Balancing Energy In (Yin) And Energy Out (Yang) To Manage Our Health And Stress Levels
“If we could give every individual the right amount of nourishment and exercise, not too little and not too much, we would have found the safest way to health” – Hippocrates.
Exercise is frigging awesome! It shifts energy, gets rid of toxins, clears the mind, breaks down cells in our body to promote the growth of newer stronger ones, and just plain old FEELS GOOD.
Unfortunately today it is often the case that we may not be prescribing ourselves the best kind of exercise, or even doing any at all. If we were to compare our lifestyles from present day society to a hundred years ago (before heart disease and chronic illness), we might well be looking at two different species.
We are moving a lot less and at the same time, doing a lot more. Our society hardly permits the idea of ‘play’, and we have found ourselves to be so busy that by the end of the day, a lot of people lack the energy to do anything for themselves.
Apart from our lack of movement, as well as affecting our ability to exercise, low energy and raised stress impact, what we look like in the mirror and how we feel within ourselves. Exercise in reality is another stress on our system. All stress in the body summates as one; physical (exercise), nutritional, chemical and emotional. Each form experienced under the same umbrella for stress. As our body has the capacity to handle only so much stress, then we need to choose our exercise carefully.
If we apply our YIN/YANG philosophy to movement, we can think of it as appropriateness:
Working In / Working Out
So for example, after a day which is fairly full-on in terms of stress levels, what might be appropriate is some breathing exercise, going for a bush walk, yoga, tai chi, swimming, or any exercise that returns energy to the body. These activities can be called WORKING IN.
Conversely, if I’ve had a great day, eaten well, been kind to myself and the systems of the body, perhaps a more YANG (outwardly expressed) kind of exercise, or WORK OUT, could be the best for me. Think beach sprints, strengthening exercises, boxing… the list
goes on! The important part is that we stimulate our nervous system to keep it active, intelligent and challenged.
It may be interesting to note that our bodies are not getting stronger during exercise – when we are breaking tissue down – but rather, during rest – when our bodies are repairing and regrowing.
If your body’s resources can support the demands you are placing on it, go for it! If you want your body to possess the ability to WORKOUT effectively, make sure you’re giving it all the love and care it needs so that you can make yourself stronger and healthier. The go-to man for holistic health, Paul CHEK, likens exercise to a drug, cautioning that “If you use the wrong type of exercise, you get the wrong type of high.”
The quest for wellness can be thought of as a process where with time, we seek and gain the ability to tune into the body’s needs and honour these effectively. This can be applied across all life domains, from the food we put into our bodies, to the people we bring into our lives, and the working environment we spend time in while we earn a living every day. As we become increasingly in tune with our bodies, we become increasingly aware of what it really wants and needs. It’s this very consciousness that will lead to your ultimate health and vitality.
First published in North Journal