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The Yin and Yang of Life

by | Feb 28, 2021 | Articles, Mindful Movement, Yoga for Menopause

Balancing Yin and Yang means having harmony in your world; your home, your work, your relationships. A good place to start is not going overboard with anything, be it work, emotions or pleasure. But how can Yoga help us achieve balance? 2020 was a year of extremes with prolonged periods of social isolation during lockdown affecting our lives greatly. I certainly found that balance in my own life much more difficult to achieve with so many of my usual activities paused and noticed tendencies to overeat through boredom, binge on box sets or even over exercise. These tendencies are inherent within our human nature but as the saying goes ‘you can have too much of a good thing’.

Deeply rooted in ancient Chinese beliefs (300 BCE), yin and yang philosophy represents the duality of all things in the universe. Yin has a component of Yang, and Yang has a component of Yin, this is represented by the dots in the Yin-Yang symbol. Yin and Yang are constantly changing and cyclical like the seasons. 

This concept has permeated every aspect of Chinese thought including medicine, art and government. Yin and Yang are two halves that together form the wholeness of Qi or vital energy. It is the mixing of the two energies that makes life possible and when this vital energy is appropriately balanced between Yin and Yang it flows smoothly maintaining and promoting an optimal state of physical and emotional health.

Yin is Lunar/ Tha/ negative/ feminine

Yin qualities are quiet, reflective, restorative, being able to relinquish control, good intuition, being a stabilising influence and a good listener.

Examples in Yoga are: A slower paced practice such as Yin Yoga when poses are held for longer and can really work on deep connective tissue and joints. Meditation and Breathing exercises or pranayama are also more Yin.

Yin foods are Soft: Goats cheese, sardine, alfalfa sprouts, Bok Choy, Bananas, watermelon, blackberries, citrus fruits.

Yin in nature: Dark, cold, wet, moon, midnight, hidden, dense, hard or heavy.

Blackberries are a Yin food

Yang is solar/ ha/ positive/ masculine

Yang Qualities are stimulating with lots of energy, creativity, growth, almost unstoppable, can be domineering, dominating, conscious and hyper aware.

Examples in Yoga include: The more active asanas and sun salutations that are building strength and flexibility, more dynamic breathing techniques such as kapalabhati or skull shining breath.

Yang foods are sharp: Peppers, chicken, beef, lamb, cinnamon tea, chai, ginger, garlic, onions, peppers, leeks, pumpkin, shallots and cherries.

Yang in nature: Light, heat, dry, sun, midday, porous, soft or light.

Balancing Yin and Yang means having harmony in your world; your home, your work, your relationships. A good place to start is not going overboard with anything, be it work, emotions or pleasure. This may require a shift of your mindset in order to bring your lifestyle into synchronisation with nature and the more gentle rhythms of life. I am discovering mindfulness practices help me and I really look forward to my Podcast conversations with Mindfulness teacher Sune Markowitz-Schulman and what better place to start when faced with huge challenges than with acceptance!

The Attitudes of Mindfulness: Acceptance

Mindfulness teacher Sune Markowitz-Shulman and I are on a mission to share some simple tools and techniques that can assist us in getting to know ourselves and adopting more mindful approaches to living. Join Sune and I as we tackle the attitudes of mindfulness. This week; Acceptance. Are you having trouble accepting a situation? My teenage son is rocking my world just now. How can acceptance help us to get through?

Watch us Chat on Youtube

 

Listen on your favourite podcast platform

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Author: Phillipa Butler, Chartered Physiotherapist and CEO of Precizion Ltd.

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