Yin and Yang is a primary theory used in Chinese medicine. It’s direct translation literally means ‘shadow and light’. Contrary to popular belief, yin and yang are not two different things, but rather, they are the tow opposites or the two extremes of the same thing. Everything in the universe has its opposite and yin-yang is a way of talking about, categorising and discussing those polarities.
The concept of yin-yang theory first made an appearance in literature in the 6th century BC in a famous book own divination is known as the I-Ching or Book of Changes. This book comes from the Taoist tradition and is based on the observations of nature.
The concept of yin-yang is a fundamental principle of life as it describes the balance between everything in existence in the universe. The extremes of yin-yang for example, dark and light, and woman, summer and winter, etc., are eight good nor bad, they are merely the expressions of the polarities.
Some Classic Categorisations
As mentioned earlier, yin and yang are the two opposites of any given thing. Some commonly recognised classifications are as follows;
Yang energy is dynamic, light, moving and active in nature. The following are categorised as Yang:
Yin energy is the counterpart to the above and therefore is quiet, subtle and soft in nature. Some commonly recognised categories of yin energy are as follows;
- Night time
Three Primary Concepts
Yin and Yang’s theory has three main concepts, being opposition, interdependency and transformation.
The concept of opposition in yin-yang theory basically means that they are opposite relative to each other. For example, the daytime is bright relative to the night time.
This means that one cannot exist without the other. For example, man (Yang) cannot exist without a woman (yin).
There will always be yin within yang and yang within yin, which is represented by the two dots in the yin-yang symbol. This can further be explained by both men and women having both male and female characteristics, although, usually, men display more masculine traits and women will often show more feminine qualities.
Yin-yang is also transformational and interchangeable into one another. For example, As the sun comes up in the day it will eventually change into night time, and then again into daytime.
Balance is an important concept in Chinese medicine. Not to be confused with the state of harmony, but rather, balance is the stepping stone for moving towards harmony in one’s life. Harmony is also in a state of flux, although to varying degrees depending on the person. Therefore, harmony and peace can be seen as a constant adjustment of balance. This holds true due to the concept of yin-yang transformation, which implies that change is a constant in life.
To be in a state of harmony, one must work towards achieving a balance of the yin-yang energetics in the body and mind and within your life.