Within each of us exists a flow of masculine and feminine energy. These two forms of energy allow us to experience the richness, depth, and joy of life. Yet when they become imbalanced, we experience struggle, depression, stress, and anxiety. We can learn to work with our energy in a more conscious way, allowing for greater ease and balance in our life. The idea is to become so familiar with what thoughts and behaviors lead to imbalance, that we can self correct before any imbalance manifests.
As many of us have learned imbalanced energetic patterns throughout our lives from our families and society around us, it takes time and practice to relearn healthier, more balanced forms of expression, where our masculine and feminine aspects are expressed equally. Here is a review of the masculine and feminine energy.
Masculine (yang): The giver, the do-er, the creator, the thinker, rational, objective, logical, practical, mental, outward, extroverted, concrete, analytical, assertive, organizing, connected with the left hemisphere of the brain.
Feminine (yin): The receiver, the creative, intuitive, abstract, subjective, emotional, inward, introverted, nurturing, calm, soft, allowing, free flowing, connected with the right hemisphere of the brain.
Techniques for Balancing:
Creating a Balanced Lifestyle
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Using the Breath:
The Breath is a very powerful way to balance our energy. Think of every inhalation as masculine energy, and each exhalation is a feminine energy expression. By focusing on our breathing, we can allow our energy to naturally return to balance. In moments where you are overly agitated (excess of yang) allow your body to relax and release any tension through the out breath. Allow yourself to drop whatever it is you are doing and just relax, paying particular attention to the out breath. Notice the stillness the occurs at the moment between the exhalation and the inhalation. Do not try to control your breathing, instead, just allow yourself to relax as fully as possible
If, on the other hand, you are feeling sluggish and depressed (excess of yin) bring your attention to your breath, focusing this time on the inhalation. Allow yourself to take many deep full breathes. It may help to stand up and expand your chest open, wiggle your arms and legs, and get your energy flowing through your body. The breath is powerfully connected to the energy in the body, and just by focusing on the breath for a few minutes can realign ourselves to a balance state. Another powerful breathing technique is called Pranayama:
Pranayama Breathing Exercise
Pranayama is an ancient yogic practice of breath control. The word Pranayama translates as “extension of the life force.” This method of breathing stimulates the corpus callosum (the neural fibers connecting the right and left hemispheres of the brain). The stronger the corpus callosum, the more the right and left hemispheres of the brain work in conjunction and harmony, allowing for a greater integration of our masculine and feminine energy.
Begin by covering your right nostril with your index finger and taking a slow deep inhalation. Pause, cover your left nostril with your thumb while uncovering your right nostril, and allow for a slow, deep, exhalation. Repeat this for five to ten minutes, noticing how you feel before and after the breathing exercise. You may notice that you feel greater clarity, relaxation, and a sense of peace in your body after the exercise.
Using Your Thoughts
Every thought creates a corresponding energy with either masculine or feminine energy. When our thoughts become predominantly masculine we may notice ourselves losing touch with the feminine aspects of ourselves, and vice versa. We can use our thoughts, then, to return to a state of balance. This take practice to be able to identify the thoughts that are causing the distress, as well as the associated energy behind them, and then to consciously create different thoughts.
A simplified example of this is when you find that your mind has become overactive. You find that you are obsessing about future or past events, and that you can’t let go of control (excess of yang). In the moment of distress, bring your focus back to your breath and then consciously create thoughts to flow the opposite energy. In this case you might think about nature, a relaxing experience, or a beautiful image. Use any thought that slows your mind down and allows you to feel more stillness and peace within. Again, this takes practice, but once you are able to change the flow of your thoughts in this way, you will very quickly notice your emotional energy returning to balance.
Binaural Beats are a form of auditory technology that utilizes different frequencies of sound waves to stimulate parts of your brain, creating greater relaxation, focus, and mental functioning. The added benefit of this technology is that is also strengthens the corpus callosum, or connecting fibers between the right and left hemispheres of the brain, allowing for greater energy balancing within.
The way that it works is by listening to audio recordings through stereo headphones for ten to thirty minutes at a time. The right and left earphones emit two different auditory tones that are close in frequency, but not an exact match. As our brain uses the input from our left and right ears and attempts to create a single “sound” experience, the corpus callosum has to work extra hard to bridge the difference in tone frequencies. Through this process, the corpus callosum increases the flow of energy and information between the two hemispheres of the brain, creating greater balance.
Here is a sample of the audio. There is usually relaxing music overlaying the two frequencies, so you may not even hear the two frequencies. I have found Dr. Jeffrey Thompson’s CD’s effective and affordable. It is necessary to listen to binaural beats with stereo headphones.
Diet and Nutrition
Food also has yin and yang qualities, and by consciously eating according to our energy, we can create greater balance in our systems. Sugar, caffeine, and alcohol are all yang substances, and intake should be limited. In general, raw foods are cooling and have more yin energy, while cooked foods are warming and full of yang energy. It is best to experiment with different diets, finding one that is right for your own energy needs. If you tend to be yin deficient, you will want to try eating warmer foods throughout the day. The seasons will also effect which foods are best for your system. In the summer it may feel better to eat cooler foods. There is no formula for what will work for every person. But simply being aware of the energetics of your diet will help tune you in to your own intuition regarding what your body wants in order to stay balanced. Here is a partial list of foods and their qualities. Cold is Yin, while Hot is Yang. There are plenty of resources online where you can find more extensive lists.