Monday, June 9, 2014

" Yin &Yang … "

It's got some words and a beat to it
Don't you ask me to stop wanting it
Don't ask me to stop needing it
It's just the Yin & the Yang

Call it Zen or call it Buddha
Inner peace ...
That's just the Yin & the Yang of it

In from the cold, show me ecstasy
Just let the tears roll on out of me
Know what it's like to love
And like to be loved

~ Adam Ant ~ Yin & Yang ~ 

The concept of Yin and Yang recently came up with my doc.  We discussed how important it was for me to balance my yin energy with my yang energy ... via physical activity.  This lead me to look into what each provides and what exercise can support this middle way.

Yin and Yang represents all forms of polarity ... Originally, Yang was simply whatever was clearly visible, illuminated by the sun and Yin was whatever was hard to see, in the shade.  Yang/Yin is the foundation for ancient Asian concepts of body/spirit, a physical, observable, “material world” and an unseen “spiritual” dimension.

And polarity comes from change.  The recognition of change, as a concept related to polarity, leads to the concept of a cycle of becoming with the two polar forces never quite coming together.  Hence, the circular form of the primal beginning t'ai chi t'u (the famous yin-yang symbol).  The yin-yang symbol represents dark and light, cold and hot, soft and hard, feminine and masculine.  

Simply speaking, in regards to working your body, yoga, stretching and sun-saluting to your heart charkra’s are yin activities ... running and lifting weights are yang activities.  Isolation in either groups of activity has their limitations.  The body responds best to a balance between yin and yang activities. 

Think of it this way ... the yin-style exerciser prefers a cup of chamomile tea whereas the yang-style exerciser prefers a triple espresso.  And each has their purpose ... stimulation or relaxations ... winding up or calming down. 


Internal focus

Mind-body consciousness
Calming, focusing, relaxing
Often slow and methodical
Builds coordination, balance, precision of movement
Broad focus on sensation and awareness of body in space
Focus on respect for the body, healing, injury prevention and recovery
Meditative, goal-less practice


External focus

Physically intense
Exciting, energizing
Often fast and forceful
Builds muscle mass, strength, stamina, endurance, power
Narrow focus on activity and individual muscle groups
Focus on effort; acceptance of pain and some risk
Goal-oriented, concentrated task

Too much yang involves extreme bodybuilding, fad diets and some high intensity time training.  Too much yin involves lack of outward intensity and can leave you ill prepared for certain athletic demands.  Again, this can happen … so the blending of the two worlds is always ideal and some integrative exercise programs combine the mind-body awareness ... serenity, resilience and strength.

 often a shift in perception is all that it takes  

Whether you are drawn to the intensity of yang or the calm and focus of yin, satisfaction can result from combining both.  The physical skill and control developed through yin training is enhanced by the force and power of yang training, and vice versa.  All forms of activity can provide a blend of athleticism, flexibility and isometric strength.  And the activity you choose may matter less than the way you practice it.  Mindful practices are classically a yin practice but can be infused with more intensity and force to support your yang practice.  

Personally speaking, weight lifting can induce a meditative state of clarity similar to my yoga practice ... only if I ask myself ... “are you present in it?”

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