A Simple Exercise to Restore Your Energetic Balance

Life is an ongoing dance of managing energy. There are times when it’s helpful to muster up strength and intensity to move through a challenge—increasing our focus, commitment, and determination. And there are times when we need ways to draw on qualities of receptivity, gentleness, and nourishment. The ancient teachings of martial arts and yoga can help us to navigate energetic ups and downs and inform our responses to them, supporting a life of greater vitality and ease. 

Each one of us is unique, while at the same time there are universal laws of energy that determine and dictate our ways of being in the world. Yoga postures, pranayama, and meditation, infused with martial arts, are profound practices to connect with your inner yin (passive) and yang (active) energies. Whether we experience an excessive flow of energy or a feeling of depletion, these ancient teachings offer guidance and tools to balance these energies. Both practices teach universal principles of energy efficiency, such as redirection of energy and balancing yin and yang, which are reflected in how we manage our inner and outer environments. 

Our practice on the mat offers a depth of wisdom that can inform our actions and decisions from day to day, by empowering us to see and recognize situations through the lens of energy, and fortifying us with the ability to respond accordingly. 

Awareness Exercise to Restore Inner Balance

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, hands by your sides.
  2. Feel the sensation and rhythm of your breath flowing in and out, without controlling it in any way.
  3. As you settle into this posture, bring your attention to any inner movement. 
  4. After a few moments, notice if you are feeling energetically exhausted (yang depletion) or restless (yin depletion). If you feel at ease in this posture, this indicates that your yin and yang energies are in balance. 

For yang energy depletion, try this practice of drawing energy from the sunas a way to boost your vitality and release any heavy or stagnant energy that may be expressing itself through negative thoughts or feelings of sluggishness. 

  1. Stand facing the sun with feet hip-width apart and hands in Anjali mudra (prayer or “Namaste” pose). 
  2. Take a moment to allow your energy to settle as you connect with the natural rhythm of your breath.  
  3. Inhale and reach forward at an upward angle towards the sun, allowing the base of the palms to gently part as you reach out.
  4. Exhale and bring your hands back to your heart, drawing the uplifting yang energy of the sun into your heart center. 
  5. After three breaths, pause with the hands at your heart and simply feel. Notice any shifts in your energy.
  6. Offer gratitude to yourself for making time and space for this healing practice.

For yin energy depletion, try this practice, known as Swallowing Moonbeams.

  1. Face the moon with hands at your heart in Anjali mudra.
  2. Take a moment to honor this time you’ve set aside for yourself.  
  3. Draw in a smooth, steady breath.
  4. As you release the breath, release your hands by your sides. 
  5. On the next inhale, step your right foot forward and gently lift your hands towards the moon in a continuous fluid motion. 
  6. On the exhale, shift your weight back and “gather moonbeams” with your hands, slowly circling towards your forehead and washing the cooling energy of the moon over and down your body as you swallow. 
  7. Repeat this flow of moving the body with breath nine times in a slow and steady manner.

Being present with sensations and fluctuations of energy on the mat teaches us how to integrate these principles off the mat, so we can increase our sense of balance, homeostasis, and abundance, and walk in the world with more confidence, ease, power, and grace. 

Nina Crist, codirector of the Jaguar Path School of Yoga and Shamanism, is a Kripalu Yoga teacher and black-belt martial arts instructor with 20 years of experience.

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