You may be familiar with the yin yang symbol and know that it may symbolize harmony, and as most of the world is in self-quarantine right now, there is a noticeable shift in the usual energy of the world from being incredibly busy to staying only at home. Rather than both yin and yang existing together, it is imbalanced and as a result has changed our daily lives. But, it all doesn’t have to be bad—let me explain.

In order to achieve perfect harmony, there needs to be a balance of both yin and yang energies. Ancient Chinese philosophy defines yin as passive, cold, and dark while yang energy is active, warm, and light. To appear successful in society, people need to keep their schedules busy, work long hours, sleep very little, and take on various projects at once in both their professional and personal settings. These types of characteristics are defined as yang—always being active and never slowing down because that is a sign of weakness.

Yin energy, on the other hand, is often looked down upon. Yin is often restful and reflective—taking time to sit and be still. Yin is not always embraced because appearing like you’re doing nothing is often perceived as laziness. According to the Ancient History Encyclopedia, “When there is too great an imbalance between Yin and Yang, catastrophes can occur such as floods, droughts and plagues.”

Now that we are in self-quarantine, the world needs to collectively embrace yin: staying home, sitting for long periods of time, and reflecting. Society as a whole has gotten comfortable with planning elaborate trips or booking tickets to events far in advance, not ever anticipating that something like a global pandemic can put those plans on hold. We can all reflect on arrangements we were supposed to have but could not follow through with because we need to stay home and socially distance.

I’ll admit, it’s been difficult to sit still and feel like I’m not being productive because I’m not doing my usual workout classes and my only rotation in my apartment is to wake up from my bed and sit on the couch for work in the day and leisure at night, then go back to sleep. Even though I feel frustrated, I try to remind myself that rest is good and this is a necessary lesson to learn that plans may change and all we can control is making the best out of a situation.

When there is too great an imbalance between Yin and Yang, catastrophes can occur such as floods, droughts and plagues.

When I was sick for a month earlier this year, an important takeaway I learned from that experience was that I was not slowing down enough and taking care of my body, and I think that contributed to why I was sick for so long. I had overcome the first wave of that illness and thought I was healthy enough to return to workout classes and hang out with friends after work, but it turned out I was still sick and once again had to rest and stay home. I realized that I was not getting enough sleep and it was okay to give myself a break. Rest is important to let your body fight off toxins and become strong again. You can’t gain strength without moments of rest—it’s the balance of yin and yang.

I’m sure once things settle down, the high-energy, nonstop mentality will return, but something I hope can be learned is that it’s okay to stay home and do nothing; it’s okay to sleep and take naps throughout the day; it’s okay to be still and rest.

One thought on “Embracing ‘Yin’ in a Primarily ‘Yang’ World

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