Yin and Yang
Yin and Yang is a concept in Chinese philosophy that opposing forces are bound together and interdependent on each other in nature. This concept is a fundamental principle in eastern philosophy, medicine, exercise and the martial arts. Natural dualities include, dark and light, hot and cold, male and female, and high and low.
Yin is associated with slow, soft, passivity, yielding, contracting, insubstantial, diffuse, cold, wet, and tranquil. It is generally associated with the feminine, birth and generation, and with the night.
Yang, by contrast, is characterized as hard, fast, solid, dry, expansion, fire, focused, hot, and aggressive. It is associated with masculinity and daytime.
Yin and Yang are considered to be created together in a single movement and are bound together as parts of a mutual whole. Yin and yang transform each other every advance is complemented by a retreat, and every rise transforms into a fall. Yin always contains the potential for yang, and yang for yin. Yin-Yang are balanced in a dynamic equilibrium. Because they arise together they are always equal: if one disappears, the other must disappear as well, leaving emptiness.
Yin and Yang are associated with the vital organs. Yin controls the blood (liver) and Yang governs energy(heart). Innate instincts belong to Yin. Acquired skills belong to Yang. In breathing, inhalation is considered Yin. Exhalation is considered Yang. Yang excess results in high body temperature, dryness, hyperactivity and rapid pulse. Excess Yin is reflected in paleness, chills, slow pulse and low energy. Becoming in tune with your body’s Yin and Yang enables one to learn how to balance the Yin or Yang when an imbalance occurs.
All things in nature exist within the Yin-Yang balance. Unusual phenomenon like disease and thunderstorms are considered to arise when there is an imbalance between Yin and Yang. Understand and gaining control of internal Yin and Yang forces are critical in maintaining good health.
The Yin and Yang is also thought to exist within foods with Yin foods having cooling tendencies and Yang foods having warming effects. Hence Yin foods are considered good foods during summer and Yang foods beneficial during winter.
Longevity is achieved by understanding, respecting and internally controlling the balance between Yin-Yang.
Taoism believes that the essential element in the air that carries the vital energy of life (Chee) is not oxygen, nitrogen or other gaseous chemical, but the negative ion, a highly active molecular fragment that carries a negative charge equivalent to that of one electron.
Polluted air carries positive ions which neutralize the vital life giving negative ions. Clean country air has an average ratio of 3:1 negative to positive ions. Polluted air has a ratio of 1:50 negative to positive ions. Inhaling polluted air is the equivalent of eating junk food filled with 'empty calories'. The vitality of negative ions in the air is impaired by air-conditioning, central heating and closed spaces. It has long been observed that working all day in air-condition or centrally heated office buildings leaves peopled drained of energy, but farmers working outdoors are not depleted of energy.
Chee, the vital energy of life, moves with the level of strength depending upon the degree of polarity between the Yin and Yang. In the air, this 'gradient' in voltage is highest in clean fresh air where there exists a higher negative to positive ion ratio. The potential gradient is higher in the mountains, beaches, and the open spaces where negative ions flow freely.
We’ve all experienced the fast pulse and faster breathing that comes with anticipation of an important event, like giving a speech. Advice typically given is to ‘take a deep breadth and relax’. That’s exactly right! Deep breathing is relaxing to our system and is the correct way to breath. Breathing should be long and deep where the abdomen (not just the chest) expands with each inhalation.
Deep abdominal breathing:
- Increases the supply of oxygen into the blood stream as more air moves into the lower and larger sections of the lungs
- Helps better peristalsis necessary for optimal intestinal digestion
- Stimulates blood circulation in the abdominal cavity, encourages deep uninterrupted sleep
- Calms emotions
- Sharpens awareness
Correct breathing also means inhaling through the nose. The nose and naval cavity play the essential role of (i) warming or cooling the air to within 1 degree of body temperature, (ii) humidifying the air and (iii) filtering dust and other particles. Tissues lining the nose and nasal cavities capture and assimilate the negative ion energy of Chee from the air which is why the inhalation should occur through the nose.
Athletes may improve significantly improve performance by practicing 20-30 minutes of breathing control prior to athletic events. This habit relaxes the nerves, calms the heart, boosts circulation and enhances energy reserves, insuring optimum performance under pressure
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