Staying healthy with a simple exercise that creates an energy harmony in your body
We are having one of the hottest and sunniest summers in Amsterdam this year. In TCM (Traditional Chinese medicine) that means there is a lot of yang energy around. Hence this week, I am focusing on an exercise that will balance the excess of yang and helps you to cool your mind and body.
TCM philosophy defines balance as a balance of yin and yang energy.
All aspects of life can be classified into yin or yang. Yin is the night, the darkness, the cold, rest and sleep. Yang is the opposite. The sun, the day, light, heat, activity. In summer the yang energy is at its top peak.
Yin and yang need each other and work in interdependence.
In a healthy body yin and yang energy are in balance. In TCM all sicknesses are described as an excess or shortage of one of the energies.
Imagine a person that is very active (yang) and works very long hours (yang). This person cannot sleep (yin) well at night and has difficulties switching of his busy brain. This person performs a lot of yang activities and experiences a shortage of yin energy is his body. He needs to change his lifestyle to do less and rest more to calm his brain and improve sleep.
People can also be described as a yin or yang person. Someone who loves activity and interaction with others, who is restless, has a loud voice and constantly talks is more yang. This person is more in danger to develop a shortage of yin energy.
On the other hand someone who loves to relax and lie on the couch all day is more yin. Equally that person needs to get out and move around otherwise his yang energy will get out of balance and he will fall ill.
Do you recognise if you are more yin or yang?
There is one yoga pose that brings your yin and yang energy in balance. My yoga teacher once said to me "If you do only one pose a day, do this one." and I agree with her.
This pose strengthens two very important extraordinary meridians, the conception and governing vessel. They control and feed all yin and yang meridians in your body and will bring the yin and yang energy in your body in balance.
You will experience this energy harmony as a calm mind that can focus and as a body that has energy but is also sufficiently rested to take on the challenges of the day.
This is the pose. It is called cat-cow pose.
I do this pose almost daily, usually at the beginning of my practice as it warms up the spine.
1 On all fours, your knees should be hip width distance and your hands should be directly below your shoulders. Your spine is neutral here.
2 Inhale as you drop your belly and lift your gaze and your tail bone towards the sky. (Cow Pose)
3 Exhale as you slowly tuck your chin towards your chest, lift your mid-back towards the sky and scoop your tailbone under. Like you’re imitating a scary Halloween cat. (Cat Pose)
4 Do at least four rounds of these then return to a neutral spine.