Working with Yin and Yang
The forces of Yin and Yang are the existential representation of opposites in the universe, including those found in nature and in the body. Chinese medicine teaches that establishing Yin-Yang balance is essential to all aspects of life. Attaining such balance leads to internal health and external harmony – accompanied by preventing illness, injury and other forms of harm. Balancing Yin and Yang is at the root of creating a free flow of energy and manifesting everlasting health.
The Yin Yang Theory provides understanding about the characteristics and tendencies of Yin and Yang energies. We know that they contain an element of their opposite, where within each lies a seed of the other that could sprout at any time. They are independent, yet never fully separate – as Yin cannot exist without Yang and vice versa. Yin energy represents the more feminine, soft, yielding, internal, receptive and calming aspects of life. It forms the basis of the nervous system, bones and bodily fluids. Whereas yang represents the more masculine, hard, firm, external and active aspects of life. It is associated with igniting physiological and mental activation.
Yin corresponds to the earth and moon, while Yang corresponds to the heaven and sun. Yin energy comes up from the earth and cools. And Yang energy comes down from the sky and brings warmth to the body. From here they move into the body bringing nourishment from the forces of nature.
Take a moment to experience these energies for yourself through practicing this simple Qigong exercise.
§ Begin by sitting up straight on the edge of a chair with feet parallel, flat on the floor and shoulder width apart. Make sure that height of the chairs allows your thighs and lower legs to form a right angle. Then place your hands on your lap, your tongue on the soft pallet of your tongue and gently lift the crown of your head upward toward the sky.
§ Close your eyes and concentrate your mind on a place two inches below your belly button and inside your abdominal cavity. This is your energetic center of physical healing where the majority of qi (vital energy) is stored. Proceed by taking three slow, deep and rhymical breaths into your belly – breathing in and out through your nose with mouth closed.
§ Concentrate your mind on the crown of your head and feel the yang energy being drawn downward into the top of your head through this point – then move it downward to a place on the center of your chest between your breasts.
§ Place your mind on the soles of your feet and become cognizant of yin energy bubbling up from the earth through your feet, up your legs and to your belly. Then consciously move this yin energy upward to meet and mix with the yang energy held within your chest.
§ Sit for a moment and feel the mixing of the cool yin energy with the warming yang energy happening within your chest. Notice how it is forming a perfect balance of Yin and Yang energies along with a uniquely tranquil form of emotional energy.
Take a few moments to reflect upon how you feel. Notice any changes in how energy is flowing throughout your body. Then open your eyes and bring yourself back into the room.
Have fun working with these ancient Chinese medicine principles as you draw yourself into a place of greater harmony and peace. Allow this to help with transitioning into Spring – bringing you closer to your innate nature as you learn to work with Yin-Yang energies and come into a place of vibrant balance.
Shoshanna Katzman, L.Ac., M.S. is an acupuncturist, Chinese herbalist and director of Red Bank Acupuncture & Wellness Center in Shrewsbury, NJ for over thirty years. She is author of Qigong for Staying Young: A Simple 20-Minute Workout to Cultivate Your Vital Energy (visit www.qigong4.us) and co-author of Feeling Light: The Holistic Solution to Permanent Weight Loss and Wellness. Shoshanna has taught tai chi and qigong for over 45 years and is a 6th generation lineage holder of the Guang Ping Yang Style Tai Chi Form. She is offering qigong and tai chi instruction via Zoom and outdoors weather permitting.
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