Yin and Yang describe the two qualities or energies present in everything; our bodies, day and night, seasons, our food, all elements of the world around us.
Yin qualities can be thought of as more internal, passive, cooling and downward while Yang is more external, dynamic, warming and upward.
Yin and Yang are relative to each other, they can’t exist without the other. Often the key to finding balance in our lives is to find balance between these two energies. Finding balance between our Yin and Yang is as true in our lives as it is in a yoga class.
Most of us live a very Yang life, moving swiftly from one thing to the next. This is not necessarily a bad thing, it means we’re active, efficient and get things done. The danger, however, is remaining in this state constantly, which can lead to overstimulation and burnout.
Let’s take a quick pause here to look at how our autonomic nervous system, which is the like the Yin and Yang of our bodies. It is further subdivided into two nervous systems, sympathetic and parasympathic, each with different functions. The sympathetic nervous system is activated in the case of emergencies and is considered our “fight of flight” mode. The parasympathetic nervous system is activated when our bodies need to slow down and is considered our “rest and digest” mode. Both are as important as each other.
Now back in the day when all we had to worry about was running away from danger in the wild, this split in our system worked very effectively. The sympathetic nervous system kicks into action, pumping our bodies with adrenaline to get us moving. The problem today is that we use our sympathetic nervous system to meet deadlines, to deal with the kids, to get through traffic. It still serves a purpose, but for many of us we then remain in this state for the majority of our day and this is unhealthy.
Our parasympathetic nervous system allows us to find balance, to let go, to give our bodies the opportunity to restore, replenish, rest and relax. It’s an important step in the functionality of our internal systems, particularly our digestive and brain health, as well as our mental health.
So, back to Yin and Yang. Our Yin and Yang yoga practice can be very important when it comes to achieving this balance or bringing a little more yin to an otherwise yang lifestyle. Consequently, a yang practice in an otherwise yin lifestyle can be just as effective. It’s important to remember that it’s often what we don’t feel like doing that we really need the most.
The pose begins when you want to leave it. ~ B.K.S. Iyengar
So, if you love jumping into your yang practice at the end of a busy day, maybe try counteracting the rush with a nourishing Yin practice. If you’ve had a sluggish day, perhaps a fiery Hot or an invigorating Power is what you need.
It’s also possible to find a little yin within your yang practice and a little yang within your yin practice. Remember, in all aspects in life it’s about finding balance.
If you’re feeling your yang lifestyle at the moment, particularly in the lead up to the silly season, then join Kula founder & teacher Kacey Smith for our last workshop for 2016!
‘Heart & Hips’ Yin Yoga Workshop ~ Sunday, November 13 (2-4pm)
About the author: Andy Broadbear is a qualified yoga teacher & therapist, who specialises in pre + postnatal yoga, and studio manager at Kula. She is also a mum of two, health & wellness blogger and hobby photographer.
Kula Yoga has a beautiful hot yoga studio on Camberwell Rd, Hawthorn, Melbourne. Kula offers ‘Hot Yoga’ classes for detoxification, dynamic poweryoga ‘Flow Yoga’ as well as a gentle ‘Light Yin Yoga’ option. Beginners through to advanced students are welcome to all classes. Kula also provides prenatal & postnatal yoga classes, and provides Melbourne workplaces with group corporate yoga programs to build employee health, fitness and wellbeing, and school yoga programs. Kula also runs an annual ‘Kula Cruise’ yoga retreat sailing from Bali to Lombok & the Gili Islands. Find out more on our website www.kulayoga.com.au. Or follow us:
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