Here’s a very enjoyable and informative clip on the hidden meanings of Yin and Yang in a cartoon format from John Bellaimey.
To understand and appreciate the philosophy of Yin Yang is a never ending journey and takes years of study and practice.
When I deliver a presentation with my colleague Sue James, and need to cover Yin Yang in a very short time I use the ‘Yin Yang arm exercise’.
Here’s how the ‘Yin Yang arm exercise’ works.
- Hold out your arm in front of you to about shoulder high
- Now stretch your arm out further until you feel a slight strain – that is extreme Yang
- Drop your arm down to your thigh – that is extreme Yin
- Now hold your arm out in front of you again
- Bend your are elbow slightly
- Now the outstretched arm is relaxed
By bending the elbow slightly you now have Yin in your outstretched arm. There are no longer extremes of Yin and Yang in your arm.
The idea of this exercise is how in Tai Chi you can maintain postures for long periods of time i.e. there must be Yin and Yang in all postures.
I’ve demonstrated this exercise for children as young as five years old to mature adults in their eighties.
To really understand Yin Yang you need to go beyond theory and practice and feel it in your Tai Chi form and Chi Kung exercises.
Footnote: Basic explanation: Yang – active energy. Yin – inactive energy
Be aware of Yin & Yang in your form – e.g. Left leg forward: Left leg & right arm are Yang – Right leg and left arm are Yin.
When extending your arms – don’t lock your elbow joints – leave some Yin there (slightly bent).