There is a perfect balance that exists in all things, yin and yang. This idea refers to any opposition: Light & dark, happiness & sadness, movement & stillness, hot & cold, masculine & feminine.
Not only does this balance exist in all things, but it creates all things. The opposition of light is dark. Without light, there would be no acknowledgment of dark because it would always be dark. We wouldn’t create a label for it because dark would be a state of normalcy. If the opposition of happiness is sadness, then without feeling sadness, there would be no ideal of happiness to reach to at all. If the opposition of movement is stillness, then without the movement of energy, ATP, prana, qi we would have nothing to animate the stillness of the elements that create the human body. We need both the body and the soul to generate our existence.
In our asana practice, this same rule of balanced opposition can be applied. We can consider our heat building practice as the yang. While our longer, deeper holds can be considered the yin. Within the marriage of the two, your practice will be a full balance of optimal physical health. You need balance to find your fullest potential. This is not just a daoist philosophy, this is tangible truth! So lets dig a little deeper here.
In your Yang practice, you are moving, breathing deeply, bringing blood and nutrient to your muscles through engagement. You’re building heat. Heat is simply movement. So as you build internal heat, you are moving an abundance of healing energy through your body.
Now lets look at the Yin aspect of your asanas. When you are able to disengage your muscles & relax into your posture it becomes more of a detoxing action. You’re releasing deep rooted stagnation that exists in your fascia. Imagine squeezing all of the shit out of a wet sponge. The same thing is happening to your piriformis in eka pada rajakopanasana (pigeon pose).
Lets put these two ideas together now. You generate moving healing energy during your yang practice, and you create space in your body through the yin practice. NOW, that healing energy has space to move into and occupy. Without the yin aspect of your yoga practice, good energy would be bouncing around your body like a caged animal with nowhere to go. Without the yang, you would have a whole lot of internal space without a whole lot of energy to fill it. Balance your Yin and Yang practices, and you create this perfect fitting puzzle that will elevate you to your fullest potential in health.
Kelly a Bailey
P.S. be mindful of overdoing the yang aspect of your practice with too much hot yoga! I guide Hot power yoga and yes, I still warn my students of this even if it means I get to see them less during the week! Remember, BALANCED opposition.
This is a moving meditation. To prepare, first, learn the steps to Suryanamaskar A (Sun Salutation A). Then learn the set up for reclined baddha konasana with a heart opener. You can use a simple google search in “images” to see what both of these look like.
To begin this mediation, warm up with your yang practice: 5 – 10 sets of Suryanamaskar A. Be mindful of your breath as you’re linking each movement to each inhale and exhale. Don’t worry though, you will still gain the benefits of this mediation if you do not sync the breaths.
Following your sun salutations, set up your timer for 10 minutes of supported baddha konasana with a heart opener. As you settle into your Yin hold, start by taking 5 full deep breaths building awareness of the subtleties that occur in your body with each inhale and exhale. After the 5th breath, allow the natural rhythm of your inhale and exhale to take over. Release any effort of breathing and surrender to your asana. Feel your hips get heavy. Feel your shoulders and jaw disengage. Just be. An observer of your experience.
Have trust in your yang practice to generate the movement of healing energy. Have trust in your yin practice to create the space for the absorption of new life.
Once your timer rings. Lie flat on your back in savasana rebuilding awareness of your breath for a total of 10 inhales and exhales.