Health + wellbeing

Yin, yang and work life balance

- June 16, 2007 3 MIN READ

The typical soloist is a master of Yang, i.e hard work, striving and making things happen. But what about Yin, and the magic, ease, flow and balance it offers?

Most of us recognise the Yin-Yang symbol. The outer circle represents “everything”, while the shapes within represent the interaction of the two energies – “yin” (black) and “yang” (white).

These two energies cause everything to happen. Yang is the masculine principle, and evokes words like active, creative and hard. Yin is the feminine: passive, receptive and soft. The key belief is that one cannot exist without the other.

The curse of unbalanced Yang

In the world of work, Yang predominates. Most workplaces are the domain of the masculine principle – hard work, busyness, long hours and making things happen. Yang is not a bad thing and many of our great achievements come as a result and the extra push it gives us.

However, the problem is unbalanced Yang. This can become a tyrant, leading to loss of work-life balance, stress, ill-health and burn-out. Unbalanced Yang doesn’t let us switch off the computer. It torments us with ever growing to-do lists and unsympathetic schedules. It keeps us in work mode when we are with our loved ones and forces us to do things when our heart is telling us otherwise.

There’s no doubt that using willpower and force means things get done, but does this fulfil us and what is the cost?

Ultimately, Yang on its own is highly inefficient and potentially very costly in terms of time and money.

Want more articles like this? Check out the work life balance section.

The power of Yin

So how does bringing Yin into our working lives help us? For me, Yin is about the power of waiting and attracting. It’s about becoming a magnet and allowing magic, ease and flow into our lives. It’s about having the courage to wait, learning to use our intuition and the guidance of our feelings to discern the right time to act and the right thing to do.

This is when the previously daunting or tedious task becomes a sheer pleasure, when we meet the ideal business contact or new client ‘’out of the blue’’, or have new clients unexpectedly calling us!

Yin gives me the trust that the right people and information will turn up in their own natural, perfect time without my having to go out searching for them.

So, how can we bring more Yin into our work lives? The best way I find is to switch off my computer and get away from my desk. Most of my best work is done walking in nature, or whilst running or cycling.

It’s at these times that I get answers to my most difficult problems, or clarity about my direction. Whether or not to make the follow-up phone-call, when it’s time to wait for a client to contact me or put certain projects on the backburner.

Plus it is here I get my best and most creative ideas.

Other ways of connecting with Yin include meditation, conscious relaxation, yoga, getting a massage or simply spending time sitting and contemplating.

The key to Yin is to take a break from “trying’’ and all our agendas, and to become passive and receptive to our inner knowing or wisdom.

Creating real work-life balance

When I balance Yin and Yang work-life balance happens naturally. This is real work-life balance, not simply another item on my to-do list (‘’Go to Yoga – get Work-Life balance!”), but rather a natural state of being.

I feel more confident, clearer in my thinking, decision making and discernment and more relaxed. And even though I may occasionally find myself working some long hours from this place, it happens effortlessly and does not affect the overall harmony within my life.

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  • Andrew Caska

    Caska IP Patent Attorneys

    'Flying Solo opened up so many doors for us - I honestly don't know where I'd be without it"