Understanding Yin & Yang
Recently there’s been an increased interest to understand the concepts of Yin & Yang. Whether at the weekly meditation workshops I run, or in my private practice, there’ve been more questions than usual so I thought I’d address what it’s all about in this post.
Most people know or have at least heard of Yin & Yang. Many people believe that Yang is masculine and Yin feminine, which is true, but not the complete picture. In fact, it’s somewhat misleading if you get caught up in the feminine and masculine description, because all of us are yin and yang.
What is beautiful about understanding Yin & Yang is that you can relate it to your health and wellbeing (or lack of), and nature as well as your relationship to both. In Chinese Medicine it was recognised a long time ago that good health is indicative of having a ‘healthy’ relationship to yourself and your environment, more specifically the cycles of nature, within and without.
Let me give you a few conceptual descriptions of what you can relate yin and yang to, in relation to your overall nature.
Your own personal Yang energy allows you to:
- get out of bed in the morning
- get things done
- stay active and engaged with life
- think clearly and feel inspired
- be motivated and excited
- make decisions and act on them
- move on from old, expired patterns you may be holding on to
- see things in a fresh and new way
- think about the future and feel uplifted
- move your body
- warm up
- process your food
- regulate and absorb the water in your body
- control all functions in your body
On the other hand your Yin helps you to:
- rest, wind down and relax
- stay calm
- slow down and stop
- feel nourished and nurtured
- feel at peace
- feel grounded and stable
- accept things as they are
- be in the now
- be patient
- be receptive
- be silent
- feel your emotions
- feel your body
- be vulnerable
- cool down (on all levels)
- settle your body
- create form and physical structure
Reading these descriptions, which one do you feel more drawn to? Do you feel you are equally balanced with your levels of Yin and Yang? Energised during the day and peaceful at night? If not, how much more yin or yang are you? Do you see the value of harmonising and cultivating both energy forces within yourself?
We can’t live without one or the other. We are dependent on both. In fact, it is humanly impossible to just be one and not the other.
Just like Nature:
In Nature Yang is connected to the Day Time and Yin is connected to the Night Time. Yang is the Sunshine, Yin the Moonlight. Yang is the Sky and Yin the Earth. Yang is Fire and Yin is Water.
Yin and Yang regulate the duality of our lives as we live on this planet. There’ll forever be day and night, dark and light and so on. Within ourselves we ebb and flow within our own reserves of yin and yang all the time. Sometimes we are feeling more yang than yin, e.g. we may be on the go more and find it hard to stop. Other times we may be feeling the opposite, e.g. finding it hard to move in any direction, feeling somewhat immobile.
This is where our relationship to nature comes in handy, for when we are imbalanced, we can follow that which is balanced around us. For example, it is important to surround ourselves with light when we have too much yin. Say you can’t get out of bed in the morning, it might be a really good idea to sleep with no curtains, so you can wake up with the sun. If you have too much yang and you find it hard to sleep, you may want to start turning the lights off a lot earlier, not look at screens or the tv, perhaps get comfortable with the darkness and silence of the night.
Find it hard to be grounded? Use what’s most grounding in nature, e.g. walking on the cool, moist soil of the earth. Sit on a rock or enjoy the stillness of some quiet place.
Feeling stuck? Enjoy the wild presence of the ocean, forever moving in waves in and out. Feel the ocean breeze as it moves through your hair.
Those are just examples, there’s a lot more one could be doing to balance yin and yang. You can use food to regulate yin and yang within yourself. E.g. salads and green veggies are more yang in nature and root vegetables and meat relatively more yin. If you are too hot all the time, maybe stay clear of chilli and other hot spices. If you can’t get warm, don’t keep drinking iced drinks or eat raw foods.
Different styles of exercise – doing a yoga class would be more yin than than running a marathon.
I hope this helps to shed some light on your own Yin and Yang nature. Please, if you have any questions at all, just comment and I’ll be very happy to explain and go into more detail.
In the meantime,
wishing you a wonderfully balanced day and evening 😉