I want to use a blog post to talk about yin energy training. Most serious trainees that I know spend too much time in the opposite side of the energy spectrum, yang energy. So what is yin and why is it so important? Keep reading and you will find out.
Yang & Yin Energy
In the book Like A Splinter In your Mind, author Matt Lawrence explains how the film The Matrix uses Tao wisdom in it’s main plot. One of the most important scenes in the entire movie franchise is when Neo meets with the Merovingian and they speak about causality.
Simply put, causality is yin & yang, cause & effect, the law of karma, etc. Every action that you take has an equal and opposite reaction. Matt Lawrence explained that in ordinary life he who understands this principle is the master of his/her life. He who doesn’t is the architect of their own destruction.
Applying metaphysics to the gym is simple in this case. Going balls out all of the time is considered yang energy training and taking it easy and doing relaxing exercises is considered yin energy training.
According to the principle of yin and yang, going balls out hardcore all of the time without taking adequate rest will lead to unforeseen blowback. This can come in the form of high anxiety/stress, tension headaches, migraines, fatigue, depression, etc. Yeah, pretty nasty stuff.
Unfortunately for many people, this author included, the only way to find out about this is to go through it yourself. Chances are you clicked on this article for similar circumstances. So why does it have to come to this? Why do people need to have severe events happen to them in order to rest. Well, because western civilization tells us so.
In western cultures, capitalism is the main engine of civilization. Capitalism tells us that if we work really hard, then we can become like those celebrities we see on television. I’m not saying that this is not true. Hard work absolutely pays off and it will make a huge difference on your journey to success. Rest and relaxation on the other hand, must also be coupled with hard work in order to make success possible.
Look at professional athletes, some of them take months off of training just to give their mind a break. I, myself have noticed some of the best progress of my life after I take a long break from training.
Taking a break should not be confused with doing nothing. There are plenty of workouts and exercises that can be done. The exercises fall into the category of yin energy training, which may be uncomfortable for some lifters who are used to going psycho all of the time.
How To Do Yin Energy Training
When you first try yin energy training, it will be a little awkward. During regular yang energy training, you get yourself all psyched up and attack the exercises with a vengeance. Not with yin training. The motto isn’t attack, but yield.
There is an entire yoga practice dedicated to yin energy training, not surprisingly called yin yoga. With regular yoga you try to force the stretch for the sake of time. With yin yoga you forget all about time, you just relax yourself into each stretch. This can result in some of the stretches lasting anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes each!
Being in a stretch position for that long of a time requires extreme patience and stillness of the mind. Don’t believe me try it for yourself. After the first minute I was saying to myself; “Is it over yet?” Furthermore, I believe this has tremendous carryover to the yang activities by teaching the mind that results and progress do not come overnight. You cant force progress, it comes to you when it’s ready.
This is what the practices of tai chi and qui gong also teach you. Learning the moves for these two practices is much tougher than it looks. The exercises also require you to focus on your breathing while executing the moves. Again we are teaching ourselves to surrender to the laws of nature and let progress come to us instead of chasing it.
Putting It All Together
Ultimately the whole point of all of this is strengthening the mind. No matter what opponent you face, you will never be a champion unless you face and conquer the greatest opponent of them all, yourself.
Most of the time YOU are your own greatest enemy. Never-mind the physical and technical stuff, in the end none of that even matters. Most forms of defeat occur in the mind before a competition or event even takes place.
People have a false perception of reality, they think that they are just going to make constant progress all the way to the finish line. My response to that is: “you are in for a rude awakening.” Ignorance is truly bliss. I remember when I first started out on my journey into fitness, athletics and entrepreneurship, I thought I was just going to keep making progress non-stop. Boy was I wrong.
I learned the hard way that you can’t put timetables on every single project or goal you have, otherwise you stress yourself to burnout. Nothing is certain. With our arithmetic and scientific knowledge, we like to think that we know everything. We like to think that we can predict everything. We can’t. Eventually, spontaneity and/or chaos will happen at one point or another. To deny this is just plain lunacy.
Yin energy training reminds us of this unfortunate fact. But the beauty of yin energy training is that it does not make us fearful of it. It makes us accept it. Accepting the fact that the laws of the universe are really not certain or predictable will set you free from your own ego and ironically lead you to the success and happiness you desire. Like Joseph Campbell said: “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”