In Chinese medicine, philosophy and cosmology, there is a concept of Qi/chi - a life force energy that is composed of feminine energy: Yin and masculine energy: Yang. This balance between feminine and masculine energies plays an important part in understanding the forces at play in the universe as well as in human nature. According to Chinese cosmology, the universe is made up of qi energy: Yin and Yang energies - two opposing but complementary forces. The universe exists upon the balance between these two forces, one cannot exist without the other.
The meaning of the Yin Yang symbol
The S-curve in the Yin and Yang symbol shows the fluctuating and fluid nature of energy transitioning from one state to another. This principle of fluid, complimentary energies can be overlaid onto any life cycle. With the calendar, it demonstrates the different energies throughout the four seasons - with Yang energy peaking during the summer solstice and the Yin energy more predominant during the winter solstice. The dark and light spots inside each side of the Yin Yang symbol illustrate that both energies contain the seed of the opposing force within it to allow the change to occur. This representation holds the idea that nothing is static and everything in life holds an element of transformation, a cyclic movement.
You are energy
Taoist monk and traditional Chinese practitioner, David James Lees explains: “When your qi energy is appropriately balanced between yin and yang, and is flowing smoothly, it leads to good physical and emotional health. However, if your Qi moves out of balance to either the yin or yang extremes this leads to ill-health.” This concept of balance of energies, applied to your mindset, your diet, your physical activity is vital in helping maintain a healthy and harmonious Qi energy flow.
Balancing your Yin energy
The Yin energy is responsible for moistening and cooling the body functions, it helps the body and mind to settle. The physical signs of Yin energy imbalance are dry skin, brittle hair, dry eyes and throat, tight and aching muscles. The emotional signs of Yin energy imbalance are irritability, difficulty to rest and relax, frustration and anger. Chinese doctor Kate Brindle (katiebrindle.com) says you can eat “cooling foods such as apples, bananas, pears, strawberries, broccoli, buckwheat and sesame oil [...] papaya, watermelon, grapefruit, tomatoes, asparagus, cucumbers, summer squash, barley and tofu” to counterbalance Yin deficiency. On the other hand, food that is more stimulating such as sugar, alcohol, coffee, chilli and ginger will tend to increase the heat, yang energy in your body. It is also recommended to eat smaller meals but to eat more often.Balancing your Yang energy
The yang energy in the body has a stimulating and warming quality, it manifests itself as stamina and strength. When the body is deficient in Yang energy, you’ll show signs of ‘coldness’. The physical signs of Yang energy imbalance are lack of physical strength, feeling sluggish and easily tired, poor digestion, high blood pressure or skin rashes. The emotional signs of Yang energy imbalance are feeling demotivated, depressed or feeling fearful. ‘Warm’ food such as cayenne pepper, ginger, soybean oil, mustard, green and red peppers, black pepper, lamb, onion and garlic will stimulate your Yang energy balance out a Yang deficiency.
Stress relief activities
Activities that promote relaxation and mindfulness will not only help alleviate stress but also promote a harmonious Yin and Yang energy flow. Meditation, yoga or Tai-qi are all gentle forms of exercise and incorporate an element of mindfulness which is crucial in helping to harmonize your two opposing meridians (energy channels). Sound healing and breathwork also are powerful tools to help balance out your Yin and Yang because they get help remove energy blockages and stagnant energy - promoting a healthier body & mind.