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Yin and Yang

In the West, knowledge of the concept of yin and yang, and yin and yang energies may not be so widespread.

Yin, the moon energy, the passive, calm, and nourishing energy, and Yang, the solar energy, the active, moving, and uplifting energy. Many do not think about these energies on a daily basis and our lifestyle rarely reflects the need for balance. We first seek to create balance when the universe forces us to be aware of an imbalance, this most often happens when we experience challenges in our lives; an injury, stress, breakdown, or illness. Only then do we seek help to regain balance. Only when we become exhausted or seriously ill do we take the time to focus on restoring balance in our lives, such as when we are injured, and slow down or look for gentler ways to exercise.

We all too often live a life characterized by Yang energy overflowing with; tasks, action, training, activities, deadlines, and the accompanying stress this kind of life brings. But we can only be in a state of yang energy for a certain amount of time before we end up burning out, just as we can only be in a state of yin energy for a given time before we stagnate. We need the balance.

Balance through yoga.

Yoga can be a way to introduce balance into your life, like Yin training for a more Yang-based lifestyle. Yoga can be practiced with a focus on Yin energies; in the form of more passive poses, longer time in each pose, and by performing a series of poses that support each other and the nourishing, meditative, balancing energies.

But yoga can also be done with the opposite focus. If you feel heavy, depressed, weak, and fatigued, yoga can be performed with a focus on the Yang energies; with flow series, several active poses, and breathing exercises. How you practice is as important as what you do in your practice. A dualism prevails; a yin aspect (passivity, calmness, stillness, nourishing, heaviness) and a yang aspect (activity, movement, expanding, lightness) in everything in life, including yoga.

There is a yin way and a yang way of practicing yoga that goes far beyond the actual movements and poses in a given yoga sequence. You can work with the energies individually or you can mix them in larger or smaller scale ratios and introduce them to each other in countless variations.

Yin that is rewarding, accepting, and nurturing can be added to postures in a more active and sweaty yang yoga practice and we can assume a more yin-focused awareness and acceptance in our more physical yoga practice that can help us go deeper into the poses, to create balance on the mental level and achieve greater satisfaction in our lives.

What we do, and which poses we choose to perform plays a role in our training and the benefit we get from yoga, but how we do it makes the biggest difference.

It is important to ask yourself "Why am I practicing yoga today?".

To clarify why you are on the mat right now, and what you need, both mentally and physically right now. Setting your intention for your practice. Your needs change all the time, from week to week, from day to day, even from hour to hour. So start your practice by finding out exactly what you need right now to create balance in your body and your life. Find out your intentions for what it is you want to achieve with your training today.

Why you choose to practice yoga depends on your personal reason for stepping onto the mat. Knowing and clarifying your intentions in practicing yoga is one of the first steps to getting the full benefit of your training. You may have an overarching reason to begin a regular yoga practice; Achieving optimal physical health is one reason why many people are drawn to yoga, because of yoga's ability to reduce the effects of stress in their lives.

Others want to deepen their meditation practice or simply become more present in their daily lives. As you will discover as you begin yoga, yoga provides physical, mental, emotional, and energetic benefits, and for some, spiritual. What you get out of your training largely depends on your intentions and what you need right now.

So to create balance, to get the Yin and Yang energies in your life in balance, you must make it clear what you are looking for and need. If you do, yoga can give you exactly what you need to create balance in your life.

READ MORE: How to use mala beads

READ MORE: Serenity prayer

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    The information found in this blog post is for general informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for a health professional's advice. If you are struggling with health issues please seek professional help. The use of any information provided in this blog post is solely at your own risk.