Ok, before I start let me briefly explain the concept of Yin and Yang.
Yin and Yang is one of the most fundamental concepts in Traditional Chinese Medicine, as it is the foundation of diagnosis and treatment. The earliest reference to Yin and Yang is in the I Ching (Book of Changes) in approximately in 700 BC. In this work, all phenomena are said to be reduced to Yin-Yang. Makes sense? I am simplifying here, but I assume you don't have all day to read this article.
Yin and Yang are opposites, interdependent (cannot live without each other) and continuously changing. The reason I bring this up today is simple. It's the New Year! That means everyone is setting goals, resolutions or whatever. Basically getting up off their butts and moving! Does this sound like you? It certainly sounds like me. I have a laundry list of things I want to do this year.
- Characteristics of Yin: darkness, shade, rest, matter, dense material, descending
- Characteristics of Yang: light, brightness, energy, activity, rising
Think about all of the goals and resolutions you made this year as "Yang". If you didn't set any goals or resolutions, think about your ongoing health and fitness goals. For example: losing 20 lbs, running a half marathon, building muscles or trimming inches. It’s a lot of activity, movement and energy. So in other words, a whole lot of "Yang". It's easy to see how things can get out of balance pretty quickly.
Let's talk about adding some "Yin" to your "Yang". Balancing your Yang with some Yin, will help you achieve even greater results and be healthy and happier. Balance is something we all seek, whether we realize it or not. I am not a Yogi, but I have three suggestions for you.
3 Tips To Add "Yin" To Your "Yang"
1. Yin Yoga. Obviously.
The long held, passive nature of the postures, which gives time for a deeper journey to unfold, a journey into the meditative aspects of yoga, a bridge to living life mindfully. The first time I tried Yin Yoga, I almost freaked. I was like "let's speed it up already". However, my yoga instructor assured me that improving the connective tissues of my ligaments, fascia, joints and bones as well as improving the energetic channels of the meridians, nerves and blood system are just a few of the benefits of Yin Yoga.
2. Don't Over Train
If you cannot repeat performance in subsequent workouts it is time to take the day off. If you are hitting the gym more now in January than you have in months (or even years) you may run the risk of burning yourself out. The old saying "less is more" is usually true. Take that rest day. You deserve it.
Even a few minutes of inspired meditation can help restore balance, decrease stress and promote increased energy and focus. How?
- Take a breath and relax, becoming as comfortable as possible. Your clothes should be loose and comfortable, and all your muscles loose.
- Take a deep breath. Close your eyes.
- Listen to the sounds as they come to you – traffic, birds, voices out on the street. Don’t focus on them, just let them be part of the world.
- Breathe deeply for as long as you can.
- When you are ready, open your eyes.
Of course everyone is different (I know! Breaking news, right?). These are simply suggestions. So, before you surge forward to conquer your mighty fitness goals this year, reflect on your own Yin and Yang. How can you keep yourself balanced? Your "Yin" is out there, find it and your "Yang" will thank you. Cheers to 2013!