The concept of yin and yang has been on my mind a lot. Probably because it was mentioned at nearly every yoga class I went to in Bali. But, if you’re unaware of the concept, or need a refresher…
Yin and Yang is a spiritual, harmonial balance of energies. The Yin energy is feminine, calming, intuitive, and goes with the flow. The Yang energy is masculine, focused, and strong-willed. Keep in mind, we all have masculine/feminine energies…this has nothing to do with our gender. Neither one is superior than the other. They both need to work synergistically to create success, happiness, and harmony.
In our culture, most of us are operating under the yang energy. We push through our schedules. We grind at work all day. We grunt through intense workouts. We get it done. The only time we allow ourselves to slip into a yin state is maybe during yoga, sex, or a massage. It seems like we need this external activity to stimulate our yin energy, like“Oh, I should be relaxing more now.” Whereas were subconsciously running on our yang energies throughout the day without even realizing it. It’s the new norm for us.
So, while I was in Bali, I was challenged in my yoga classes to bring more of a yin energy to my practice. And not just on the mat, but in my trip in general. Instead of hammering out every single excursion, checking out every restaurant, and filling up an itinerary…. I flowed through my days. Waking up when I wanted. Doing yoga when I wanted. Going to the same restaurant I did the night before if I wanted. No pressure. Just flowing through the day.
And I got to tell ya…it felt very weird. It felt out of character. It felt like I was doing something wrong. But, once I got past that…it felt amazing. I felt free. I felt alive. I felt connected to my gentle self in a way I haven’t experienced before.
After a week or so, I remember thinking…”Hmm…maybe I should be living like this everyday.” I mean…I liked feeling calm. I liked feeling feminine. I liked going with the flow.
Funny enough, the next morning I woke up with an intense focus. I was feeling strong and alert during yoga. I was feeling motivated to write. I was inspired to book new tours and excursions. I completely transitioned back into a yang energy. But, it wasn't tight and constraining like it was before. It felt great, actually. I realized that I did actual miss the intense feelings of empowerment and drive.
So I started thinking....how do we consciously create a divine balance of these two energies? Without acknowledging the important of the balance, we'll just resort to the energy that feels the most familiar to us. But, too much of either energy isn't a good idea.
If were constantly living in yang, we’ll be strung out, stressed, and lash out on ourselves and others. If we constantly living in yin, we’ll be passive with our heads in the clouds, unable to focus or complete our goals.
So, I invite you to take a look at yourself and your own energy balance. ourself, Which energy do you find yourself living by more? Are you living in yang? Showing up with intensity and trying to get it all done? Or are you living in yin? Going with the flow and giving up before things get difficult?
What areas of your life could you switch your energy? At what part of your day could you switch your energy to better serve yourself and others? Only you will know. It’s not a one size fits all approach. It’s not like career=yang and yoga=yin. We all need different energies at different times.
Maybe in you’ve been too yang in your job...pushing through tasks and secluding yourself and could really benefit from bringing in more of a yin energy... decreasing your workload, having easy-going conversations with your co-workers, and trusting your instincts vs. the data when making important decisions.
Maybe you're a little too yin in your yoga class... allowing your mind to wander during your practice and not pushing deeper into certain poses to illicit new growth.
Maybe you’re too yang in the dating world and need to lean into your intuition and let love flow to you instead of trying to force it. Or....maybe you’re too yin in your relationships and need to stand your ground and set stronger boundaries.
Play around with this. Just for fun.
Try showing up for one day, or even during one activity, where you allow yourself to switch to the opposite energy you’re used to embodying. See how it feels. Notice how you feel afterwards.
Were at a place in time where we need to stop asking “What do you want to be?” and start asking “How do you want to be?” Because its the way you show up to your life determines your individual happiness and potential, not how much you get done or what title you hold.
Were all different. We all exude and absorb different energies at different times in our lives. But, it’s a good idea to stop looking at ourselves as stagnant, formed beings incapable of change. We are capable of change. We are capable of waking up every day and choosing how we want to show up and which energy we want to exude throughout the day. You don’t need to light incense and tell people you're feeling very "yin" today, just make the internal note of the energies you're embodying.
A year ago, i thought I had embraced my yin energy. I was meditating, I was practicing self-care, and I was trusting my intuition. But, I realized that I was still performing some of those beautiful practices with a yang mindset. Intense focus during meditation. Strict guidelines on my morning and self-care routines. I could still bare to ease into a yin energy. And since Bali, I've been more aware of my varying degree of energies throughout my day. It's been really interesting to switch energies on a moment-to-moment basis.
In the self-help world, it seems like people are either balls-to-the-wall, motivational, goal setters (yang) or intuitive, heart-centric, healers (yin). Seeing this, I kept wondering…. well, where do I fit? I am a goal-setter. I like to motivate people. But, I like to do it from a genuine, intuitive, loving place.
Now I realize I don’t need to choose. I can show up with both energies, throughout my work and throughout my life. I'm going to have a client that requires my tough-love, motivational coaching. I'm going to have a client that requires my soft-spoken, love-based coaching. I'm going to have a client that needs both within a matter of five minutes.
If you do try and play around with this, make sure if you catch yourself in an opposing energy you want to switch, you do it with compassion. It's not "Oh man I'm so tense and focused right now, I need to put down my work and go for a walk and relax."
It's more like "Hm...I'm feeling a little too tense doing this project. Let me take a deep breath and just work a little slower. I have plenty of time."
It’s not strength vs. tenderness. It’s not power vs. surrender. It’s Yin AND Yang. Both working together. Both serving a purpose. Both asking to be accepted and called upon in places in your life you need it most. Start tuning in.