Expand & Condense

by Tibi Moravcik


Your body, mind and spirit are influenced by expanding and condensing powers.
Usually, we don’t even notice how these powers affect our lives.
When you become aware of these powers, it’s opening you to a new dimension of being…

Expand – become or make larger or more extensive
open, relax, lightness, fire, movement, flow, supple, youthful, yang


Condense – make something denser or more concentrated
close, stress-tension, pressure, gravity, stillness, resist, rigid, old, yin



Today, most people are too condensed, tensed and closed.
To reach balance, we need to be more open to life, like a sunflower is opening to the Sun…
Open bodies to let the energy flow freely.
Open minds to enjoy the present and be in flow.
Open our hearts to love.

By using expanding and condensing power, you can partly replace your commonly used muscular power to move more efficiently, be lighter, and be stronger and quicker.

Expanding the strength of your tensegrity will decompress your spine and joints.
Expanding power is the best way to cope with the opposite power – stress.



Expansion and condensing happen everywhere and all the time.
It affects all of us, whether we are aware of it or not.
But let me assure you that awareness of this aspect in any part of being will open new dimensions of understanding and freedom for you.


Expand and Condense the body


Soft Power

Expanding and condensing our bodies usually happens subconsciously – depending on our emotions.

In a state of fear and stress, the body condenses.
When we are happy or curious, the body usually expands.

Emotions affect the whole body; however, fasciae has the most significant ability to expand and condense.


A fascia is a sheet of connective tissue beneath the skin that attaches, stabilises, and encloses muscles and internal organs.

However, through specific meditations, we can become aware of this quality and learn to consciously expand and condense the body, mind, and emotions. That opens up other sources of power!

To move our bodies, we use these sources of power:
a) hardcontraction of muscles 
b) softexpansion and condensation of soft tissue (especially fascia)

You can combine the hard and soft power into one united movement.
By using soft power, you become more efficient, your movement flows smoother, and you create less tension.

The soft power of the expanding and condensing is the secret of ‘the superhuman power’ that  Chi Kung and Systema masters demonstrate.


Directions for Expanding and Condensing

Expansion and condensation usually go in lines, planes or spheres.

Expansion – quality makes our soft tissue larger or more extensive.
Direction to expand:
1) From the ground to the sky.
2) From the centre to the periphery or away from the body. It could be from the core, ming men, knee, etc., towards fingers and toes and even out of body. It can expand our organs like the lungs, the bladder, etc.
3) 90° from the bone to the skin surface or further.

Condensation – quality makes our soft tissue denser or more concentrated.
Direction to expand:
1) To the ground.
2) From the body’s periphery (or space around) to the centre. It could be from fingers and toes towards the core, Dan Tian, etc. It can also condense our organs like the lungs, the bladder, etc.
3) 90° from the skin surface, hairs (or space around) to the bone.


Expanding and Stretching

Despite today’s most common use of ‘expanding’ and ‘stretching’ as identical synonyms, there is a significant qualitative difference.

Stretching is based on mechanical flexion (bending an arm, leg, or back). Flexion stretches muscles, tendons, and fasciae in combination with a skeleton. Stretching of soft tissues is passive and doesn’t demand attention.

Expansion and condensation could happen without flexion.
Expansion and condensation significantly influence our movements; however, they don’t need to be manifested as movements! These qualities could change our bodies’ conditions and predispositions.

Expansion decompresses joints and vertebral discs while stretching puts pressure on joints and vertebral discs.

Expansion could be initiated by:
a) external forces (suspending on Pravilo or bar, inversion/traction table)
b) from the inside by
consciously focused attention – a mental activity that physically affects the myofascial complex.

Ultimately, you can synergise stretching and expanding to make them more efficient.


Read about others Aspects of Movements:

Aspects of movement


Power of Tensegrity


In essence, two mechanical systems can maintain weight:
1. compression – bracing – bracing maintains your posture primarily via the bones, joints and discs.
2. tension – hanging – hanging maintains your posture via our fasciae, tendons and muscles – tensegrity.




Tensegrity is based on two powers:

  1. Expanding
  2. Inner Fire

Tensegrity helps to hold your body weight.
In addition, functional tensegrity allows for less pressure on your discs, vertebrae & joints.

Thus, movements are more manageable and smoother by decreasing the chance of injuries. In addition, it makes you feel lighter.

Expanding higher reduces pressure on discs and joints. We can fly..!




Expand to strengthen your tensegrity!




Supple or rigid body construction


There are two ways to build up strong body construction…

The first one builds up by shrinking and tensing. This construction is rigid. It could be firm like stone, but it can also be brittle, like a mud house.


The second one is building up by expanding. Then, our bodies are supple, elastic and light like a bouncing castle.


It is valid not just for the body but also for the mind.


“Men are born soft and supple; dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant; dead, they are brittle and dry.
Thus, whoever is stiff and inflexible is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding is a disciple of life.
The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will  prevail.” 

Lao Tzu


Pravilo – a device to expand


Next to mind control, one of the best methods to develop the power of tensegrity is Pravilo.

Read more about Pravilo… 


The Chinese way to Expand & Condense


Yin lineAbsorbing to dan tien and condensing to the bone.
Yang lineExpanding out from ming men—that means it’s projecting from ming men going out to the fingernail and toenail and coming back from fingertips to the dan tien—must be separated by the bone.’

Expand & Condense – the Chinese way


Inner Fire and posture


We are relaxed but do not passively hang on the skeleton like jellyfish or melting ice cream!
We understand how the gravitational force pulls our physical bodies down, but which force pulls us up???

Vital energy, Spirit, and Light. In Vedic culture, it is called Puruṣha. This energy is also known as Yang energy, Chi (Qi), Ki, or Kundalini. In Slavic culture, it is called  Zhiva*.
Because we understand fire, we can easily visualise the quality of fire; therefore, we will call this quality Inner Fire.
This Inner Fire gives life to every animal; it pulls all plants to the sky.


Inner Fire pulls us up, similar to how fire lifts a hot air balloon.



So, we acted upon two main forces:
Gravity pulls us down, and Inner Fire pulls us up.




The Fire is lifting us, and we wave with our bodies as the wind waves a flag…


A relaxed, flowing body posture directly affects your emotions. You will believe in yourself and your feelings, see your life more positively, etc.

We don’t need to exert extraordinary effort; we relax and let the Inner Fire create our postures.
We can feel how the Inner Fire lifts our bodies if we are sensitive.
A better structure increases Inner Fire’s ability to pull you up more intensively, and letting the Inner Fire lift you up creates a better structure—it closes a positive virtuous circle.

We desire to flow up the same way that fish swim. We don’t just swim horizontally, but vertically up to the sky



Inner Fire flows better through a relaxed, straight body.

We tend to passively hang down on the skeleton; we do not use the Inner Fire to lift us!
A collapsed position causes deformation of our posture and is often a cause of backache. In a collapsed position, the flow of the Inner Fire is restricted – we have less vital energy – Inner Fire, we trust ourselves less, we are ‘down’.



In hanging position, via a screwed body, we are like a fireplace with a blocked chimney. A good chimney creates a draft to pull the fire upwards. Therefore, we must keep an excellent, straight, relaxed position. The Inner Fire flows nicely and easily via the nice, straight body.

Also, undesirable tension restricts not just our movements but also the flow of Inner Fire. Tension makes our ‘chimney’ narrower.





Inner Fire




The Inner Fire helps you automatically flow to your optimum balance without active movement.



Active and Passive Movements


Where does the concept of Inner Fire come from?


I learned the concept of vital Inner Fire from the Cossack masters. The Cossack tradition preserves the treasure – ancient knowledge and philosophy from the European / Slavic branch of Vedic culture (before Christianity).
In Slavic culture, this aspect is called ‘Zhiva’* and ‘Prana’ in Sanskrit; in English, we would call it Inner Fire, or  Spirit.

The path of the Cossack masters is the path of the Light of Wisdom. We let the Inner Fire uplift us and make us lighter. Therefore, Cossacks have a different quality of body; subsequently, Cossacks flow and move so lightly

We are lucky that today, the Cossack culture is open to us, and we can follow Cossacks and be pulled by Zhiva to the sky.

On movers (martial artists, dancers, etc.), we can see who has created a structure by Inner Fire and who works on a solid mechanical base.

*ZHIVA (Živa/Жива), DIVA, SIVA – zhee-vah | dee-vah | see-vah) from Slavic “zhiv” = alive; “zhivot” = life. Goddess of life, birth, spring, fertility and love. She embodies the universal vital powers and brings live-giving forces.


Cossacks – branch of Vedic culture



Our posture can be stiff and solid like a tree. It is not a good idea to be rigid like wood. It’s much healthier to have a fluid quality in the body and mind, to be relaxed and soft:
Flow like water and flicker like fire.




Fluid Being


Focused & Peripheral Vision

Vision is the closest physical body part directly linked to our brain.

It follows that perhaps vision is a helpful tool to switch between focused and expanded awareness.



A focused vision leads to focused awareness.



Peripheral vision leads to expanded awareness.

With focused (tunnel) vision, you can see sharp details of a small point. Your view is narrower, and your attention flows to the point.
With (expanded) peripheral vision, everything is slightly blurred, but your view is much broader. Your attention expands – you can work with more perceptions/impulses.

Focused vision is good when you need to focus on one thing (e.g. one arm, one ball or one body). The problem arises when you try, with a focused vision, to keep track of more than one object, e.g. 3 limbs, 8 balls or a crowd of people. Peripheral vision is much more suitable for multitasking. You have much better spatial awareness in the expanded vision mode.


Focused & Peripheral Vision


Focused & Expanded awareness


Our awareness and attention are not straightforward;  we cannot deposit them into a dual system. To explain it, we simplify them in a spectrum between focused and expanded awareness, from which we gush forth focused and expanded attention.

Nowadays, when we use the term’ attention’, we usually mean ‘focused attention‘…
Focused awareness: Logical thinking is an excellent tool for tactics, plans, and strategy, but there are better tools for initial reactions. In focused awareness, we perceive the world more linearly, in fragments.

Focused awareness is analysing the past and planning for the future.

In expanded awareness, we are not thinking; we flow in the present. Therefore, we are more sensitive, we process information quicker from our senses (we feel more and see kinetic energy and rhythm, and we have better spatial awareness). We can be more effective at multitasking. Our reactions are quicker, more natural, and more intuitive. We are opening up our instincts.
Expanded awareness is excellent for creative activities, such as dance, play, making love, combat, and sports.
In expanded awareness, we perceive the world holistically as one unit.



The difference between holistic and fragmental perception is well demonstrated in this illustration: the difference between bitmap and vector method on making a circle…

Vector – holistic method


Bitmap – linear method



Related blogs:

Focused & Expanded Awareness



Pravilo – device to expand

Aspects of movement