Yin Versus Yang

At this point in my life I am a high energy, yang kind of gal. I’m a fan of vinyasa yoga, riding my bike, burning energy, and being challenged. I’ve even taken up circuit training lately just to try something new and challenge my body in a new way. Yet, some days, I have to honor the yin energy, the more subtle, restful nourishment or so I was reminded this week. Yin is usually characterized as slow, soft, insubstantial, diffuse, cold, wet, and tranquil. It is generally associated with Femininity, birth and generation, and with the Night. Yang, by contrast, is characterized as fast, hard, solid, dry, focused, hot, and aggressive. It is associated with Masculinity and with the Daytime.

After riding my bike with friends to Avila Beach last weekend, about 23 miles round trip, I noticed my legs were a little tired during my next vinyasa yoga class. Then I had a moment of tweaky pain that scared the crap out of me. I have had what I think is tendinitis in my right hip for the last few years and a regular yoga practice usually keeps it feeling pretty good. Before Monday, I hadn’t even noticed it lately. On Monday though, I don’t even remember what I did but I was practicing yoga and it was one of those moments of pain that makes you freeze and tear up and run to childs pose like it’s your mamma holding a bandaid after you’ve fallen out of a tree.

My hip was there to remind me that rest is just as important as activity. Aadil Palkhivala, owner of Yoga Centers of Bellvue, once said in a class, when you’re young, vinyasa yoga is appropriate, but as you get older your asana practice changes with your body and mind. It makes sense that our bodies need different types of nourishment and activities as we venture into different phases of life. One of my favorite aspects of yoga is that it reminds us how to listen to our bodies and not our minds. My mind thinks I should weigh what I did in high school, that I need to be the strongest person in the room, the strongest version of myself, that I need to sweat for my yoga practice to count (this week anyways). Sometimes it seems as if we “yang types” don’t feel it if it’s not a little painful and that kind of makes me a bit sad. Do I really need to beat my body up to feel something? What is my real goal? I want to take decent care of this vessel that I’ve been blessed with given the tools available to me. I want to become a more conscious, giving, and loving person. I don’t need to overly work it, nor should I use my aches and pains as an excuse to be lazy. Because, lets face it, the older I get, the more I realize my aches and pains are just part of life, little reminders that I’m human. May we find the balance between yin and yang this week.

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One Response to Yin Versus Yang

  1. SteveM says:

    I do a “Yin Flow” class taught by Narayone @HMC, which is tough and hot and funky, but ~slow and sneaky, and it really clears me up 🙂

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