soft and fluid.
  • Contraction feels like the weight of a bull elephant on your mind, heart, creativity, health, and self-expression.
  • Expansion feels like the lightness of a Monarch floating from flower to flower, exploring with openness and wonder.
  • There’s judgment and certainty in contraction.
  • There’s acceptance and curiosity in expansion.

Which state is most familiar to you? 

There is so much in the world today creating states of contraction. Everywhere you turn we are being feed evidence of someone’s righteousness and another’s folly. We are being asked to believe or not believe. We are being challenged to show up and be heard, or to sit back and be silent. There is tension all around us, and it is nearly impossible to not let it in and feel the effects of it on our lives as a whole.

Check in with yourself right now. Take a deep breath and check in.

Can you feel constriction in your body, your breath, your mind? Or has it become so familiar you cannot differentiate it? Can you feel expansion, lightness, and ease? Which do you want more of? And what will you commit to in order to create it?

Not sure? Need support?

It requires both CHOICE and ACTION 

 First, we must choose. There is always a choice. Are we choosing to empower the weightlessness of the butterfly or the crushing of the bull elephant? Are we choosing with gentleness and grace, or from fear and frustration?

Every body benefits from time spent in gentle yoga practice. 

It is a way to move healthfully between expansion and contraction, creating a sense of harmony.

Consciously choosing to slow down and tune in to the subtler layers of Self creates a stable state of ease and expansion. It also allows us to identify where we might be holding or constricting. Constriction in and of itself is beneficial when we can learn to also release and let go. So often we get stuck in our patterns of holding – holding our breath, rigidity in the body and mind – that we forget to let go. A well-sequenced and guided gentle practice encourages the ability to let go.

Whatever the practice, if we want to honor our choices and commitments, it is up to us to take the actions that allow us to coexist with the things that create contraction. The outside world only has the ability to influence us if we allow it.

Life is all encompassing. For every love there is a loss. For every winner there is a loser. And for every moment of bliss there is a moment of devastation. That’s life.

We will be challenged. Our edges will be rubbed. And the difference between living in a contracted, protected state, or an expansive state of flow and wonder all comes down to what we choose, and how we act to honor our choices.

What do you choose? Are you ready to explore the benefits of a gentle practice or a gentle yoga teacher training?

Try a Gentle Yoga class with Dannette Mason, the founder of The School of Gentle Yoga.