When I think of the world we live in today, I immediately think fast-paced, over-stimulated, and disconnected. There seems to be a lack of harmony within our society and within ourselves. It seems like everything we do is in excess–the old-work-hard-to-play-hard theory. However, what we’re not realizing is that we’re over exerting our energy and completely burning ourselves out. So what’s a powerful, hard working person to do? Add more yin to your life!
When living in Hong Kong, I was first introduced to the Chinese philosophy of yin and yang. Yin and yang are defined as the bright and dark sides of an object. It’s a system of opposites designed to describe and simplify the world we live in, including lifestyle and food. Furthermore, it’s said that the main purpose of yin and yang is guided by the law of unity of opposites. Neither could survive without the other.
Without even realizing it, I naturally adapted to this belief system while living abroad. Although I was living in a fast-paced city, my life was effortlessly balanced. Work did not take precedence over my social life, nor did my social life take over my health. Everything was in perfect unison…until I moved back to America. This is when the battle of yang and yin began. Instinctually, we conform to the environment we are in, and yang was the stronger energy. When I first moved home, a lot of transitions were happening, propelling me forward to the point where I was constantly working and moving non-stop. Before I knew it, my mind and body were completely out of whack–I was having full-blown panic attacks and feeling generally discontent. My body was starving for balance.
In respect to the Chinese philosophy, to be your best self, there must be a perfect balance of yin and yang. Yang qualities can be described as hot, light, day, logic, down, masculine, strong, contractive, and past while yin qualities include cool, dark, night, intuition, up, feminine, sensitive, expansive, and future. When there are more qualities of another present, imbalance occurs in the mind and body. Once I began to acknowledge how unbalanced I felt, I realized the need to incorporate more yin qualities back into my life.
Here are 5 ways to add more yin to your life:
Traditionally Americans eat a lot of yang foods that are heavy and rich. Therefore, I went from going from a more yin, macrobiotic diet that was full of fruits and veggies to an extremely yang diet. So if you feel like your diet is weighing you down, you could benefit from adding from raw and balancing foods such as fruit, leafy green vegetables, oats, and beans.
A great way to regain balance all around is through yoga. I’ve been known to be drawn to more yang-type exercises such as Vinyasa yoga or HIIT workouts, yet this isn’t always best for our bodies. To reduce the heat in our bodies, we must add cooling rituals, and this can easily be done through yin yoga. Yin yoga is a slower practice that focuses on restoring the body through gentle movements. Here are some yin poses to help restore the balance.
Look to the Future
Another yang trait is constantly looking and analyzing the past. Without the past we cannot grow; however, harping on the past can be harmful to your current state. The perfect way to move forward and add more yin is to inhale the future and exhale the past. Think about what you would like to accomplish for yourself and set a plan to make it happen. Write it all down, revisit your goals often, and let the manifestation process begin!
Nurture Your Feminine Energy
There is nothing wrong about being a strong, independent woman, but sometimes it gets the best of us. Too much masculine energy can make us insensitive, aggressive, and closed off. So, to find the balance we must add more feminine energy to create the balance within. Try getting in touch with your emotions and journaling your feelings or tap into your creativity through painting or music. Incorporate calming colors and flowers into your space to promote femininity and sensuality. More importantly, take time for yourself and your needs, nourishing your inner and outer body.
The easiest way to establish perfect harmony and move back into yin energy is by simply slowing down. Take time for yourself and truly relax. Soak in a nice warm lavender bath or take a long nature walk. It’s easy to let the chaos of life take over your needs–we’ve all been there. Just remember that everything in life is about balance; we cannot fully thrive without recharging every once in a while.
How do you balance your yin and yang?
Also by Jess: Yoga for Self-Love and Empowerment
Related: Kundalini Yoga Poses for Calm and Relaxation
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