We are moving into a Yin time of year. This will be particularly evident when daylight savings time ends during the first weekend in November.
“My heavens, it’s getting dark before 5 p.m.”, we say. “I don’t like that it’s dark so much more than its light,” is commonly heard.
In our culture, Yin isn’t an everyday term, but in the Chinese culture, it is. Yin is most often talked about in relation to Yang, the opposites in us, in all of nature that are always moving, always changing. Yin is dark, night, reflection, internal, water; Yang is light, day, activity, external, fire. Yin and Yang are part of system of thinking called correspondence thinking, that events occur in association with each other. Patterns develop. This philosophy which informs the principles of Chinese medicine are centuries old.
Yin and Yang theory also informs Tai Chi. The goal of Tai Chi is to promote balance in all things, starting with our own body, mind and spirit, and then moving outside of us to our relationships, and to our care of the external world in which we live. Through Tai Chi we bring intention to our breathing, our posture, our shifting of weight, all to achieve better overall balance in our lives, starting with the literal, increased balance of standing and walking every day.
We are surrounded by affirmations for Yang activities — setting goals, achieving, multi-tasking, doing more and more. The Yin activities — resting, reflection, turning off the TV and smart phones — are not affirmed externally. We individually, have to make the decision to stop, say no, revitalize and renew our energy.
Our bodies need moisture, not only moisturizer, but also moisture in our tissues. In Tai Chi class, I’m emphasizing QiGong movements right now, shifting our weight from the center of our feet to the ball of the feet, then back to center again. At the center of each foot is a strong energy point, Yongquan, also called “bubbling spring”, which stimulates and enhances Yin in our body.
Yin and Yang relate to water and fire in the body, the two main components we aim to balance. With balance we have health; with imbalance, we have illness. At this time of year it is helpful to recognize these two components and embrace importance of Yin, that surrounds us and can nourish us when we pay attention.