Tag Archives: Yin

3 Yin Yoga Moves For A Better Nights Sleep

Insomnia is a very common symptom of imbalance between the Yin Qi and Yang Qi. Here are 3 Yin Yoga poses that can help.

We all know what it’s like to lie wide-eyed, wishing we could fall asleep. Pretty awful. And the more we try to coax ourselves to doze off, the more restless we become.

Blame an imbalance between Yin (cooling) energy and Yang (heating) energy, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The solution is balancing those energies. And Yin Yoga is a great way to do it according to the Yoga Journal.

This slow, joint-stimulating style of yoga is built on yin and yang theory—a core theory of Chinese medicine that’s depicted by the Taiji symbol.

The theory says that everything in the universe has yin and yang qualities and is always in a yin or yang relationship to something else.

Generally speaking, things that are:

Yin: Tend to be dark, hidden, quiet, cool, and still. Yin manifests as the water element.

Yang: Tend to be bright, superficial, loud, hot, and active. Yang manifests as the fire element.

When yin and yang are balanced, we’re healthy. When they’re imbalanced, we can become unhealthy.

One very common symptom of imbalance between yin and yang is insomnia or poor sleep—something you might experience when you have too much yang energy or too little yin energy.

Yin Yoga helps by stimulating the body’s Meridians, or energy lines, in a generalized way that brings you into balance. Your energy, or Qi in Chinese medicine, flows through your Meridians, which are thought to be in your connective tissue. Yin Yoga postures stimulate the connective tissue to balance the body’s energy by unblocking your Qi.

Try this simple sequence designed to nourish your yin energy and cool your inner fire, to promote a restful night of soothing sleep that will recharge you.

Melting Heart (Anahatasana)

Come to your hands and knees then walk your hands forward, fully extending your arms, and allow your head and chest to drop toward the floor. If you prefer, you can prop your head with a blanket or block. If it’s more comfortable, glide your hips back slightly toward your heels. Stay 3-5 minutes.

This pose targets the yin Meridians of the arms (Pericardium, Lung, and Heart Meridians). The Heart Meridian, especially, is involved with calming the mind.

Difficulty sleeping is connected to a heart imbalance in Chinese medicine. That’s because the heart is seen as the “house” of the mind, or spirit. If the heart is weak or agitated, it disturbs the mind, causing sleep problems. Aim to feel sensation in the underside of the arms into the armpits in order to optimally influence the Heart Meridian.

Dragonfly (Upavistha Konasana)

Sit and widen your legs just enough to feel mild sensation along the inner legs. Place your hands in front of you and fold forward, gently rounding the spine. Sitting on a folded blanket can help tilt the pelvis forward, and resting your arms and/or head on a bolster or cushion may provide additional calm. Stay 3-5 minutes or longer.

This pose targets the Liver Meridian, which runs through the inner legs, and helps promote a free-flow of energy through the body so that all organs function better, helping you rest well. And it affects the Bladder Meridian, which runs down the back body, along the sides of the spine, and the down the back of the legs. The Bladder Meridian influences the water element of the body, thereby cooling excess heat and calming the mind.

Simple Twist

Lie on your back, draw your knees into your chest, and softly roll to your right side as though you were going to sleep. Slowly lift your left arm and take it to your left side, allowing the upper left shoulder to rest toward the ground. You can keep your left hand on your left waist for a while, and then gradually reach your left arm farther to the left to increase the twist. Stay 3-5 minutes then switch sides.

This pose targets all the main Meridians that enter and pass through the torso. By gently twisting the spine in this reclining twist, all Meridians are gently stimulated, thereby encouraging a homeostatic balance and greater harmonization between yin and yang energy.

Conclusion

Practicing Yin Yoga gives you that dreamy afterglow where you find that moment of absolute peace within yourself; which gives you a restful nights sleep.

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The “Five Elements” Theory Of Chinese Cooking

Chinese people believe that we are surrounded by five energy fields or five different kinds of “chi” (氣). These are also called the “Five Elements” and they play an important role in all aspects of Chinese culture, including the way people eat.

This theory states that if these five elements are changed or moved, this could seriously affect a person’s fate.

If the concept of Yin and Yang is the center of the Chinese culture, then the theory of the “Five Elements” should be treated as its cornerstone. But what exactly are the five elements of Chinese cooking and how do they play a part in Chinese cuisine?

The five elements are: Metal, Wood, Water, Fire and Earth.

It’s just like finding the perfect balance yin and yang, it’s about trying to find the perfect balance between the five elements.

The Five Elements In Chinese Cuisine

Chinese herbalists and doctors believe that to properly treat a patient, you must know the state of the five elements in their body. Any deficiency or an excess of an element can lead to illness. 

The five elements also represent our five main organs:

    Lung (metal)
    Liver (wood)
    Kidney (water)
    Heart (fire)
    Spleen (earth)

The five elements also represent five different colors:

    White (metal)
    Green (wood)
    Black/blue (water)
    Red (fire)
    Yellow (earth)

In Chinese medicine and cooking, it’s believed that if you are weak or ill in certain parts of your body or organs, you should consume certain colors/elements of food to help you feel better and improve your health.

Red/Fire/Heart Food

Chinese people believe consuming food that is red in color is good for your heart, small intestine, and brain.

Foods that fall into this category include carrots, tomato, sweet potato, strawberry, chili, red beans, red pepper, jujube, goji berry, dragon fruit, apple, brown sugar, and anything else that is a shade of red.

Green/Wood/Liver Food

If you consume green-colored food, it’s good for your liver, gallbladder, eyes, muscle, and joints.

The list of green foods could be endless. Some of the main ingredients used in Chinese food include mung bean, Chinese leeks, wasabi, and all the green vegetables and fruits.

Yellow/Earth/Spleen Food

According to this theory, yellow food is good for your digestive system and spleen.

You can eat things like sweet or baby corn, yellow sweet potato, taro, oats, pumpkin, butternut squash, yellow pepper, soybeans, egg yolk, bean curd, ginger, orange, star fruit, lemon, pineapple, papaya, peanut, walnut, honey, and more.

White/Metal/Lung Food

If you eat white-colored food, it is supposed to benefit your lungs, large intestine, nose and respiratory system, and skin.

Common white foods include rice and noodles, both of which are staples in Chinese cuisine. The list also includes lotus seed, daikon, onion, garlic, bitter melon, winter melon, broccoli, bamboo shoots, white wood ear, milk, tofu, soy milk, Asian pear, banana, almond, white sesame, rock sugar, and more

Black/Water/Kidney Food

Black and blue foods are reportedly good for your kidneys, bones, ears, and reproductive organs.

Black or dark blue foods aren’t as numerous, but the list includes some great options. Look for ingredients like wood ear, seaweed, shiitake mushrooms, eggplant, black beans, raisins, blueberry, black grapes, black sesame, black vinegar, tea, sweet bean sauce, and more.

Conclusion: It’s Not a Prescription Diet

Please note, eating a balanced diet is very important. This article is simply intended to introduce you to the five elements theory as it’s reflected in Chinese food. It is not designed to be a magic cure-all for anything that ails you. If you have any health issues, it is important to consult your doctor or a nutritionist before you take on any specific diet.

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Energize Your Décor With Feng Shui

Spring is here and it’s the perfect time to give your home an energy boost to support your family, life and pets.

Feng Shui is the Chinese art of placement and a design system based on the concept of “chi” energy — the life force that exists in all things — that aims to create harmonious living spaces.

Here are a few feng shui tips to energize your home.

Clear The Clutter: Clutter is like clogged arteries in the energy flow of your home.

Household items are considered clutter if they get in your way, distract you from what’s important, and don’t have a use or place in your life.

If you’re spending too much time managing your stuff, tackle one room at a time and donate unused items to charity or pass them along to someone who can use them.

When you remove clutter, you create space for new opportunities.

Move Your Furniture: The location of key pieces of furniture in a room, such as your bed, desk or sofa, determines if you are in a proactive or reactive relationship to your surroundings.

Check each room to see if your furniture is in the “command position.” Is it outside the direct path when entering the room? Is its backside against a solid wall so you’re facing the entrance when sitting or sleeping on it? Do you have a clear view of the entrance from it? Is it the focal point of the room? If you answer “no” to any of these questions, consider moving the furniture to a better spot.

Refresh Your Surroundings: Give your home a deep clean by opening the windows to release stagnant air; cleaning window panes for sparkling views of the outdoors; washing décor, bedding and pet beds; and dusting, vacuuming and cleaning your floors.

Consider aromatherapy scents to clear your mind and energize your day.

Therapeutic-quality essential oils, such as lemon, orange and citrus, used in a diffuser or room spray can help create a stimulating and uplifting atmosphere in your home.

Enhance Outdoor Pet Spaces: Pets enjoy fresh air and exercise. A pet door installed in a window, door or wall offers them freedom to enjoy the stimulation of the outdoors.

Fenced backyards keep a dog contained, but cats can scale a fence and encounter many outdoor hazards. If you’re a cat owner, the addition of a catio, an enclosed “cat patio” for a window, porch, patio, deck or yard can provide a solution while complementing your home.

Be sure to provide fresh water for your pets when outdoors and remove toxic lawn or garden chemicals to protect pets, birds and wildlife.

Add Color And Décor Accents: A new coat of paint for the interior or exterior of your home is a low-cost and high-impact way to change the energy of your surroundings.

Yin rooms (quiet, private rooms) benefit from soothing and calming colors including blue, green and muted colors, while Yang spaces (active rooms) benefit from red, yellow and energizing colors.

Whether you add new pillows for your sofa, artwork for the wall or place mats for your dining table, color can positively affect how your feel in your home.

As you change your surroundings this spring, may positive energy flow for a harmonious home.

Cooking The Feng Shui Way

We all know the ideal meal has a variety of colors. Not only is a monochrome meal boring to look at, it doesn’t provide the variety of nutrients that our bodies need.

Feng Shui and Chinese Medicine are closely linked. “The Five Elements” are associated with seasons and organs and when you eat foods according to the season, it will help balance the corresponding organ.”

For example: the Metal Element is associated with the color white, the season of Autumn, and the body organ of the lungs. So incorporating pungent white foods, such as those in the onion family, are useful for dispelling mucous and common colds that often occur during this time of year.

The Five Elements On Your Plate

Metal – White – Autumn – Lungs – pungent white foods such as onions.

Water – Black – Winter – Kidneys/dark, salty foods such as seaweed or miso soup.

Wood – Green – Spring – Liver – leafy vegetables and sour flavors such as lime or vinegar.

Fire – Red – Summer – Heart – As the heart is already quite active in summer, choose bitter foods such as burdock root or sprouts to reduce excess fire and clean out the cardiovascular system.

Earth – Yellow – Late Summer – Spleen-Pancreas – sweet potatoes, yams, and squash.

A well balanced plate will promote the health of each of the major organs, but eat more of the flavor and color of foods that correspond to each season for best health.

Yin & Yang Foods

The goal of Feng Shui is to create harmony and one of the ways we do that is to create a balance between Yin and Yang, the active and the passive. With food, we can do this as well as all food falls on a continuum of Yang to Yin.

In fact, you can anticipate how you will feel after a meal based on what kinds of foods you eat! Want to feel more energized? Eat Yang! Want to feel more relaxed and mellow? Eat Yin!

Yang foods: are more energetic, they are warming foods that stimulate movement, progress and activity. These foods include meat and eggs, and hard cheeses.

Yin foods: are cooling and promote relaxation and reflection, such as liquids, fruit, sour foods and vegetables.

A beautiful food chart that categorizes Yang-to-Yin foods can be found here.

Feng Shui Food Preparation

One of my favorite scenes in the movie Like Water for Chocolate was the one in which she prepares the meal while completely depressed and when the guests come to eat, they all begin inexplicably crying! It’s Feng Shui food preparation at its most elemental!

Everything you do around the cooking process of your food preparation and dining gets absorbed right into the food and then into your body. This is why we strive to create a kitchen that is clean, bright, and happy!

Sometimes, just playing some favorite music or taking a moment to dance in between washing and chopping can add some zip to your meal and to your body!

And bring out the best! You deserve to eat on the your best dishes! In fact, toss out the chipped, broken and cracked dish ware and bent forks and give yourself the royal treatment.

Where you eat maters as well. If you’re accustomed to eating in front of the TV, try out your dining room table! And one tip for romance: sit next to your partner during the meal instead of across from each other. Your energies can mingle more and so can you!

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