(Image Source: Elephant Rock)

Have you ever let a houseplant go too long without water?

The soil gets so hard and dry that water doesn’t even penetrate the surface. You have to submerge it fully in a bucket or in the sink and just let it soak.

Sometimes we need a good soak too.

We get dried out by too much mental activity, multitasking, stimulants (like coffee), and pushing through our body’s signs that we’re tired.

We can literally burn up our yin.

As I described in an earlier post, yin is cold, passive, relaxed, dark and heavy. Often times, when yin is deficient, there will be heat signs such as a flushed face or hot palms in the afternoon, agitation, dry eyes or trouble falling asleep. Here, it’s not necessarily that there is too much heat in the body, it’s that yin is so low that it can’t anchor the yang.

This is called empty fire, and nourishing yin is what’s called for.

It’s a tricky thing. When there’s a problem, we usually want to take action to “fix” it. When we’re deficient in yin, however, this approach will just exacerbate the problem. We need to take a step back, slow down and gently begin to incorporate more yin activities in our lives.

Some areas where you can start:

  • Get enough quality sleep. What fits the above analogy of soaking a dry plant better than spending a full 8 hours resting your body and mind? Drink it up! Our circadian rhythm is intricately linked to hormone production in the body, so getting good sleep helps keep everything harmonized.
  • Eat yin-nourishing foods. Foods like seaweed, royal jelly, eggs, spirulina, and berries (fun fact:  royal jelly is what bees feed to their queen.  Do you know how many babies a queen bee has???) How you eat is important too. Eat slowly and chew well. Give your food your full attention.
  • Practice a cultivational exercise like yoga, qi gong, tai chi. If you’re a hot yoga kind of gal you may not necessarily need to give that up. But at least balance it out with a different kind of practice. One where you’re building more energy than you’re expending. As my yoga teacher told me, we need to be just as committed to practicing our resting poses as we are to our more active ones.
  • Meditate. This is one of the most powerful ways to build yin and to access that part of you that is whole and complete already. It fosters a deep surrender, leaving space for new things to come. In fact, I think it’s so important, that I wrote a whole post about it, so stay tuned for that!
  • Try acupuncture. There are many, many acupuncture points on the body that nourish yin. An acupuncturist could also prescribe yin-building herbs when appropriate. For some at-home help, use a heating pad on your lower abdomen – you’ll be activating many of the juiciest points. You can also gently press and massage a point on your inner ankles just behind and slightly above your ankle bone.

These suggestions will help make sure you’ve got enough resources to live the best life you can and to potentially nourish a new life as well.

(Image source: littleginny)


Debbie HardinDebbie Hardin is a licensed acupuncturist in Pittsburgh, PA with a passion for working with women around fertility. She’s committed to helping women see labels such as infertility as a doorway, not a wall, and enjoys delivering metaphorical deep breaths through the use of needles, words and lifestyle coaching.

Seeing more women – with child or not – connected to a sense of wholeness, space and freedom is a powerful thing and is the inspiration for her participation in this project.