yin and yang: physical

One of the major concepts at the foundation of acupuncture is yin and yang.  This concept pervades acupuncture (and the rest of Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as Chinese culture generally).  It is very broad and can be a bit slippery.

The best way to get a handle on what yin and yang means is to experience it.

Lets start with the physical movement.  Other posts will deal with the emotional, mental and spiritual.

A Physical Exercise to Experience Yin and Yang.

Yin is associated with the front of our bodies and going inwards.  Yang is associated with the back of our bodies and going outwards.

Begin standing with your feet under your hips and your knees a little bent (not locked) and your head resting lightly on your shoulders.  Now begin to curl up, eventually (if you are flexible enough) curling into a ball.  If you aren’t terribly flexible just do as much as you can – the important thing is to get the feeling of withdrawing (you can do this by moving very little).

Then begin to uncurl, moving outwards and upwards, eventually with your legs spread and your hands reaching toward the sky or ceiling.

Then gently return to standing with your feet under your hips and your knees a little bent (not locked) and your head resting lightly on your shoulders.  (If you don’t like standing you can do it lying down – though the difference may not be as noticeable).
Do this a few times until you feel the different qualities of going inwards and moving outwards.  This is one part of the experience of yin and yang.

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