Yin Yoga Teacher Training
The Esoteric and the Exoteric: Yin and Yang Theory
Everything we see, hear, touch, smell, taste and experience have different aspects that define them. We call this polarity, the state of having two opposite or contradictory tendencies or opinions. All things in the world of form and duality have a polar nature. It is how we communicate and explain things.
Dr. Hiroshi Motoyama explains this beautifully in his book Theories of the Chakras - Bridge to Higher Consciousness, he states that everything has two aspects: a surface aspect, which is exposed to light, and an interior, hidden aspect which is not so exposed. A plant for example, has above the ground a stem, branches, and leaves which are warmed and lit by the sun, whereas its roots are underground, untouched by any beam of sunlight. In the winter the portion above ground may appear to have died; but as the spring brings its warmth, the branches burst with life, fresh green leaves appear, and buds open. None of this could happen without the roots, the hidden part of the plant. It is the unexposed roots that supply the energy to sustain the portion that lives out in the snow, rain, wind, and sun, and it is thanks to the roots that this part returns from its wintry state of life. The latent, dark, unexposed aspect of things is known in Chinese philosophy as “yin”, while “yang is given to the patent, the bright, the exposed.
We can extend this to our own being, our true nature and true self is unconditional love and union (yin) with all that is however in the outside world we are led to believe we are seperate, this forces the ego (yang) part of ourselves to judge, blame, victimise, belittle, compare and many other negative ways of being to run our lives. A wise man is one is enlightened and who has balanced his both yin and yang qualities between the physical world, energetic and spiritual planes and therefore can live in peace and harmony with all other beings.
INTRO TO THE TAO
In Taoist philosophy it is observed that everything has yin and yang attributes and that one can not exist without the other. The Tao is translated to “the way” and from a spiritual aspect The Tao is the divine. The Taoist were known as sorcerers or magicians who could master immortality and integrate themselves within the great laws of nature without being subject to the physical form, birth, death or decay. If we fight the laws of nature then inevitably we are bound to suffer. If we are aligned with the law of nature, we can harness great power beyond limitation.
Ancient Chinese shamans studied nature for thousands of years, they strengthened their connection to nature by making offerings to the sky, earth, mountains, rivers and valleys which soon revealed certain patterns and rhythms. This was passed through many generations as they began to tune into more and more subtle layers of existence. Through Taoists practices they discovered that within all matter was an undercurrent of energy and vibration.
It is only our limited perspective that we do not see past things that appear to be solid and concrete.
If we go back to Einsteins theory in 1905, that everything in the universe being pure energy. We can use a wooden table for example, with close examination the wood reveals it is made of fibres. What are fibres made of? Patterns of cells. The cells are patterns of molecules, and if we go even deeper we discover molecules are patterns of atoms. Atoms are made of subatomic particles which include electrons, protons, neutrons, and photons.
When Taoists observed nature, they saw much more than a tree made of wood. They saw a tree as a dance of energy and vibration.
Yin encompasses Yang
Take a look at the yin and yang symbol there is a black dot within the white swirl and vice versa. There is light within the dark and dark within the light.
When we talk about our practice there are very active forms of exercise/asana (yang) and very passive (yin) and within these practices our yang element can encompass a yin element.
Yin transforms to Yang / Yang transforms to Yin
Winter is Yin which transforms to spring (Yang) while Spring is Yang when compared to Winter (Yin) Spring becomes Yin in relation to Summer (Yang).
In life we constantly transform from Yin to Yang and Yang to Yin depending on our lifestyle choices. We may have stronger qualities of Yin/Yang or at times we can become unbalanced and have too much of one or the other.
Yin consumes Yang
If we become unbalanced nature acts and responds by sending us signals to change something and restore our balance. The universal law of harmony can throw us on the other side and our health may suffer, our relationships or something may change in our lives. If we are connected and conscious of these signs we are able to tune in and become aware of the things we need to change in order to balance Yin/Yang. If we are not, this is when Yin/Yang consumes the opposite and devastating consequences may happen. For example dis-eases manifests in the body, in Chinese medicine they refer to this imbalance as an excess or deficiency and the only way to restore is to apply the opposite energy.
The “shadow” is a concept by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung that describes those aspects of the personality that we choose to reject and repress.
“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.” - Carl Jung
The reason I am going into this as it is deeply connected with our Yin practice and the practice of mindfulness. When we are in a Yin posture we may have all sorts of different emotions, thoughts, concepts, self reflection ect. going on and a lot of the time so do your students. It is our job as carers to ensure people know they are in a safe place, and also that this is a non-judgmental place of self introspection and anything that arises is acceptable.