Being a practitioner of Tai Chi and Qi Gong now for more than two years, I have come to understand how important it is to have a healthy balance between Yin and Yang energies, both within us and outside of us. Yin energy is the energy of rest, introspection, integration, reflection and silence. Often misunderstood to be the weaker component, the Asians understand the Yin aspect as the beginning of all manifestation in the outside world. Before we act, we must use our intention to direct our action. Yin is our intention and creative part. Yang energy is the doing, the active part of our existence and the aspect that is most celebrated and encouraged in our modern-day society. It pushes things forward in the material realm and makes changes around us.
One way I like to look at the Yin and Yang components is that Yin is aligned with the spiritual aspect of our existence (the invisible realm) and Yang is aligned with the physical aspect of our existence (the visible realm). Our modern-day society focuses a lot more on the physical realm than the spiritual realm and I believe this is where we need to readjust our compasses. Naturally the reality is that for thousand of years, we have been governed by a patriarchal structure and we have suppressed the ancient wisdom of matriarchal society. In order to bring harmony and peace back into our homes and society, it is essential that we keep the Yin aspect alive and strong. Here are some personal tips on how you can nourish your Yin side more.
Create Silent Time
Every day I put aside time to be in total silence. Sometimes it is early morning and sometimes it is before my bedtime. I turn off my cell phone and close my computer, and I just sit in silence for as long as I feel I need to. During this period, I empty my mind of all thoughts and preoccupations and focus on feeling peaceful. In this silent space, I am practicing the art of meditation which is part of the Yin component. I let go of the visible realm and focus on the invisible realm. I want my spirit to expand and take over and forget about my body and mind for a while.
Write to Reflect on Your Life
When I was eight years old, I began to write a diary and never stopped writing. I write for many reasons but the primary reason is so that I can reflect back on certain events that happened in my life and analyse my own behavior or reactions. My diary becomes my every-day mirror and sometimes, I see things that I dislike or wish to change. I also write to clarify my direction in life. If you don’t have this practice, it might be time to start writing a journal just so that you can develop the reflective side of life and allow yourself room for introspection. When we take time for silent time, we can live a more complete and fulfilling life.
Eat a Balanced Diet
If we consult Chinese doctors, they will explain to us that our bodies need a good balance between Yin and Yang foods to be healthy. Yin foods tend to be poor in calories and rich in potassium while Yang foods are usually rich in calories and sodium. Normally we should eat Yang foods during the cold seasons and Yin foods during the hot seasons. If we google Yin and Yang food charts, we find a lot of information on internet. Yin foods include soy, crab, cucumber, eggplant, sprouts and apples. Yang foods include nuts, avocado, coffee, red meat and eggs. When we become tuned to our bodies, we realize how food affects our minds, bodies and spirits and how important it is to not exaggerate in the calorie and sodium departments.
Do Tai Chi and Qi Gong
The best way I have found to keep my Yin alive and strong is through my daily practice of Tai Chi and Qi Gong. The 24 movements of the Yang style were designed by Chinese masters in 1956 to offer great health benefits to anyone who practices them regularly. Tai Chi helps us release negative emotions and empties our minds, but most importantly, it allows for us to dance with our Yin and Yang energy. In this smooth and elegant meditation in movement, we find great inner peace and joy. I was a joyful woman before discovering Tai Chi and Qi Gong but now I can humbly say that I am a fountain of joy!
Take time to look at your life style and notice where the disharmonies lie. Are you always running around, doing a hundred different things, out of breath, dizzy and tired? Or are you sitting at home in reflection and inactivity and perhaps even lethargy? Health and joy come when our Yin and Yang energies are dancing together in perfect freedom and harmony.
(As published in InnerSelf Magazine June 2017)