Top tips to balance your Yin energy this Mother’s Day
Yin: our ‘being’ side
Happy Mother’s Day! May you enjoy a relaxing and restful day, pampered by your precious loved ones.
Moms are blessed with the most rewarding, yet challenging, role in the world. No other job willingly engages our heads, hearts and hugs 24/7, 365, forever. So, a little TLC from your little people is well and truly deserved on this special day.
This month’s newsletter is dedicated to our Yin side – our feminine side, residing in both women and men, that allows us to rest, relax and enjoy the moment!
What is our Yin?
Yin and Yang principle is a fundamental concept in Chinese philosophy and culture in general dating as far as 700 B.E.C. or even earlier where ancient Chinese studied the world and our being as a harmonious and holistic entity. Yin and Yang are literally and figuratively a world apart from Western thinking.
This principle is that all things exist as inseparable and contradictory opposite forces: female/male, dark/light and old/young. The two opposites attract and complement each other and, as their symbol illustrates, each side has at its core an element of the other (represented by the small dots). Neither force is superior to the other and, as an increase in one brings a corresponding decrease in the other, a correct balance between the two forces must be reached in order to achieve harmony. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an example of one area where the yin yang theory is used to understand complicated relationships in the body.
Given how hectic life can get in Hong Kong, attempting to walk the Yin Yang tightrope is no mean feat especially when you’re juggling the needs of family at the same time!
How do we feel the imbalance?
The Yin (or feminine) is the receiving, passive and internal energy. Associated with the right hemisphere of the brain, this energy engages your feelings and intuition, is active when we are nurturing ourselves, using your imagination, and at peace with what is. It is also connected with the Moon energy, which emits cold energy by reflecting the energy of the sun.
When we forget that we have both masculine and feminine energy within, imbalance impacts our emotional states, thoughts, and physical body. Yin deficiency can manifest anxiety, frustration, hyperactivity, anger, aggression, agitation, an inability to relax, overly- controlling and –competitive behavior.
All too often, this imbalance can interfere with our ability to enjoy life and embrace motherhood’s myriad of magical moments.
If this sounds like you, be assured that you are not alone. The good news is you can consciously rebuild your Yin energy to regain your personal balance and harmony.
Staying in Balance
Having a balanced energy system naturally allows for emotional healing, and is important for overall holistic health.
There are many techniques and even changes in our diet that can aide greater balance between the masculine and feminine energy. The first step to regaining balance starts with awareness of our mental patterns, thoughts, behaviors and lifestyle choices. I truly believe that “awareness creates choice” and that means greater choices in life.
Here are practical tips to rebuild and replenish your Yin energy:
- Catch the Yang thoughts – Begin by paying attention to your thoughts. Notice the energy of your thoughts, and associated feelings and behavioral patterns. Whenever you are in a state of anxiety or stress (either outwardly or inwardly) identify where it is coming from. Remember your thoughts are energy forms and by noticing if they are more Yin or Yang you create greater awareness and are able to address them more effectively.
- Take a mindful of breath – In a moment when you feel stressed out, stop whatever you are doing and breathe, allow yourself to go inward for a moment and connect to your breath. By focusing on the breath you become aware of the mind’s tendency to jump from one thing to another; our multi-tasking selves. The simple discipline of concentration brings us back to the present moment and all the richness of experience that it contains. It is a way to develop mindfulness, the faculty of alert and sensitive awareness. As well as this – the mindfulness of breathing is a good antidote to restlessness, anxiety and stress, and a great way to regain perspective and relax.
- Include Yin foods in your nutrition – Yin represents the energy that is responsible for moistening and cooling bodily functions. When this energy is depleted your body begins to show signs of “heating up”. This is not a true heat but rather a lack of the moistening and cooling functions that are necessary to maintain a healthy balance. Some foods to tonify Yin include: barley, millet, tofu, mung bean sprout, pear, watermelon, coconut milk, and good quality fish.
Foods to avoid
It is important to ensure that stimulating foods are not being consumed, as these will only further deplete yin. Caffeine, alcohol, sugar, chocolate, and strong heating/ pungent spices all belong in this category.
- Drink more water –Since Yin is about moisture, experts suggest ample water throughout the day. Downing plenty of pure, clean water will help flush out toxins and rehydrate you. Most people underestimate their need for water and drink too little. The Institute of Medicine in the US determined that an adequate intake (AI) for men is roughly about 13 cups (3 liters) of total beverages a day. The AI for women is about 9 cups (2.2 liters) of total beverages a day. This is a reference, and your water needs depend on many factors, including your health, how active you are and where you live. Given Hong Kong’s hot and humid climate, definitely consider hydrating more!
- Building Yin energy – Incorporate Yin practices and therapies in your life such as:
- Recharge your batteries and get more sleep by aiming for 8hours per night
- Practice Mindfulness and meditation
- Adopt practices such as Tai Chi, Yin Yoga, Shiatsu, Qi Gong
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
- Pamper yourself and schedule time for relaxing body treatments such as rejuvenating exercise, aromatherapy, water spas, therapeutic massage
- Emotional wellness therapies: Bach Flower Remedies, Homeopathy, Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
- Energy work: Crystal Healing, Reiki
- Reach out to nature: walking or hiking in the great and innumerous HK trails, swimming, barefoot walking, sun bathing, moonlight bathing
This month, we connect with two super-mums both of whom know more than a thing or two about healthy living! Laura Paul and Jacqueline Renee Cohen share their views, challenges and Yin-boosting tips here:
“As a working mother with two children, the ethereal notion of balance is a concept that gets thought about more often than acted upon. In reality, our lives operate under a planned schedule with surprises and changes that act within organized triage. As caregivers, we often put our needs at the end of the triage list. But, the old saying is incredibly true. If you take care of yourself, you do a more effective job at taking care of others. The older I get, the more wisdom I see in this saying, especially as I run a number of large groups that focus on the care and wellbeing of others.
Personally, I benefit from regular outdoor exercise. To make sure it happens, I schedule it into my week, or if the weather isn’t permissible, I book classes at my favorite local gyms to give myself accountability. This works, too, when our schedule is very demanding and time needs to be used efficiently. I’m always trying to improve my own time management skills and to give myself compassion for when things don’t go to plan. Getting outside is the most important way for me to refresh; it helps me generate new ideas, connect with friends or to just get away from the city noise and enjoy the music of nature.”
Laura Paul, Founder of Healthy Living in HK, Healthy Living Asia and Hong Kong Gifted Alliance.
Busy modern life makes it a challenge to care for oneself in the way ‘the internet’ tells us to – with daily meditations and exercise and eating perfectly. The reality is we all do the best we can, and that will vary from person to person, and from day to day.
I especially find it challenging during the school weeks where routine rules and time is limited. As a family, we really focus on our weekends and holidays to have fun and relax, this means for me too. The time I am most relaxed is skiing in Niseko with my family every winter – this is is when I truly relax and feel free. There is nothing like swishing through the powder for a sense of absolute freedom and joy.
On a regular basis, I have two things that are part of my regular routine that help keep me sane in body and mind:
- Fermented Foods – I have a green smoothie with water kefir every morning. In addition, I enjoy creating ferments and will have other homemade fermented foods and drinks throughout the day.
- Yoga – My weekly schedule revolves around my twice a week yoga class. I started yoga because of an injury, while I am still the least flexible person in the class, I continue it because it has increased my mobility and reduced muscle pain.
There are three things that are occasional luxuries, which I deeply appreciate:
- Hikes with Hubby – When possible, my husband and I will go on evening hikes together. We do this after the kids go to bed, and it is our special time to exercise together and talk.
- Floating – My newest luxury is going to FloatOn on Caine Road for an hour-long epsom salt float. While some people do this for meditative purposes, for me it is all physical and I love the way my body relaxes… although my mind never shuts off.
- Napping – My once a month indulgence is a lazy morning nap. A morning to myself in bed with the phone off, reading a novel and getting an extra hour or two of sleep. I would love if this were once a week 🙂
Jacqueline Renee Cohen, Founder and Fermenter at LantauMama, and Co-Moderator of Healthy Living in HK group.
Remember everything contains Yin and Yang. They are two opposite yet complementary energies. As balance cannot exist without Yang energy, look out for the lowdown on Yang energy in next month’s newsletter!
Here’s to tipping the energy scales in your favor this month!
Recipe of the month
Yin Breakfast in Bed for Mamas
A lazy lie-in followed by squidgy snuggles… what more can a mama ask for this Mother’s Day? A blissful Yin boosting breakfast-in-bed, of course!
Pass these easy-to-prepare recipes to your loved ones in advance and let them take care of your rest.
Start your day with a soothing cup of green tea, the perfect drink to promote relaxation, healing and tranquility. Furthermore, there is a wealth of research suggesting that regular consumption of green tea aides better health. This includes research on preventing various types of cancer, reducing heart disease risks, lowing cholesterol, lowering risk of Type II diabetes, reducing fat in the body, preventing strokes and reducing risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons disease.
Ginger and Lemon Grass Green Tea
With its exotic flavor, low caffeine levels and powerful antioxidants, lemongrass and ginger green tea is a perfect drink for every tea lover.
3 cups of water
2 stalks fresh Lemongrass
7 slices of fresh Ginger
1-2 Green Tea bags
Sugar to taste
- Rinse one lemongrass stalk thoroughly, cut into 2-inch lengths and crush it with a large knife.
- Bring 3 cups of water, ginger, lemongrass and sugar to boil in a saucepan.
- Take off the pan from heat, add green tea bags and steep the tea for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the tea bags if you think the flavor is strong.
- Pour the tea into a teapot through a fine strainer.
- Decorate the tea pot or tea cup with lemongrass stalk or ginger.
- Serve with a heapful of love!
Yin Fruit Salad
Fruits are very Yin too . Here’s an extra-yummy recipe for mummy:
Fruits that tonify Yin include: apple, apricot, avocado, banana, lemon, lime, mango, mulberry, pear, persimmon, pineapple, pomegranate, and watermelon.
In a large bowl, combine the fruits you have from the list above. Gently mix in the most delicate fruits such as apricot, mango and pomegranate. Chill for 1 hour before serving.
30 May Kirtan at Alive Wellness
Monthly devotional Kirtan sessions where voices unite for powerful healing to take place. Together we help our body soothe and release emotions through the powerful sounds produced by ancient sacred mantras.
Manipura in the Media
Sassy Mama HK April 2016
Want to know more about Manipura’s Wellness Practice’s founder, Cristina Rodenbeck? Click here to learn about Cristina and how she strives to balance her roles as a dedicated wellness practitioner and doting mother.