The ancient paths of meditation and yoga are about wholeness, awakening, and embracing all that life has to offer. Every situation, whether pleasant or unpleasant, is an opportunity to become more aware of who we are, what we respond to, and how we experience life. Everything we experience can be seen as an opportunity to open and expand our consciousness, and to integrate the seemingly opposing aspects of our self. We can embrace opposites, seeing them not as contradictions but as the dynamic polarities of our aliveness, our whole selves. We can recognize that every person, whether man or woman, has both masculine (Yang) and feminine (Yin) qualities. These qualities arise from the lifeforce energy that manifests uniquely in each of us.
Yang, your masculine essence, is the active expression of your self – from which you manifest presence, strength, direction, and purpose. Yang energy is the quality you call upon to take initiative, establish leadership, and achieve goals. Yang energy also creates structure and a safe container for Yin to open and express its aliveness.
Yin, your feminine essence, is the receptive, open, and flowing expression of your self – that dreams and surrenders to the magic and wonder of life and love. When you call upon your inner Yin, you become more alive, expansive, and permeable to everything around you. Yin energy is devotional love, playful joy, and spontaneous creativity. Yin sees beauty everywhere and appreciates the details in everything. Yin energy also follows or yields – especially to Yang’s active energy.
We can explore what happens when our Yin and Yang energies are in a harmonious dance, or out of balance. “Balanced and integrated, these energies guide us through life as a dynamic whole. We move forward with clear vision, yet we are willing to trust and flow with whatever life brings us. As we become more whole, our need to look outside of ourselves for love falls away. We experience the sweetness of union of our inner man and inner woman. From this place, we can create more harmonious relationships and more joy in our lives,” according to Margot Anand.
We invite you to play with your inner feminine and masculine, by yourself and with a friend. First, take a personal assessment of where in your life you are more Yin or Yang, including at work, at home, in intimacy, and in relationship to others. Can you quantify how developed Yin and Yang are in the different aspects of your life?
With a friend, practice embodying and expressing Yin and Yang energies. Taking turns, decide who first will be Yang as the leader, and who will be Yin as the follower. During this experience, Yang leads Yin in creatively inspired movement, or in a number of other activities, and Yin simply follows, surrendering to whatever initiative or direction Yang offers. After a while, switch roles. In this playful game, Yang becomes inventive, challenging, generous, and risk-taking. Yin becomes open, receptive, and responsive. This practice builds trust and intimacy between partners, as well as spontaneity and sincerity, love, and playfulness. It challenges your inhibitions about asking for what you want, and cultivates the art of fully giving and receiving. The changes and reversals in roles will enrich your experience of the masculine and feminine qualities present within yourself and in others.
By Marilynne Chophel