Natural Living: The balance of yin and yang
Chinese Medicine teaches us the importance of balance in life, especially this time of year with the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. The energy of winter is “yin” in nature, we experience shorter and darker days and feel the cold penetrate into our bones. It is a time where nature has slowed into hibernation and shelters and protects itself for the coming months.
Despite what nature teaches us, we as a society tend to live a very “yang” lifestyle during this time of year. There are parties abound, lights and goodies overflowing our landscape. There is much fretting about purchasing presents and getting everything accomplished before the big day. Many of us stay up late, eat poorly and consume ourselves with shopping and technology. Christmas is a wonderful time of year for most people, but many will say they experience an increase in stress that makes it not so pleasurable and are glad to see its conclusion.
How can we fully enjoy the spirit of the holidays all the while listening to our inner guidance of being more “yin” and not burning ourselves out? This can be attained with a little effort on our part to assure that we are making time for peace, harmony and rest.
Here is some guidance to ponder over the next several weeks:
Be in the present moment — after all it is a present! Try to go with the flow and know if you didn’t get everything done on time or things didn’t work out, remember there is a gift there somewhere, we just need to listen. When we are more in the moment, we can hear this more clearly.
Meditate daily — It only takes 5 minutes a day to start a good practice with this most “yin” activity. The key with this practice is to do it consistently, eventually you will find that you will allow more time for it because it will affect every state of your being in a comforting, peaceful way. If you have a hard time quieting the mind even for 5 minutes, light a candle and stare at the flame, to put your attention on something and remember we didn’t learn to walk the first day we were born!
Go to bed a little early — Try going to bed 30 minutes earlier than you currently are to assure that you are planning for more rest, which is also the way our “yin” nourishes us. Without good sleep, our “yin” may not be revitalized fully.
Take a siesta — Most countries take siestas after lunch to revitalize their system and allow their body to reboot. Even 15 minutes of rest during the day can feel like you’ve gotten 1-2 hours of deep sleep to continue your day.
Consider saying NO — This time of year if full of parties and events, whether you’re planning them or a guest, sometimes we need to skip them. At the very least, listen to your body and when you’re tired go home, even if it’s a little early. Consider skipping the cocktails and desserts, knowing you’ll feel so much better the next day.
Eat lightly — There are plenty of rich, sweet and heavy foods abound this time of year. Know that there will always be more tomorrow and eat slowly enjoying every morsel till your full, but not overly full.
Breathe — As simple and innate as it is, we often forget to just sit, breathe and take it all in. Connecting to your breath can slow the adrenaline down and focus on what’s really important.
Be grateful — When we focus on what we do have and how fortunate we are, we allow ourselves to focus on what’s already there instead of what’s missing.
Give to others — “Yin” is our motherly influence, it is about nourishing ourselves and others around us without wearing ourselves out. When you give to an another you give back to yourself.
Be jolly from your heart — Bring all the joy and love around you into your heart and spread it to others. When we feel loved and supported we are nourishing our yin and others.
Remember, this time of year is a balance of yin and yang, so don’t stay home and be a recluse, but at the same time make sure you’re getting enough rest!
Like a tree has strong, deep roots so must we to grow steady and strong. The “yin” nourishes our roots so we may continue to flourish.