The San Francisco Bay Area — known for its innovation, technology, fast pace + future-mindedness — is a pretty “Yang” place…. Full of energy, dynamism, forward action and “doing.” In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Yang energy is the positive force that drives us to accomplish, to assert, to make things happen and turn vision into reality.
When in balance, Yang is the glowing strength of will that provides us with the momentum to create, sustain and persevere. But when out of balance — and excessive — it leads to an unhealthy, amped-up version of its traits where too much is, well, way too much. Perseverance becomes impatience. Vital energy becomes anxiety. Steadfastness becomes controlling behavior. Discernment becomes incessant criticism and judgement. Being resolute becomes constantly needing to get your own way. Sound familiar?? Probably. Sound exhausting?? Definitely.
In their efforts to re-balance themselves, many people who suffer from Yang excess seek out activities that actually induce more — not less — Yang energy into their mind, body and spiritual lives…
For example, high energy Yangs believe the only way to physically relax is to push, sweat, and burn through intense exercise — commonly cycling, ultra-running, cross-fit and other physically demanding activities. When they receive bodywork and massage, they frequently ask for extremely deep tissue and pressure, believing that if the massage doesn’t “hurt,” it’s not effective. Mentally, they’re always seeking out one distraction and activity after another — often rushing through their days and attempting to keep their anxiety at bay with perpetual occupation. Spiritually they are cravers, seeking constant control over circumstances and relationships outside of themselves in a misguided and ultimately fruitless search for balance within.
The trouble is, Yang energy is rewarded heavily in the material world and modern society characterizes so many of these traits as success: drive, ambition, appearance, status and productivity. However we see examples all around us that excessive, unbalanced Yang leads to lives fraught with anxiety, unfulfilling and unsupportive relationships, and an inability to feel an inner and unwavering calm, peace and joy.
So, if the answer to excessive Yang isn’t more Yang… what is? The antidote to Yang is Yin. Where Yang is driving, Yin is yielding. Yang is contracting, Yin is opening. Yang is the head, while Yin is all heart. Welcoming the softness of Yin into your life will create balance, and it is only in grounded balance that we find true strength and resiliency for our mind, body and spirit.
At Soulstice we offer and embrace Yin in many forms…. When it comes to bodywork and massage, consider receiving more subtly transformative energetic work like Reiki. Clearing, cleansing, light lymphatic massage can be more profound than the deepest of deep tissue. Myofascial release allows muscle tension to melt and unwind without excessive force. Opt for a slower paced massage that incorporates nurturing, gentleness and authentic warmth.
Our gentle breathwork, meditation and sound rejuvenation classes promote feeling and experience over thinking and doing. We encourage you to bring an open-minded spirit of exploration, curiosity and play to experiencing classes outside of your box of familiarity. Let go of a need to know or control expectations and outcomes, and give yourself over to intuition and surprise. Yin yoga, qi gong, yoga nidra— along with other mindful movement classes — allow softness, opening and the practice of simply “being.”
Other wonderfully effective Yin practices are walking among the redwoods, or breathing in salty sea air along the coast. Spending time with plants and animals inspires us to live more simply and in tune with nature’s cycles. Going to bed earlier allows our minds, bodies and souls to replenish and rest, deeply.
Restoring overall balance for your mind, body and spirit allows for a beautiful synchronicity and flow between Yin and Yang energies. Physically you’ll feel strong and energetic, as well as flexible and supple. Mentally you’ll be bright and lively, as well as open-minded and curious. Spiritually you’ll feel expansive and purposeful, along with compassion and empathy for yourself and others. We support and invite you to bring a little Yin into your life and welcome a beautiful balance to your whole, complete self.