‘Oh yes, the male and the female energy in each of us!’ we exclaim, nodding knowledgably at the reference to the Chinese concepts of Yin and Yang. Yet how many people have we known or seen in whom the two energies are synergized, balanced? Do we even even think about our own Yin and Yang?
Yin and Yang
female and male
the flowing and the stable
the moon and the sun
the overt and the concealed
the powerful and the soft
disintegration and integration
Dionysian or Apollonian
All of nature is imbued with bipolar energies – including us humans – and their is constant tension and synergy between the two poles. Taoist texts teach that nature seeks balance and harmony between these opposing forces, these competing polarities. If we do so within our own selves we too can know a fuller life, peaceful and productive. In doing so we also radiate such balance and harmony around us.
I have often wondered about the two energies present in each one of us. I am a woman, fully conscious of the Yin in me. Do I honour the Yang energy in myself? Permit it space? Or perhaps the real question would be to ask if I even acknowledge the existence of this ‘male’ within as an important and a natural part of myself? Do I?
No. I do not. For it would mean to give wind to the unfeminine, the mannish, the tight and the integrated.
I am a woman, the Yin, and must remain so.
I am a man, the Yang, and must remain so.
This internalization runs deep within us. The boundaries are well defined based on our gender. The message is loud and clear: stick to your side.
A man too indulgent of his Yin is too ‘soft’, a wimp, not in enough control. He risks ridicule. A woman with too much Yang running amok is not a woman; she is a man in a woman’s body! Tight, calculative, dry. Don’t play… stay with what you are born with.
We are born with both and we can allow them their play, with just a little awareness, no matter what we have been taught.
I saw it in Yamuna and Pau, my instructors in an acrobatic yoga retreat I recently attended in Goa. It came in waves, the realization, what I had been rejecting within, consciously or subconsciously.
Yamuna was Yin as she softly nodded and gave us space to battle our own fears with the gravity defying positions that we had just failed at. She was Yang as she told us delicately yet firmly, ‘would you like to go again?’ Inherent in her tone was the lack of an option. She was Yin when she swayed with the music asking us to close our eyes, leave our body free and flow with the movement that the music asked of us. She was Yang when she based a man, twice her weight, on her feet and used her thigh muscles and acrobatic techniques to fly him on top of herself.
Pau, our male instructor, was Yang, when as a rock under Yamuna he demonstrated the technique of how to be the strong base to fly the one on top over and over again. As Yang he was in complete control, flying men six inches taller than him, a lot heavier, giving them the confidence to rise themselves against gravity with only Pau’s arms or thigh muscles as props.He was Yang when he listed for us as clear defined steps, one block after other, to reach the seemingly impossible flying positions. He was Yin when he took over his guitar in the evenings and sang bhajans following our cue. His fingers strummed softly on the instrument as his brows dropped in complete surrender.
It was a pleasure to see their bipolar forces so beautifully held together in each.The Yin and Yang in each alternate and compliment – to create and release, to build and destroy, to form and deform only to form again. In each I saw the whole, the nar and the nari, the Shiva and the Shakti, the solar and the lunar.
Is that where non-neediness and peace comes from? Perhaps we are looking for our lost parts in the wrong place, perhaps it is within us. In how much Yang we resist, how much Yin we encourage – or vice versa.
Think about your own Yin and Yang. Ask yourself: are they synergized? How well balanced are they? If not, which needs more space?