I mentioned in a recent post about my new yoga practice that I had begun to notice the difference between the left and the right side of my body. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the difference is marked. The muscles on my left side, in terms of my hips down to my ankles, are extremely tight, making it very hard, if not impossible to get into or stay in many left-sided postures or stretches. Postures that I have no problem with on my right side.
I’ve been on a mission lately to work out why this is and to get to a place where both my left and my right sides work together in balance. I’ve even allowed myself to contemplate that one day I’ll be able to get into a full lotus position!
The importance of balance
I was talking to a friend about this issue recently when she paused, gave me a knowing look and said: “you do know that your left side represents your feminine side?” In an instant, I realized how I’ve spent my entire life neglecting and even suppressing the feminine part of me.
As I thought more about it, I remembered how as a girl, I identified strongly with being a tom-boy and I even remember feeling some sadness and frustration about the fact that I had been born a girl. As a young girl I was often drawn to more boyish pursuits such as play-fighting, riding bikes and climbing trees and I always felt more comfortable in the company of my male friends.
As I got older things started to change and I began to redress the imbalance that had been so apparent in my younger years. I started to gain many more fulfilling friendships with women and after years of dressing like a boy, shunning dresses, colour and wearing all black, I started to embrace the female in me. As I write this I’m sat wearing a flowery skirt and a pink top, something my eighteen-year-old self would have shuddered in disbelief at the thought of.
“Male and female represent the two sides of the great radical dualism. But in fact they are perpetually passing into one another. Fluid hardens to solid, solid rushes to fluid. There is no wholly masculine man, no purely feminine woman.” ~ Margaret Fuller
As such, I had over recent years stopped feeling as though my masculine and feminine sides were hugely out of balance. But my recent revelations have made me realise that some imbalance still exists. What I’ve realized is that we are all feminine and masculine to an extent. Like the philosophy of Yin (feminine) and Yang (masculine), one can’t exist without the other and the ideal is when these two are in balance within us.
Yin and Yang
It’s precisely for this reason that I have been trying to attend more Yin yoga classes lately to balance with my daily Ashtanga (Yang) classes. One thing that I read on the subject of Yin and Yang recently is the idea that a basic rule regarding their relationship is that Yang protects Yin and Yin nurtures Yang and together they form a complete whole.
Just looking at my yoga practice, I can see the truth of this idea. It is my Ashtanga practice that strengthens my muscles allowing me to do more and for longer but it is my Yin yoga practice that nurtures and restores my muscles, allowing me to continue with my strength building.
“We are both man and woman. My brothers can be tender as mothers with their infants. Women can fight like tigers. Do you see? We are all a mist of each. Power starts when you strike the proper balance. Believe me when I tell you that the woman part of you is the better part. But you are also a man.” ~ ‘The Hummingbird’s Daughter’ by Luis Alberto Urrea
Once I started to look into the idea of balancing the feminine and masculine parts of me, I unearthed a mass of information. Below are two lists of commonly mentioned feminine and masculine traits. It’s important to make the distinction at this point that feminine doesn’t mean female and masculine doesn’t mean male. We all embody both masculine and feminine energy and it’s just as common for a man to have an overactive feminine side as it is to find a woman with an overactive masculine side.
Masculine and feminine traits
Common Feminine traits
Common Masculine traits
Embracing the feminine
In recognition of characteristics such as surrender, flow and sensuality, I recently attended a dance mandala class, which in essence is a moving dance meditation. In terms of flow and connecting to my feminine side it felt like an important thing to do. Dancing has always been a struggle for me and in terms of my new learning about femininity, I can now see that this struggle directly relates to feeling less comfortable with traits such as surrender and flow. To further enhance these, I will be making a more concerted effort to incorporate dance into my life.
I mentioned in my most recent post how I’ve become better at expressing love and feeling on a roll with that, I will continue to share my love as widely and openly as possible through sending more love letters, giving more hugs and telling more people what they mean to me, hopefully further strengthening this feminine quality.
I had an amazing Skype call with one of my favourite new bloggers recently, Tim Mcauley (if you don’t know of him, check him out!). I told him about my new interest in balancing my feminine and masculine energies and he gave me a brilliant piece of advice. He suggested that I meditate on the words (traits) that describe femininity. Taking each word and searching for other related words and then also meditating on any of those that resonate. I haven’t started this yet but I plan to and have no doubt that it will help. I’m a firm believer in the notion that “thoughts become things”.
The need for both
Whilst I write this post as a woman with a need to further embrace my femininity, I’m hoping that this post will also resonate with people who have other imbalances. Perhaps you are a man who has a weaker masculine side or a woman who needs to better embrace her masculine side. Whatever the imbalance, it’s important that we all have a healthy balance of the traits listed above not only within us but within our personal relationships. In a couple, two people with a stronger masculine energy are just as likely to run into trouble as a couple of people both possessing a stronger feminine energy.
“If any human being is to reach full maturity both the masculine and feminine sides of the personality must be brought up into consciousness.” ~ M. Esther Harding
Do you have an imbalance of your masculine and feminine sides? Can you see ways in which you might redress such an imbalance? Or do you think that the feminine and masculine parts of you are working in harmony together? If so, how do you maintain this balance? I would love to hear from you. If you enjoyed this post, please don’t forget to share it by hitting one of the buttons below.