Yin & Yang: Traditional Chinese Medicine Perspective
In traditional Eastern Chinese medicine (TCM), practitioners look to Yin and Yang as a means of interpreting the body’s state of balance.
The idea was adopted from Taoist philosophy expressing that Yin and Yang are opposing, yet complimentary forces found in all elements of nature. This duality is considered mutually exclusive and transformative within one another.
TCM practitioner's also interpret that the human body in totality consists of operations, organs, personality & emotions that are either "Yin" or "Yang" by nature.
Deviation can be associated with imbalance, or causative risk factors for disease, impacting both emotional and physical wellbeing.
What is Yin Energy?
Yin energy is calm, cool, and collected energy. It’s about restoration – slowing down to move forward. Rewarding rest and healing, like praise for productivity.
Yin qualities are found in all aspects of nature including: day/light cycles, moisture, temperature, physiological processes, emotions, and gender.
Qualities Associated with Yin Energy
- Cooling & Moisture
What can cause Yin energy Depletion: Stress and arousal are amongst the factors of yin depletion.
In a fast-paced modern society, it is possible to experience heightened nervous arousal from psychosocial factors including traumatic family and social events, overworking / burnout, to increased cost of living.
When Yin energy is depleted, it can indicate an absence of Yin qualities including slow-flow movement, gratitude, self-reflection, recovery, and restorative foods.
When Yin energy is depleted, it can indicate an excess of Yang qualities such as hyperarousal, and stimulation.
Symptoms of Yin Deficiency:
- Hot Flashes
- Flushing / Redness in Face
- Anger & Irritability
On the contrary, symptoms of Excess Yin include: Lethargy, Depression, Poor Blood Circulation, Pale Complexation, Cold Hands & Feet.
As summer turns into full-swing, filled with high heats, social celebrations, and busy schedules, it is anything but uncommon to find yourself at prime yin depletion. To learn more about how to create a lifestyle nourishes your Yin energy, keep reading.
Yin Summer Season Stressors
- Social: Social events are an excellent way to decompress, but they also offer long commitment hours. If you are introverted, or subject to recharging your social battery, you can benefit from scheduling outings in advance to plan your work and home life accordingly.
- Celebrations: In North America, most pregnancies, engagements, weddings and births land in the Spring-Fall season. Alcohol, deserts, and smoking can be amongst the few culprits taxing Yin this summer.
- Intensive Heat: Summer is hot, so its often possible to find yourself dehydrated, tired, irritated, or with sleep difficulties.
- Busy Economy: Summer is a high-traffic season for tourists, events, and the inevitable work-schedule. Long work-hours, while balancing children or a home life can have your energy feeling depleted.
Nourishing your Yin Energy
Nutrition: Ensure you are eating a diet filled in nourishing whole-foods. Generally, Yin foods are cooling, and considered to have high water content:
Nourishing Yin Superfoods:
Yin Cooking Methods: Boiled and Steaming.
Yin Taste: Yin foods are generally salty, bitter, and sour.
- Warm Spices: Ginger, Nutmeg, Curry
- Glutinous Rice / Starches / Breads
- Nightshades: Eggplant, Red Peppers
Yang Cooking Methods: Frying and Roasting
Yang Taste: Sweet, and Pungent.
Replenish your energy reservoirs with recovery. Restoring Yin energy can be encouraged by creating slow-flow rituals, and redefining your personal relationship with rest and reward.
How is rest described in my self-narrative – is it shamed as laziness?
Do I incentivize Rest as I do Productivity?
What are some ways to incorporate Restful Recovery into my routine?
This season can be an opportunity to introduce decompressive exercises to help release tense muscles, such as: Stretching, Yoga, Pilates, and Tai Chi.
Take the opportunity to create a safe-space, or a healing environment where you can rest and recover. This can include nooks in your bedroom, home office, or work space.
Journaling, reading, and meditation can serve as grounding practices to keep a busy mind calm, clear, and centered.
Your boundaries are a summary of the core values you carry with friends, family, and coworkers. Leverage your self-reflection moments to define what is important for your emotional wellbeing.
- What do you value in yourself, and others?
- What are the rules you try to live by?
- What actions, attitudes, or behaviours will you not tolerate in a relationship?
- What parts of my personality are “Yin”, what parts are “Yang” – how do these qualities impact my relationships?
The relationship you have with yourself and others is everchanging. Give yourself the permission to heal from previous chapters, and evolve in the future standards you create.
When possible, allow yourself to disconnect from the constant exposure to your smart-phone, or electronic devices.
- Moderate using your smart-phone before bed, and at least an hour after waking up.
- Define Usage Boundaries: Can’t shut off your phone – trying delegating specific hours of the day to catch up on emails, and clients.
- Avoid taking work-calls, or emails after you finish the job.
- Experiment with UV light protective eye-ware. Constant exposure to LED lights can potentially disrupt sleep quality, and encourage eye-straining + headaches.
- Grounding: How long has it been since you really connected with nature? This includes walking barefoot on the grass, swimming, lying in the sun, or enjoying a hike.
- Visuals: Visit a local park, or attraction to enjoy the scenery of nature.
- Sensation: Plan a day with your local spa, or registered holistic professional. Acupuncture, and Massage therapy are excellent ways to decompress.