Find the Balance Between Your Feminine and Masculine Energy

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Sun and moon. Light and dark. Day and night. Inhale and exhale. There are binaries that exist in nature. They are each essential and fundamental for the existence of the other. There is no daytime without the nighttime. There is no exhalation of breath without the inhalation of breath. These apparent opposites have real effects on your lives. You think, behave, and feel according to the cultural expectations and norms that are held around these binaries. Becoming aware of the imbalances and understanding the different values you place on each is imperative to harmonious living.

Femininity and Masculinity

An uneven relationship exists between the seeming duality of feminine and masculine energies, which is of utmost importance. In society, in general, you honor and elevate masculine energies (think: reasoning, strength, action) while diminishing and undervaluing the feminine (think: emotional, nurturing, receptivity). Though you can understand gender on a fluid spectrum of experiences (that is, you may express more femininity in our daily lives while your friend expresses more masculinity and others somewhere in between), these expressions have implications for your lived experiences and overall identity. As you navigate your ever-changing relationships with others and within yourself, keeping in mind the value, validity, and ubiquitous presence of both masculine and feminine energies—and how they influence you on a deep, emotional level—will serve you well.

Your Energy

Energy, or prana, is the life force within you. Energy is an element of the subtle body, or the pranamaya kosha. The pranamaya kosha is the energetic layer of your being. It is beneath the physical body, the first layer of consciousness, which consists of your muscles, bones, connective tissue, organs, fat, and skin. This second layer of experience consists of the elements that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Breath and prana are part of this layer. Energy manifests as emotions and disease in the body. Energy also manifests as your aura and your vibe, or that feeling people pick up on when you walk into a room. Your energy vibe comes from what is naturally within you, though your environment, experiences, and the people around you. Ideas of what it means to be masculine and feminine are examples of that outside influence on your energy.   

Your Gender

Femininity and masculinity are the multifaceted expressions and performance of gender in society, but you may recognize it more as femininity vs masculinity. Gender is the expression in appearance, behavior, and language use within a culture regarding what it means to be a man or a woman. Gender is the performance of masculinity or femininity expected from individuals who possess a certain set of organs. According to Dr. Amanda Solomon Amorao, we live in a “… system of gendered relations and ideologies in a specific culture in a specific historical period that dictates what it means to be a man or woman. Gender hierarchy shapes and is shaped by dominant ideologies while enforcing and being enforced by social institutions. Binary gender formations that are justified by biological determinism and enforced by institutions sustain the dominance of men over women (patriarchy).” Sex signifies the differences between reproductive organs.

Often sex and gender are conflated at birth or even before a baby is born. It is generally expected that babies born with a penis will be men (and perform masculinity) and babies born with a vagina will be women (and perform femininity). This is so, even though humans have a vast array of expression. Gender reveal parties and painting nurseries pink and blue are common occurrences. These are not benign events, but rather determine expectations for how the child and the adult they become will act, think, and be. These expectations have serious and real implications for one’s life, as statistics of unequal pay, violence against women, laws discriminating against LGBTQ folks, and the deep, unexpressed pain men feel, tragically demonstrate. In addition, these expectations play a vital factor in forming our identity, as well as our attitudes towards these binary roles.

Your Sexuality

Additionally, in dominant ideologies, sex, gender, and sexuality (one’s orientation or sexual preference in partners for intimate relationships) are overlaid upon one another into an interlocking binary framework governed by biological determinism, so that sex supposedly equals gender, which supposedly equals sexuality. Because the course of your life is so shaped by the cultural norms and societal expectations around gender, sex, and sexuality (that is: cisgender men, cisgender women, transgender folks, intersex folks, and non-binary folks have different lived experiences, especially when understood through a lens of intersectionality), maintaining that gender and sexuality be understood as social constructions is the first step to health, harmony, and safety for all.

Valuing Both the Masculine and Feminine

Despite the efforts and positive effects of feminism and campaigns for social justice, equal valuing of the significant contributions of both masculine and feminine energy is not yet a reality. Insisting on the polarity between masculine and feminine energies within men and women, correspondingly, limits people from living the full range of a human experience with freedom. And it can be confusing for those who do not easily fall into the prescribed expectations. According to the description of the film “The Mask You Live In,” boys and men “. . . confront messages encouraging them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify women, and resolve conflicts through violence. These gender stereotypes interconnect with race, class, and circumstance, creating a maze of identity issues boys and young men must navigate to become ’real’ men.”

The unreasonable conviction that men who are masculine must be physically strong, assertive, unemotional providers who distance themselves from all that is feminine (so as not to be perceived as gay/like a woman) does not allow men to honor the beauty of the feminine characteristics within themselves (or within others). Similarly, according to a description of the film “Miss Representation,” “The media is selling young people the idea that girls’ and women’s value lies in their youth, beauty, and sexuality and not in their capacity as leaders.” The unreasonable conviction that women who are feminine must be receptive, docile, nurturing mothers who acquiesce to the needs of men (so as not to be labeled bitchy or bossy, or disrupt the dominant paradigm) does not allow women to honor the beauty of the masculine qualities within themselves. It is imperative to see and honor the inherent value and necessity of both masculine and feminine characteristics within everyone.

According to Tantric Philosophy

In the book, WomanCode, hormone expert Alissa Vitti explains Tantric philosophy: “Tantra—an Eastern philosophy that believes the universe is created by and made up of masculine (Shiva) and feminine (Shakti) energies that infuse all things.” Vitti continues, “Both energies exist within each of us in varying amounts. Learning how to engage both fully is what ends up making a person psychologically, emotionally, and physically well. Just as you wouldn’t operate a remote control with only one battery, you need both of these energies as your power sources. They’re necessary tools for shaping your life.”

Finding Your Balance

As with all seeming dichotomies in life, balancing both within you is necessary. Find the qualities that resonate with your essence and experiences aside from society’s expectations. Consider what aspects of the sacred masculine and sacred feminine (potentially as opposed to traditional cultural conditionings of the masculine and feminine) resonate with you in various areas of your life. Imbalance occurs when you focus on, or value, one type of this sacred energy over the other. Show up as the best version of yourself by balancing the different energies within you.

Qualities and Benefits of Feminine Energy

Sacred feminine energy, or Shakti, pulsates through you, though you sometimes forget to embrace it. When you do accept and encourage feminine energy you can see the many qualities that benefit all:

  • Empathy
  • Nurture
  • Fluidity
  • Softness
  • Reception
  • Openness
  • Devotion
  • Creative
  • Compassion
  • Community
  • Feelings
  • Support
  • Intuition
  • Life
  • Understanding

According to Vitti, when you tune into and place value on these qualities within yourself and others, you:

  • Magnetically attract what you want
  • Hold space for projects to develop at their natural pace
  • Enjoy the process of creation independent of the end result
  • See the big picture
  • Work with others and create community
  • Connect to emotional and physical life as a catalyst for change and development
  • Relate to others by listening, sharing, and nurturing

Qualities and Benefits of Masculine Energy

Sacred masculine energy similarly pulsates through you, though you sometimes forget to embrace it. When you do accept and honor masculine energy, you can see the many qualities that benefit all:

  • Leadership
  • Action
  • Reason
  • Logic
  • Adventure
  • Strength
  • Loyalty
  • Firmness
  • Survival
  • Confidence
  • Focus
  • Pride
  • Honor
  • Efficiency
  • Power
  • Caretaker

According to Vitti, when you tune into and place value on these qualities within yourself and others, you:

  • Tenaciously pursue what you want
  • Decide when/where/how a project grows
  • Focus on the end result of a project
  • Focus on one thing at a time
  • Rely on yourself and your individual achievements
  • Set boundaries around emotions and your body in order to accomplish goals
  • Relate through camaraderie, entertainment, and problem-solving

Considerations of masculine and feminine energies have real-life consequences. As you move toward balancing these energies, you move toward health, harmony, and freedom for all beings. As the invocational mantra of Jivamukti Yoga states: “LoKah, Samastah, Sukhino, Bhavantu: May all beings everywhere be happy and free, and may the thoughts, words, and actions of my life contribute in some way to that happiness and to that freedom for all.”


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About the Author
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Lena Schmidt

Certified Yoga Instructor
Whether it’s exploring the local trails, playing pretzel on the yoga mat, or diving into a book on inner peace, Lena loves an adventure. You can find her teaching yoga in San Diego, leading retreats near and far, and empowering others to be the change they wish to see in the world. Learn more about Lena at www.yoginilena.com The spiritual aspects of yoga have aided Lena in the never-ending search for peace, calm, and positivity within, and she’s passionate about sharing these tools with others. She is intentional about taking yoga off the mat and loves finding the bridges between the heart and mind, the individual and community, and mindfulness and expression...Read more