Life is all about balance.
Whether we work hard or play hard, we must eventually level up or face the risk of burnout.
The same goes for training.
To experience real progression with our exercise goals, a training regime requires structure, consistency, and a well-rounded plan of attack.
This involves sating both our physical and emotional needs- the two sides of the same coin.
By neglecting one area, the other cannot truly thrive. But by prioritizing both, we can benefit from better outcomes and long-term results.
This concept is called Yin Yang philosophy.
WHAT IS YIN YANG PHILOSOPHY?
Yin Yang philosophy is the ancient Chinese principle that all things exist as opposites but are ultimately inseparable- old and young, female and male, and so on.
While they remain opposites, they complement each other.
The same goes for exercise.
THE YIN APPROACH TO EXERCISE
Yin-centred exercise involves more mindful and holistic forms of movement such as yoga, stretching, and Pilates.
It also leans towards a gentler form of dynamic exercise focusing on the mind-body connection and full-body awareness.
Yin-style movement stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, helping to calm and soothe the body in the face of stress.
This focus on movement quality also helps to improve balance, coordination, range of movement, and mobility.
THE YANG APPROACH TO EXERCISE
A total 180 on Yin, Yang-centred exercise encompasses the ‘attack’ side of workouts- think cardio, HIIT, resistance training, boxing, and bodybuilding.
These forms of exercise often involve exertion, progressive overload, and specific training plans which are goal-oriented around performance, losing fat, or building muscle.
Yang-style exercise is usually physically intense and energizing without much conscious thought.
Both have their benefits but, if practiced in isolation, also have their limitations.
A bodybuilder who lifts heavy weights but does not practice active recovery, corrective mobility, or stretching will place themselves at a higher risk of injury or burnout.
On the flip side, not hitting sufficient levels of moderate to vigorous exercise, in any form, can increase the risk of health issues such as muscle atrophy, osteoporosis, diabetes, or heart disease.
By combining both, we allow one to compliment the other.
Yin exercise helps to build a strong foundation for the progression of more intense styles of training, while Yang exercise helps to build overall strength and fitness levels.
However, we’re all creatures of habit, and embracing change can be difficult.
HOW CAN YOU INTEGRATE YIN-YANG TRAINING INTO YOUR FITNESS REGIME?
Firstly, consider how you prefer to train.
If you lean more towards Yin training, add intensity.
- Trying more advanced classes, such as power yoga
- Using resistance bands and weights during exercise
- Introducing functional compound movements (such as squats and lunges) to your daily routine.
If you prefer Yang styles of training, find ways to introduce mindfulness into your exercise regime.
- Exercising in nature
- Adding a yoga class
- Turning your phone off
- Playing feel-good music
- Making time for stretch and mobility
- Including single-sided drills to challenge balance and coordination.
Whatever your preference when it comes to moving your body, try to achieve some equilibrium with your training.
You can find yoga, pilates and tai chi instructors in the wellbeing section of our directory.
 Cited 11.10.21, Hindawi, https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2019/3705120/