What is Spanda
Spanda is one of the foundational teachings from the ancient tantric philosophies. To be clear, I am referring to the yoga traditions not the modern westernized term for sexual practices. Spanda refers to the pulse of the universe, the essence of life’s natural cycle and rhythm that is always occurring. What that really means is that everything in life is either moving toward expansion or contraction. For example, a seed that drops from a flower at the end of its life lands on the ground in a contracted state of pure potential. If that seed makes its way into the dirt and receives enough water and sunlight, it will move towards its expansion. The seed will begin to grow roots downward and eventually flowers upward. The seed represents limitless potential, while the flower is the manifestation of that potential. At the end of its life, the flower drops several seeds onto the earth and the cycle of potential begins yet again. The teaching is a reminder that all phases of the seed’s life are natural and inevitable. Even in its death, it leaves behind potential.
SEEING SPANDA IN OUR LIFE
At first, this teaching can be something nice to think about, however, when you really observe your life you will begin to notice that it exists everywhere. Knowing that there is always a cycle of potential and manifestation, perhaps we could be less surprised and shaken when the projects, relationships, and circumstances of our life die and come back to the pure state of potential. The issue most of us face emotionally is that we believe everything that is happening now will continue to happen forever. This causes us tremendous suffering on both sides. Do you agree? Have you ever taken for granted the good things in your life? Have you lost something or someone special and spent far too long not moving forward? Yes, we all have, and this is where the teaching becomes helpful. It reminds us of the natural pulse of the universe, that sometimes we are the seed, eager to attain what we need in order to dig our roots into the earth and grow tall into our fullest manifestation. The eagerness is great, but it usually turns into impatience, forcefulness, or a retraction into the protective state of being where we give up far too soon wishing there was a shortcut. On the other side, there are aspects of our life where we are the flower, manifested and full of beauty. We all love this part of the process because it feels like everything is going the way we want it to. The potential downfall is either taking for granted the beauty of our life or simply lacking the clarity to see what we have created or who we have become. Look at your life. Where is your potential? Can you embrace the process, step into it, and let it unfold with every step? Look at what you have already created. Can you see it clearly without a sense of insecurity and self-doubt and find gratitude for who you have become and what you have built?
Where can I practice with teachers who talk about spanda?
Chromatic Yoga Teachers around the world are teaching about Spanda in their classes. Find one near you at www.ChromaticYoga.com
Embrace your potential
Most of our life is spent realizing our potential. To truly love life we must enjoy both the expansion and the contraction. This requires the ability to see the direction of your your actions. If you know where you are going and that you will get there, than you can relax right where you are now.
The Joy of Spanda
At first, the teaching of spanda was hard for me to embrace. I was annoyed at it in the beginning but I could see with great clarity that it was a teaching rooted in truth, not belief. It took some time to stop resisting the truth. I wanted to believe that if I practiced enough yoga and self-awareness I could live a life that is always in that sweet spot of expansion. The essence of what I was wanting was to feel the joy and freedom that I felt in the expanded states of life, and over time I realized that I could feel that regardless of the phase of spanda that my life was in. This is not about avoiding sadness, pain, or the challenges of life. It’s simply about having perspective and recognizing that life is a gift – ALL of it.
To apply this approach to the body, I recommend you check out Hips: Rock and Unlock ‘Em! This online workshop is a journey through what I call the 4 quadrants of the hips, supporting you on the path toward mastery of the inner thighs, outer hips, posterior chain, and hip flexors.
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The most in-depth online yoga immersion offered by Matt Giordano. This immersion contains several full-length workshops focusing on how the body relates to nature’s elements: Earth, Water, Fire, Air, & Space. In addition to deepening your physical practice, you will learn anatomy, adjustments, and the approach to Mastery!
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