That statement stoked my fire. I took pride in how much I could manage, how hard I pushed the edge, and how late I could rock the dance floor.
Days would start early, filled with work and commitments, and then extend into the evenings with more work or socialising. Days of high energy, feeding the fire, goals and fantasies on the horizon, the fire shining brightly towards the next thing …the next thing …then the next thing.
Yang, the masculine, hot, hard, fast, active, sun energy has been my dominant symbol.
Often, I have an intense, more masculine manner. I love the hot weather and summer season. I have lived hard and fast for much of life, amped up on adventures and living life to the fullest.
My body for years only craved active vinyasa yoga, running, and energetic dancing. Fire, fire, fire! Burn, burn, burn, until I would burn out… which I did, over and over again, usually for a few weeks, excusing it as the trade-off for a big, six month work season.
I started to schedule in the couple of weeks recovery when I realised it was a routine, but that was the only Yin I would prioritise.
Then, a few months ago, months before my summer season would wrap up, I went into shutdown like I had never experienced. Yes, again I had been burning the candle at both ends. This time though, it was not just my body needing a recharge. I went into a deep state of Yin.
Yin, the feminine, cold, slow, dark, intuitive, moon energy bid me STOP.
All of the elements of this symbol threw me way out of my comfort zone.
Yet there was nothing I could do but surrender to the stillness that compelled me to take time to be still and enquire what was hidden in that darkness, to accept what lessons I needed to learn and allow those to seep in.
I realised that for a long time I had been using the burning fire to distract myself from being present with some integral life lessons I didn’t want to face. I had been running hard and fast away from the darker side of myself that I did not want to acknowledge.
The weeks turned into months. I let go of my resistance and knew this was where my greatest lessons would be learned.
Although it was one of the darkest and most challenging spaces I have visited so far, I knew I had the Yang light to shine on the darker facets of myself, to see more clearly, and give me the strength to be in the cocoon and surrender to the metamorphosis.
I feel deep gratitude for the Yin space calling me to new wisdom, and my Yang strength for accepting the lessons and evolving. Now, I have a feeling of balance like I have never known before.
In the wise words of the fiery 80s babe, Jane Fonda, “We are not meant to be perfect, we are meant to be whole.”
Depending on your personality, you too may be addicted to a constant Yang buzz, or you may be more of a Yin type. If you prefer a slower pace, rarely step out of your comfort zone, keep quiet, or retreat often into hibernation mode, can you ask yourself, ‘Is my energy balanced?”
Those who are primarily in Yin can often benefit from more Yang activities to get the inner fire burning to boost metabolism, feel more vital, get the creative juices flowing and increase libido.
The main question really is this: “Am I stuck in a Yin or Yang energy, and why?” Then the important action is to apply what needs to be done to find balance in both.
Teaching a Yin+Yang yoga session, I love to share these enquiries:
“Can you observe a shift from low/lethargic to increased energy in the yang vinyasas?”
“Can you observe the inner flame glowing, and ask yourself which direction your heart seeks?”
“When you are invited to be still, is there a desire to do more?”
“Can you let go of control, and allow yourself to be in stillness?”
“In stillness, when in honest reflection, what attention or action does your intuition urge?”
Learning and applying the tools we develop to find balance in life is a journey and yoga invites you to explore and strengthen many techniques to use in your practice.
The important thing to know is that it is a practice; it takes patience, honesty, and trust of the process.
When you feel out of balance, be real with yourself. Don’t deny when you have been burning the fire too hot. Feel into what needs to shift if you seem stuck.
Let the Yin Yang symbol be a totem to regularly check in on your routine and help you find a lifestyle balance.