What is Yang Energy: As your “fiery energy”, Yang is the action behind every process between your mind and body; it drives and motivates all your emotional , physical, and spiritual decisions. All decisions, from a the abilities of your jumping body to the speed of your functioning nervous system, are considered to be Yang energy.
What is Yin Energy: Yin, our “restorative energy”, allows our mind-body to slow down, relax, and rest. Yin energy are encompasses the elements that nourish our body (including body fluids: water, blood, lymphatics, etc.), and things like sleep, concentration, focus, and determination to follow beliefs/morals/values/purposes fall in line with Yin energy as well.
The foundation of Traditional Chinese Medicine attempts to create as much possible balance between the two energetic polarities, to hopefully establish homoeostasis within the mind, body, and spirit. We achieve homoeostasis when we direct our everyday lifestyle choices to level out these two polar opposites.
On a daily basis, we should be trying to countering our yin and yang actions. If you’re mentally challenging yourself on a busy day, be sure to counter yang energy with a physically restful and restorative yin action, like gentle yoga. By doing this, you’ll counter the mental yang energy with a corresponding physical activity, balancing out the demanding yang with nourishing yin.
Try and imagine your life – actions, feelings, and thoughts – are governed by a scale balancing the yin and yang energies within your mind-body. The goal is to try and consistently even out all your actions, your feelings, and your thoughts; you always want to stay balanced, right at your centre of gravity.
You can exercise Yin and yang polarities in all the areas of life:
In connecting with yourself
Yang: Be action oriented and decisive; have motivation, drive and willpower.
Yin: Learn to relax and find a purpose to follow. Make room for personal time to reflect and truly enjoy your life; practice meditation, prayer, and connecting with nature.
In connecting with others
Yang: Practice being sociable, personable and extroverted. Speak to others, reach out to them, and share.
Yin: Be perceptive; listen and be thoughtful, be compassionate and understanding. Turn inward, receive, build rapport and trust with others.
Balancing Mental and Physical
Yang: Activities that constitute as physical work: hard labour, yard work, gardening, cleaning, exercising, lifting, etc.
Yin: Habits that reflect mental work: educating yourself – reading, writing, meditating, teaching, singing, playing instruments, drawing, painting, baking, cooking, etc.
Yang: Foods/liquids that promote yang energy energize your body, kick start your metabolism, and build up muscle. (coffee, caffeinated tea, meat protein, lentils, seafood, spicy foods, garlic, ginger)
Yin: Foods/liquids that promote yin energy replenish and hydrate your body. Water, caffeine-free teas, most fruits/veggies, and cooling foods such as cilantro, peppermint, and cold soups.
Yang: Our Yang energy regenerates itself at night. Yang energy peaks during the day, and is strongest at noon; in the evening Yang gently gives way to Yin. Without enough Yang in the body, energy lacks, and many individuals find themselves waking up exhausted regardless of their sleep patterns.
Yin: The evening is the natural time of Yin energy to flow through our body, mind, and spirit. Yin promotes rest, relaxation and good sleeps. Those who are Yin deficient will likely have trouble falling/staying asleep, recurrent nightmares and the potential of suffering from insomnia.
Yang: Yang exercises are rather intense in nature and usually result in muscle fatigue, dynamic moments, and heavy cardiovascular activity. Good examples include weight-lifting, competitive contact spot, and power yoga.
Yin: Yin exercises tend to leave you feel rejuvenated, instead of depleted. Think walks, easy swims, stretching and yin yoga.
Yang: Roles that require extroverted personalities, who are comfortable with public speaking and presentations; positions that require a lot of energy and aggressive traits like brainstorming, marketing, social media.
Yin: Job roles that fit with introverted personalities and calm attitudes. These fit well with people who are creative, pay close attention to detail, take their time and staying organized.
Day in and day out, you can think of balancing exercises as a way of attracting opposites. Remember to monitor yourself, and make conscious efforts to keep yourself aligned, by equally focusing on both energies. When attention is focus on just one energy, we become depleted and it’s hard to effectively manage our lives; keeping our lives on that centre of gravity lets us easily navigate through life events, making us more adaptable, resourceful and balanced human beings.