Understanding Yin and Yang Before Starting a Journey Inward

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Canay Öneren

“…I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
From up and down and still somehow
It’s cloud illusions I recall
I really don’t know clouds at all

I’ve looked at life from both sides now
From win and lose and still somehow
It’s life’s illusions I recall
I really don’t know life at all…”

Joni Mitchell

In her song, Joni Mitchell describes the initial reaction of the human heart to seeing life from both sides. Although it feels strange, and unfamiliar, that’s why we are here, on this beautiful website to explore our life from both sides.

The story begins with our understanding of what is pleasant and unpleasant. In our subconscious minds, “pleasant” is mostly linked to growth, sunshine, movement, and active manifestation – the yang side of life. On the other hand, turning inward, stillness, opening space for some silence – the yin side of life – may be linked to “unpleasant”.

Yet, most of us are here because concentrating only on the manifested side of the picture felt like something was missing. We are here to explore the yin side, our inner world. But this feeling of incompleteness may continue if we approach our “yin” world with a “yang” attitude. That’s why it is essential to understand how we feel about “yin” and “yang” before starting a journey inward.

Some yin qualities are being, listening, receiving, potential, hidden, deep, and solid.

Some yang qualities are doing, speaking, leading, changing, movement, and rhythm.

Here are some questions to understand whether we have a yang approach to our journey inward:

•          Do I have the urge to change myself, and reach immediate results?

•          Do I have expectations from myself?

•          Do I turn inward to fix myself?

If your answers are positive, know that you are not alone!

Just as we cannot work on our yin tissues like ligaments, joints, etc. with movement in a yin class, we cannot work with our inner world with yang qualities. On the contrary, when we approach ourselves with intentions such as changing, fixing, and satisfying some expectations, we may feel emptier than ever.

So, we may start with our subconscious definition of “pleasant”. Listening to ourselves without interruption can feel right and pleasant, although it may be uncomfortable at the beginning. Stillness may feel pleasant, although it will have a different taste than growth. Staying with unpleasant feelings may feel pleasant in the end, because we will be seen, heard, and acknowledged. It may be time to welcome a new kind of pleasant into our world.

Here are some yin attitudes for our journey inward:

•          Prioritizing understanding ourselves

•          Normalizing a slow-paced journey

•          Asking ourselves “Do I feel ready to work on this thought or emotion?”

•          Answering ourselves “I am not ready.” sincerely when we are not

•          Being open to unknown

•          Feeling neutral about expectations

•          Being open to asking for and receiving help

•          Being receptive to the inner voice

•          Listening to ourselves without judgment

When we want to look within, we not only need the yin side but also need to experience yin qualities within our bodies and minds. Yin is a new language that is worth learning. It is the language of embracing every corner of our being. Wishing you ease and love on your journey inward!

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Titles for Website (38)
Canay Öneren
Canay Öneren
Yoga came into Canay’s life in 2016 with “10 Mindful Movements” taught by Thich Nhat Hanh. After learning that the postures in this practice are rooted in yoga asanas, she started yoga practice. This journey, which continued with her at home practices in the following years, brought her to teacher training program in 2019. In 2020, she completed the 200 Hour Basic Specialization Program with Pinar Enginsu (RYT200). With the intention of specializing in Yin Yoga, she finished the 20-hour Online "Yin Yoga: Functional Approach" program with Paul Grilley in November 2020, 50-hour Online Yin Yoga Specialization program with Ram Jain in January 2021, 30-hour Module 2: Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Meridian Series Yin Yoga Specialization Program with Sebastian Pucelle & Murielle Burellier in February 2021. In September 2022, she has finished 50 hours Online Meditation Teacher Training Program with Ram Jain. Canay loves to follow training programs to nourish the ways of teaching yoga and meditation. She is teaching Yin Yoga since February 2021 and works part time for Trueyogi which is a yoga application development project for smart phones. Canay bows respectfully before the light of all her teachers and intends to share yoga and meditation practice with love, ease, and joy.

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