Welcome! How to Yin & Yang in Greece ~
The ubiquitous Yin-Yang taijitu symbol holds its roots in the philosophy of Taoism: the yin= the dark swirl, is associated with cold, shadows, and the trough of a wave; the yang= the light swirl, represents brightness, passion and growth. The relationship between yin and yang is often described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and a valley. It is the perfect metaphor for Greece as well – as you Seek your Peace in Greece™ with us, you will have plenty of time to contemplate this play of yin and yang.
We at Holistic Hellenic Yoga Retreats (HHYR), have adopted the yin/yang symbol as part of our logo, and our internal philosophy, because we wholeheartedly accept how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. This push/pull is part of our internal growth. Practicing yoga helps us achieve, or progress towards these inner resolutions – and what better setting to try and achieve these goals than the beaches, coves and ancient olive groves of Greece? Smelling the scent of wild thyme in the air, and feeling the sea breeze brush across your face, in the sunlight, &/or the shadows of mountains can bring you very close to bliss.
Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary – rather than opposing – forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. According to this philosophy, everything has both yin and yang aspects – for instance, shadow cannot exist without light. Another example, for instance, is dropping a stone in a calm pool of water – this will simultaneously raise waves, and lower troughs, and this alternation of high and low points in the water will radiate outward until the passage of the waves dissipates and the pool is calm once more.
Furthermore, yin (literally the ‘shady place’ or ‘north slope’) is the dark area occluded by the mountain’s bulk, while yang (literally the ‘sunny place’ or ‘south slope’) is the brightly lit portion. As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what was obscured and obscuring what was revealed.
- Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity and darkness.
- Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and active; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun,masculinity and light.
Either of these two aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular situation, depending on circumstances? Its perfectly beautiful how the taijitu symbol of yin and yang shows a balance between two opposites with a portion of the opposite element in the other. Yin and yang thus are always opposite yet equal qualities – whenever one quality reaches its peak, it will naturally begin to transform into the opposite quality: for example, grain that reaches its full height in summer, becomes fully yang, will produce seeds and die back in winter, to become fully yin, in an endless cycle of seasons.
This idea is also perfectly illustrated by the ancient mythology cycle of the goddess Demeter and her daughter Persephone, taken into the underworld by the god Hades who is in love with her. He realises however, that her mother needs her as well, and releases Persephone back into her mother’s embrace every spring. Demeter, the goddess of crops and harvest, remains bountiful and joyous until its time for her daughter to disappear once more below the earth, which then lies fallow throughout the winter, until Persephone’s return once more.
I believe life is a never-ending cycle of yin and yang and that finding a balance to this paradox will help you find peace. We hope you seek it with us this summer, or fall, as Demeter smiles on Greece.