Exercise as the New Yang

I was doing my usual routine this morning. After getting my son off to school and my husband off to work, I eat breakfast, answer emails, visit my friends on Facebook, meditate, and then walk for exercise. When I landed on Facebook, I encountered an interesting article that stopped me and made me think. I like it when that happens. The article was called “10 Tips from a Shaolin  Monk on How to Stay Young Forever. It was enticing as I’m always looking for ways to stay young.

The balance of yin and yang...

The balance of yin and yang...

What struck me was the use of the concepts of yin and yang in regards to exercise. I had not thought of exercise as being a Yang activity but it totally is. You see, I spend a lot of time (most of my time) in very Yin activities like meditation, contemplation, and writing/creating. I find great joy in these but sometimes I go too far inward and this can sometimes lead to feeling depressed or lifeless. What I never realized before this article was the need for some Yang to counterbalance all of this Yin work. Duh!

Just to clarify, the yin yang are concepts from Chinese philosophy that are complementary rather than opposing forces. Yin might represent dark or female while Yang represents light or male. You can’t have dark without light or male without female. It’s the sun (yang) and the moon (yin). The I Ching or any Taoist literature can expand upon this idea. (Wikipedia covers the topic with links to more references.)

So, a few months ago, while in meditation, I asked for guidance on a healthy, productive schedule to implement on a daily basis. What I got was Meditate - Exercise - Work - Shower - Work. So in September when my son went back to school, I began to use that as my daily regimen and it was fabulous. The energy uplift I received from the introduction of almost daily exercise was huge. Plus, it gave me benefits in creativity and I solved problems more quickly. It was a huge discovery for me to realize how important exercise is for me on a daily basis (or at least I try to make it daily).

Exercise cranks up my creativity...

Exercise cranks up my creativity...

What I was missing before was the yang to all the yin work I was doing. Once they balanced, work went faster, ideas were more creative, and sparks were flying as I was getting more done in less time. My flow was way better and I’d get ideas or solutions to problems while I was exercising. The movement of my body allowed the crustiness of old processes and ideas to fall away and allow expansion to occur. It was truly amazing.


I think this new point of view in regards to balancing my yin and yang will help me frame exercise in a more positive light. I’m thinking of other yang activities that will also benefit me in moving forward. I really like public speaking and teaching and these are yang activities as well. As I continue, I think I’m going to start a list of yin and yang activities so I start to balance myself even better. What do you do that is yang? What about yin? How do you balance?