The yin and yang in strength training to optimize balance
I started writing for Breaking Muscle a few years ago and I had an agenda all along. In an attempt to establish myself as someone with some strengths, the good people on the editorial team thought it a better idea to loosen up the articles that revolve around the mysterious, esoteric, and unconventional.
“Help them understand that you know what you are talking about when it comes to training and then they will be more willing to listen to some of your marginal ideas.”
I wrote an original piece: What does Daoism have to do with it? This was a first attempt to offer some of these ideas. This article was my sneaky throw to this community about some tough ideas.
Well, I’ve waited long enough and it’s officially time for my freak flag to fly.
I’m going to give you the cliff notes on a much larger project that I’ve been working on since doing clinical research for my medical qigong doctorate over 13 years ago.
What you are reading is real.
Yes, some elements will feel awesome and whimsical and moments when you think I am assuming some form of artistic license with my claims. And you couldn’t be further from the truth.
Much of what I’m going to present today has been proven in studies – if you tend to look.
This short dissertation is the exact formulation I use with my patients who visit me for help with a medical problem and who do not have a great understanding of qigong or Chinese medicine in general.
But you can look at the world in which I live through the power lens and not through the healing lens: even if you will quickly find that they are not independent of each other. So sit back and listen to some ideas that you’ve probably never heard of before.
Everything is energy
Okay, most of you have probably heard this by now, but it’s a fundamental concept that needs to be accepted if we are to move forward with all of this. The good news is that every high school physics book confirms this when you have to convince. The computer / phone screen you look at, the shoes you wear, the water in the ocean, and the stars in the sky are all energy. They are indeed energy.
Everything in this world that is material, everything that is not, and everything in between is, as you guessed it, energy that is differentiated by sound, vibration and quality.
Neo in The Matrix, the moment he is brought back to life by Trinity with the kiss and through the eyes of one, sees the world as it actually looks like a fantastic cornucopia of lights and colors that is indescribable.
Yin and yang
With that said, we can learn the most basic understanding of it through the image of yin and yang: you know, the two tears that have come together to represent duality, the cycle of life and the expression of opposites.
The Yin and Yang are created right around the first cell division after the moment of conception.
We Taoists believe that in many ways this moment is just as important, if not more important, than when the sperm meets the egg. In this department, the yin and yang take shape, where the virtues of each child are escorted and software of the divine mind begins to execute its program.
At this moment and throughout pregnancy, the developing child is in a kind of nuclear nirvana that can only be disturbed by excessive stressors that the mother can endure.
I like to think that the yin and yang of this being are in complete balance and perfection (in almost all cases) has been achieved and sustained for nine months.
Before we go any further, we should probably give you a quick explanation of what this whole yin and yang thing is. But first it’s yin, not ying with a G. And it’s yang like yawning – not yang and dang. When was the last time you heard someone say daaaang and you meant it? Joe Dirt said it a couple of times and probably one of your hillbilly friends, right. Well, for those of us in this business who hear this, you will immediately see the hillbilly friend in you when we listen to you say ying and yaaaang!
Forgive me, but it had to be said.
In this article, yin and yang are defined as the quality of energy we are talking about:
- Yin represents feminine, calm, cool, the shadowy side of the mountain, the moon.
- The is masculine, aggressive, hot, the stars on the bright side of the mountain. These properties reside in every single atom of your body.
Gather all of the atoms and we have you, and while you are in the cozy confines of Mommy’s tummy, everything is in balance because the balance is individual to you.
My balance is different from yours, but it is understood and accepted that this balance exists to some extent in all of us.
Everything in the body works wonderfully in moments of true equilibrium. All systems are tuned to the maximum, and in these nine months the miracle of life is taking shape. And then you take your first breath.
it’s a boy
These words are followed by one of the most blood-curdled screams you will ever hear. I know quite well. I’ve heard that scream three times. I was in a position with our doctor when the whole process happened for my wife and children and I remember that sound. Many people think this is naturally reflexive, and it is the way the baby announces that it has arrived.
But I have a different theory.
If everything is energy and energy cannot be destroyed, think about the space where the woman finds herself in one of the most catastrophic events of her life. Then think of the woman who was there before her, and then the one before that. Over time, this space becomes a petri dish full of emotions and electrical charges as these events penetrate the walls.
Think about how the dad feels (I can only speak for myself but I’ve been a nervous wreck with every delivery, probably more so than my incredible wife). Remember how jacked up the doctor and hospital staff are the moment the pushing starts.
Come back to the true love, elation, excruciating pain, fear, joy, terror and the most explosive emotions a person is capable of invading every square inch of this room.
The baby spent about nine months in the most wonderful environment it will ever know, and all the energy of the room for the first stage of life is absorbed in one breath.
At that moment, the same union of yin and yang is radically changed and the rest of that person’s life is spent trying to find balance.
think about it. According to the Alexa on my desk:
- As a noun, lightness is defined as freedom from work, pain or physical annoyance, calm rest, comfort.
- As a verb, it is defined as being free from fear or care.
- Throw “dis” in front of it and off you go.
Well, I am not betting my farm that Alexa is the omniscient fortune teller who only spits out truths, but if we can agree that her definition is nearly accurate, then what is missing?
She never mentioned it::
- Right nutrition
- Eight glasses of water a day
- Take vitamins
- Don’t live next to a power plant.
- With fluoride-free toothpaste
The things Alexa mentioned had to do with aspects of life that were perceived from within and the types of things we all want to achieve.
Your understanding of the second half of the disease right now has to do with calm, stillness, and contentment.
Good thing my Alexa and I are so close because a lot of the Chinese medical system is based on things like emotions, virtues, and the elements. Attach specifics to organs and what we have is an elegant view of disease and the root cause of anything that brings us into our favorite doctor’s waiting room.
If the opposite of ease focuses on fear, discomfort, pain, and physical annoyance, can you compose the picture that much of our illnesses are due to emotional distress?
Take this one big step forward; When overbearing emotions flood you, especially one or two, the balance between yin and yang becomes upset.
The longer you stay imbalanced, the richer the soil is to grow something terrible. I simplify this by leaps and bounds.
If I had the absolute freedom to explain all the connections between this organ, this meridian and these emotions, I could paint a clear picture for you. Just trust that everything is there.
The noise of life
I used the word noise because it captures an idea that I hope you will understand in this section.
The most centered person in the world faces the challenges of living this life at this time.
- Take every monastic person on this planet who has cultivated with decades of practice of meditation and prayer (something we will visit in the third installment) and drop them in downtown Los Angeles.
- Then give them a cell phone, a company job, a poor diet, a new girlfriend, bills to be paid, and a problematic right knee, and then watch all of that work unfold before our eyes.
- You see, believers, those who have dedicated their lives to service, especially service from a religious or spiritual point of view, these people go to monasteries and seminaries and are effectively imprisoned and removed from society as the noise of everyday life becomes filtered.
- They can have the ideal conditions to do their craft. You are not anti-social; They create the best possible framework for deep introspection, study, and cultivation.
The best way to learn to fly is in an airplane. The best place to learn how to be a priest and be in the service of God is in a monastery, away from the everyday life of society.
Now if you buy the entire yin and yang position and we know that the only time in your life that balance is really achieved is in the womb, then every second we are boots on the ground in this world that we pursue this balance.
I tell my patients that if they don’t practice, they will likely never achieve this absolute balance again.
Our life is a yang thunderstorm.
Think about it for a moment::
- The hectic pace of life
- Our jobs
- Our relationships
- The rubbish that the media is constantly trying to shovel down our throats like our diets.
- Everything we encounter in our waking hours is stress.
- And in the case of this article, Yang-type energy is blasted on us and into our energy field around the clock.
If we don’t have a solution to make up for this constant inundation, our tears should be the same and transform into something so one-sided that disease can occur.
I want to leave you with that.
And then we throw training on it. We purposely add another yang activity to an already noisy day because we love it and we think we’re doing ourselves a favor.
Yes, our fitness is good, our jeans look great, and I’ll be the first to say I go through a real posing routine in the mirror in the morning before brushing my teeth (stop lying, you do too ). . We love our time in the gym and we know it’s good for us.
Or is it?