Yin and Yang, the ancient principle of Chinese medicine is all about balance. The Tai Ji (Greater ultimate) symbol of swirling fields of black and white denote two interdependent opposites. Once the yin (black) phase has reached its maximum expansion, it will turn into the opposite yang (white) phase and vice versa. The little dot with the opposite colour shows that when one phase is at it’s greatest, it already contains the seed of the opposite phase. Yin and yang can stand for any pair of opposites: hot- cold, dry- moist, thick- thin, loud- quiet, active- resting, expanding- contracting and so on. The aim of the Chinese medicine doctor is to bring yin and yang of the body into balance and restore it to homeostasis, a stable equilibrium of physiological processes.
Overstimulation is a common challenge to the balance of yin and yang. Constant exposure to external sensory input is considered an excess of yang. In our society it is easy to be connected to consumer electronics as a source of information, social interaction and entertainment during every waking hour. It is not unusual for someone to work on a computer for 8 hours to then come home and spend another three hour in front of the TV before finally going to sleep. Too much yang will eventually turn into it’s opposite and cause exhaustion, high stress levels, adrenal fatigue and low immunity. In terms of brain health this means loss of concentration, creativity and memory.
Meditation is a yin type activity that is suited perfectly for counteracting an excess of yang. Modern research tells us that regular meditation has many health benefits. It helps protect us from heart disease, cancer and dementia. It also improves sleep, concentration and the quality of our social interaction.
Meditation does not have to be connected to religion or spiritual practice and it does not require equipment or a difficult body posture.
All it takes is to simply sit in a comfortable position in a quiet space, indoors or outdoors. Close your eyes, relax your shoulders, breath through your nose. Keep your lips closed and your teeth slightly ajar. Rest the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your front teeth. Let go of your thoughts.
Thoughts will inevitably arise. Treat them like passing clouds. Let them move by without adhering to them. One traditional technique to stop the mind chatter is to focus on the breath. To be exact, focus on the sensation you get from the air passing through your nostrils.
Start with 10 minutes per day and increase the time by 5 minutes every week. Soon you will feel the balance of yin and yang return to your life.