How To Use The Concepts Of Yin And Yang To Find Balance In Life

Yin and yang, often referred to as yinyang or yin-yang, is a phrase you've most likely heard before, but understanding the concepts, energetic impacts, and influence that yin and yang have is important to living your best life. Once you learn about the foundations of yin and yang and their respective capabilities, as well as how they work in tandem to create strength of balance and harmony within your life, you can apply the concepts in ways that bring more positive energy, peaceful contentment, and joy into your life. Today, it isn't uncommon to live a busy lifestyle involving regular experiences of overwhelm, stress, and mayhem, making the search for equilibrium between yin and yang even more ideal as their solid stabilization can calm the chaos. Who wouldn't pass up the chance to make life a little less hectic?

For centuries, the practice of leaning into yin and yang, both individually and as complementary stabilizers of one another, has been used for spiritual, intellectual, and interpersonal growth. Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP) reveals that the origins of yin and yang have been traced back to the 14th century BCE, from which point forward they have been a staple within Chinese philosophy. With millennia of interpretations of yin and yang, the core values remain the same, namely those of parity and harmony. Here's how to apply yin and yang within all areas of your life to embrace the joy of balance.

Understand your yin and yang energy

Knowing that the teachings of yin and yang have withstood the test of time, it's clear that there are effective principles to be learned from centuries of study. There are three main principles encompassing yin and yang, according to IEP. First, yin and yang both exist in all things. Second, the interaction of yin and yang flows between the physical and spiritual. The final core concept is that the balancing act of yin and yang is an ongoing process that maintains equilibrium in all beings and energetic forces. Within yin and yang, there are warmer elements corresponding with earthly existence and cooler components associated with spiritual and cosmic realms. The iconic symbol is the circular image where black and white shapes of the same size fit together in simple symmetry of one another, often described as a depiction of creation and existence. Within the larger black and white shapes of the symbol are smaller circles of the respective other color, showing that yin and yang are found both within one another and alongside each other.

Applying yin and yang means finding balance amongst the many components found within your life. The themes of yin are rooted in softness, contemplation, coolness, and feminine energy. Yang's themes focus on heated action, movement, and masculine energy. Importantly, both yin and yang must exist together or neither will exist. A practical example is the relationship between sleeping and waking hours.

Create balance in your life and relationships

In modern culture, there is constant discussion about what it means to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Yin and yang can help you find the perfect equilibrium by reminding you to take care of yourself. One of the most important elements of yin and yang is the balance of activity with rest, per Chenot. In order to show up for yourself, your family and friends, and your professional colleagues at your best, rest is critically essential. This could mean getting sufficient sleep and practicing healthy sleep hygiene, allowing yourself waking downtime to relax, setting boundaries about the amount of extra work you're willing to take on, taking extra rest days from working out to allow your body to heal, or any other form of rejuvenation for your mind, body, soul, and emotional well-being. As it's said during airline safety briefings, you must put your own oxygen mask on first before helping others. Yin and yang, which respectively represent rest and activity, cannot be harmonized if you don't achieve the rest your physical and mental health require.

On the other end of the balancing metric, yang represents activity, action, and movement. In your own life, this could take the form of maintaining friendships, going to social events, applying for a new job or seeking professional advancement, planning date nights with your partner, or through other endeavors which stimulate you. Prioritize an array of activities and social interactions, avoiding those friendships and events that deplete you.

Cultivate your imagination and innovation

The elements of yin and yang apply to your physical wellness and tangible endeavors, while also taking form within your intellect, imagination, and creative inspiration. Use the principles of yin and yang to create a lifestyle that balances routine and structure with spontaneity and flexibility. Since each person prefers spontaneity and structure to varying degrees, work towards the parity that feels most comfortable for you. As you build your balance, you are cultivating creativity in its rawest form, which is to bring things into existence. From the moment you wake up in the morning, you are creating the layout of your daily life. 

Use the guiding principles of yin, like the stillness of relaxation and thoughtful approaches to relationships, with those of yang, such as the motivation for pushing yourself towards positive growth and trying new things. As you allow your body and mind to become restored through rest and relaxation, you'll be able to embrace trying new things with a fresh mind and excitement. For example, if you've always wanted to try an art class and need routine, then look for a weekly art class in your community. Should you seek spontaneity, purchase supplies for a DIY project to work on over a weekend. By their very existence, yin and yang encourage innovation in your life. Even the mere reminders of yin to rest and the support from yang to seek growth will bring innovation, inspiration, and balance into your life.

Harmonize the areas of your life

When you take stock of your life, including your past, present, and future, keep in mind that yin and yang refrain from judgment and never label anything as all good or all bad, advises Luminous Spaces Feng Shui. If you haven't stayed on top of doing your laundry, returning emails, or calling an elderly family member in recent memory, the message from yin and yang's energy is that there's no reason to be hard on yourself. In fact, beating yourself up for letting dishes pile up in the sink or feeling guilty for not agreeing to take on an extra project at work are energetic contributions that throw yin and yang into a state of instability. 

To counteract any imbalance in your life, take a step back and reconnect with yourself. Try journaling to clear your head and think through the aspects of your life that have been adding stress, as well as those areas of your life that have been continuously nourishing your body and soul. Yin and yang promote harmony and contentment, not a balance between stress and intermittent joy. Essentially, take this as your sign to look at all areas of your life and reassess the relationships, endeavors, or self-care elements that are either missing or leaving you feeling overwhelmed. Harmonize the nuanced areas of your life, too. These include expressions of courage and assertive action balanced with self-reflection, and listening harmonized with speaking when interacting with others. 

Nourish your body and soul

Yin and yang balance rest with activity, an approach that is further enhanced through diet and physical movement for the benefit of bodily nourishment. When you think about what nourishes your body, food is a primary source. To inject yin and yang into your diet, consider the nutrients found in plant-based foods that can fuel your body with sweets, desserts, or other treats which are pleasurable indulgences for you. It could be buttery popcorn, ice cream, french fries, or any other culinary dish that's absolutely delicious to you but isn't the healthiest item to eat daily. Yin and yang push you to enjoy a balance on your plate which is best for your individual health. Denying yourself the foods you love for an unrelenting adherence to a specific diet won't bring you the balance yin and yang represent, while too much of an indulgent dish may pose harm to your health.

According to Experience Life, yin and yang fitness is an approach that encourages yang workouts such as strength-building exercises and cardio with yin recovery in the form of foam rolling, stretching, and massage. You can infuse your fitness routine with mindfulness and meditation, including a fusion of the two through yoga. Just as yin and yang can't exist without each other, the respective types of physical activity work in tandem wherein the yin processes of relaxing and focusing your mind can provide you with increased clarity during your yang workouts.

Give back to people and planet

As much as yin and yang support you in developing personal growth and finding equilibrium within your life, there is a foundational concept that emphasizes the sentiment of balance between enjoying one's own life with giving back to the planet and aiding other people. Yin and yang support gratitude, philanthropy, and acts of kindness. To focus entirely on your own life will create an imbalance, just as giving every resource you have to other people and never taking care of yourself creates instability in the energetic symmetry which is meant to exist between yin and yang.

Luminous Spaces Feng Shui says that there is a "cosmic trinity" comprised of the realms of divine or heavenly energy, humanity, and nature. The energetic relationships amongst the trinity keep the spiritual and earthly elements in symmetry with one another. Applying the energetic connections of the trinity to your life, you should find ways to express gratitude for the gifts given to you by the earth and return those gifts with conservation or preservation efforts of your own, manifest appreciation for the abundance in your life alongside efforts to help your fellow people, and practice the same equipoise for the divine spirituality which is honored by yin and yang. One practical way to implement this is to support loved ones in need and to show your genuine appreciation for the ways they support you.