Add a little Yin to your Yang

by Jade Pellett

A quote from Ken Wilber:

“In addition to learning how to take control and assume responsibility, a person also needs to learn when and how to let go, to surrender, to go with the flow and not resist or fight it. Letting go versus taking control – this is, of course, just another version of being versus doing, that primordial polarity of yin and yang that assumes a thousand different forms and is never exhausted. It’s not Yin or Yang that is right , that being is better than doing – it’s a question of finding the right balance, natural harmony between yin and yang that ancient Chinese called the Tao – between doing and being, controlling and allowing, Resisting and opening, fighting and surrendering, willing and accepting.”

When there is a balance, there is harmony and health. When there is imbalance, there is disease and disharmony. Most forms of modern Yoga are Yang, dynamic and engaged, muscular and repetitive.

This modern Yoga reflects our modern society: achieving, rushing, striving. There are worries and wanting. We live in a world that is dominated by yang energies. We hurry from here to there, trying to get somewhere or be someone.

In this yang world our fight or flight response is too frequently stimulated: 24/7 running from the tiger, but there is no actual tiger! This is the sympathetic nervous system that is essential for survival, it reinforces defensiveness. But we need to tap into our parasympathetic system more often, as this tends towards generosity. It has been termed ‘rest and digest’ or ‘tend and befriend’. Time to add a little Yin to your Yang!

Perhaps this addition of more Yin practices, with their cooling calming, slowing and surrendering can help in a small way to resolve modern unease. As we are grounding, breathing and releasing, we can rest in the natural default setting of the parasympathetic nervous system, where there can be an attitude of relaxed acceptance and the space to cultivate gratitude.

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