Expansion and Contraction

Changing size is the first step to changing point of view and there is nothing more valuable than a different point of view. The ancient oriental art of bonsai, the training and culture of dwarf trees, was originally developed by Buddhist monks as an aid to such exercise.

  1. On inhalation, imagine your self expanding — doubling in size at each stage.
  2. On exhalation, imagine your self contracting — shrink by half, half, half at each stage.
  3. On inhalation, expand out and out See your breath as light, filling your body, the building, the county, the country, the world, passing the planets, past the solar system, the galaxies, the ends of the universe. When you have expanded as large as you can imagine, imagine sending ki as an arrow of light, a jet, a seagull, that disappears over the horizon.
  4. On exhalation, contract in to your body, then passing your body. Focus down to your skin, then on individual cells, molecules, atoms, and atomic particles.

Many Aikido techniques involve expansion or contraction. In kokyu-dosa you want to expand, to become larger and larger until your circle takes in your partner's circle. In a grab, you typically want to become smaller and smaller, enabling yourself to move with ease within uke's grasp, within your own skin.

For a visual example of this exercise, see the movie Powers of Ten,

Ancient Philosophy Of Aikido

Ancient Philosophy Of Aikido

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