Skip to main content
The Yin Yang Posture

Universal Post Standing Posture

Emblem for the Earth Method of Internal Martial Art Practice

The Universal Post as an Expression of Yin and Yang

The Universal Post or Yin Yang Standing Posture introduces the idea of movement into your standing practice. By shifting the weight onto one leg and letting the other leg hang empty in space, you are training the body how it will feel to move without moving. This idea of stillness and motion coexisting relates to the Yin and Yang theory. The Universal Post lets you practice this coexistence without moving. Later, you will practice this coexistence while moving.

Yin and Yang in the Universal Post Standing Mediation

Remember, the concept of Yin and Yang is as ancient as Chinese philosophy. The origin story said there was a primordial chaos (Wuji) out of which an egg was born. When the egg split, the heavy yolk sank to become the Earth (Yin), while the light egg white rose to become the Heavens (Yang).

Two lines represent Yin and Yang. Yang is a solid line that represents brightness, lightness, masculinity, and the tendency to move upwards. Yin is a broken line that represents darkness, heaviness, femininity, and the tendency to move downwards.

Solid Yang rising above Yin
Yin under Yang

When standing in the Universal Post, you can imagine that the solid leg is heavy and downward seeking (Yin). While the open leg is light and floating upwards (Yang). Likewise, you can imagine that the solid leg is active and represents the solid Yang line, while the open leg is passive and represents the broken Yin line. I will call the solid leg the Yin leg, and the open leg the Yang leg.

No one thing is completely Yin or completely Yang; each contains the seed of its opposite. For example, winter eventually turns into summer. After you stand in Universal Post on the left side, you change positions and the Yin leg will become Yang, and vice-versa.

We can further subdivide any Yin or Yang aspect into Yin and Yang. For example, we can see temperature as either hot (Yang) or cold (Yin). However, hot can be further divided into warm or burning; cold into cool or icy. Within each spectrum, there is a smaller spectrum. As you stand in Universal Post, you will find that the Yang leg begins to feel heavy (Yin) qualities within the Yang leg. Likewise, the Yin leg may begin to tingle or even twitch (Yang) qualities within the Yin leg.

To assume the Yin Yang left posture, stand in Holding the Moon Posture and then turn the left heel to touch the ankle of the right foot. Kick out with the left foot and let the big toe just touch the floor. The alignments you practiced in Wuji Posture remain the same, except the left knee and foot is now pointing 45 degrees to the left. The torso turns naturally with the leg.

The Yin Yang posture also known as The Universal Post Posture.
Universal Post, Left Posture.

This is another chance to remind you of the four keys to good internal martial art posture. The first is the tucking in of the chin and raising of the back of the head. The second is the pulling up of the pelvis without eliminating the lower back arch; in other words, do not slouch forward or bend backward. The third is to keep the knees open and feel as though you are sinking into the floor. After you have assumed the Universal Post, run a quick scan of your body and determine if those three keys are still in place. Then breathe deeply and relax, the fourth key.

In the Universal Post there should be a continuous line from the heel to the shoulder of the supporting leg, and a continuous line from the toe to the shoulder of the open leg. Focus on maintaining these alignments, as you breathe and relax.

The right facing Universal Post Posture.
Universal Post, or Yin Yang Right Posture

Stand in the left facing posture for three minutes before changing to right facing.

Leave a Reply

More from the Earth Component

Deep Breathing featured image.

Deep Breathing

Until you can breathe deeply and slowly, it will be impossible for you to coordinate the internal and external harmonies into a unified practice. A good way to start breath practice is in the Bear Posture. Instead of holding your hands out to your sides, put the left hand on your lower abdomen an…
The Bellows featured image.

The Bellows

Breathing in is Yin, breathing out is Yang. When performing the martial forms, we associate breathing in with defensive movements, while we associate breathing out with offensive movements. In The Bellows, we coordinate breathing with movement while exercising the spine, shoulders, and hips.
Floor Twist featured image.

Floor Twist

The internal martial arts require a supple torso. The Floor Twist is an exercise to improve torso mobility.