What you are born with
Let’s begin by understanding yourself – your body. Is your body more expanded or more contracted?
More yin or more yang?
There are two aspects of your body to consider:
- The parts that don’t change
- The parts that can change daily, or even within a few minutes or seconds.
Once you’ve reach adulthood, certain things about you will remain fixed. In fact, some features are fixed the moment you are born. But by the time you are around 20 years old, certain features will remain with you for the rest of your life.
These features define your constitution – the strengths and weaknesses that you are born with. You cannot change this. But you can understand who you are, what is your basic nature, and adjust your life accordingly.
These features include:
- Your basic body frame
- the length of your arms and legs, fingers and toes
- the shape of your palm
- the length of your neck
- the shape of your face
- the distance between your eyes
- the position and shape of your ears
- the size of your mouth
- your hair
If you are small built, short and compact, it means your basic constitution is more yang or contracted.
However, people who are big-built may also have a yang or contracted constitution. It’s not just the overall size, but also the overall shape. Some people are tall and lanky (more yin / expanded) while others are tall and big-built (more yang / contracted).
People with a more yang / contracted constitution will generally have the following features:
- relatively short arms and legs, fingers and toes.
- squarish palm
- short neck
- square or round face
- eyes close together
- ears lower down the head (between eyes and mouth), with a fleshy ear lobe
- small mouth – about, or less than, the distance between the nostrils
- thick hair that grows very closely together, including thick eyebrows
People with a more yin / expanded constitution will generally have the following features:
- relatively long arms and legs, fingers and toes.
- longish, rectangular palm
- long neck
- long or triangular face
- eyes far apart
- ears higher up the head (between forehead and cheeks), with little ear lobe and possibly pointed top.
- wide mouth – wider than the distance between the nostrils
- thin hair that grows far apart, including thin eyebrows.
Why are you like that?
Obviously, your genes – the quality of your father’s sperm and your mother’s egg – play a major role.
Genes, however, do not explain everything. Why is it, for example, quite common nowadays to have children who are significantly taller than their parents, uncles, aunties, and grandparents? Had the mother been sleeping around with taller men?
In the womb, a fetus grows about 2.7 trillion times. This is a period of tremendous development and the food that a fetus gets – through the mother – will have a major impact on the development of the fetus.
If the mother takes a lot of yin / expanded foods during this period, the child will develop in a more yin / expanded way. If the mother takes a lot of yang / contracted foods, the child will develop more yang / contracted features.
There is nothing much you can do about this. You cannot reverse what your mother had eaten while you were developing.
But expectant mothers would do well to bear this in mind and avoid extreme foods that could adversely affect a child’s development.
We will look more at foods later in this book. For now, let’s go on to look at those parts of your body that changes all the time – your daily condition.