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Balancing Work with Rest

Is your life in balance? As much as many of us struggle to balance work and life, it's easy to see why it's necessary and how failing to achieve balance affects your mind, body, and overall health. Less clear is how to balance your training to get the desired results.

But whether balancing training days with rest days or your office life with your training life, there's deep meaning between this balance that may shed some light on why it's so essential.

You've probably heard of Yin and Yang and have seen the common Chinese (tai chi) symbol with a flowing mixture of black and white. This symbol has many meanings, and it's one of the most profound symbols of balance and flow you'll ever find.

The circular shape of the symbol suggests that the co-existence between the entities of Yin and Yang are cyclical. It shows how these opposites are linked as pairs such as life-death, leadership-followership, speaking-listening, hot-cold, give-take, and so on. In essence, one cannot exist without the other. In fact, even the automatic but powerful example of breathing is demonstrated here. As you breathe in (Yin) you take in energy, and then the energy becomes Yang and you must breathe out.

Each half of the tai chi symbol contains a dot of the opposite color. This means that within Yin there is Yang, and within Yang there is Yin. One implication here is that Yin and Yang are not absolute, but are relative to one another. You see this all the time among competitive people who continually strive to achieve more. Compared to this person, I'm the best but compared to that person I'm worse. Compared to this person, I'm very strong but compared to that person I'm very weak. It's interesting that in the tai chi example, this is exactly how it is supposed to be—so embrace it.

Over time, there have been many other references to this type of thinking. Shakespeare said "This too shall pass." He didn't mean just the bad stuff; he also meant the good stuff. This description was a perfect example of Yin and Yang. Today you may be experiencing Yin but fail not because tomorrow you may experience Yang. Socrates said "Moderation is the key to everything." That is, too much Yin or too much Yang is not good, but in the balance of the two you find the key.

In tai chi, Yin is the feminine energy and is what you receive. Yang is the masculine energy and is what you give. The belief is that both must be in balance in order for you to find harmony and prosper. In practical terms, this could mean you need to give compliments to others but you must also be able to receive compliments. You must speak your truth but you must also listen to the truth of others. You must work but you must also rest.

The concept of balancing your training days with recovery days is universally true. That's why when Mark Verstegen founded Athletes' Performance he dedicated half of the space to rest and regeneration. Is your work and rest balanced?

Tags: Leisure Time, Rest, Focus, Attitude