Yin and Yang

Topics: Yin and yang, Traditional Chinese medicine, Qi Pages: 8 (1884 words) Published: November 18, 2010



Ancient Chinese people were greatly interested in the relationships and patterns that occurred in nature. Instead of studying isolated things, they viewed the world as a harmonious and holistic entity. In their eyes, no single being or form could exist unless it was seen in relation to its surrounding environment. By simplifying these relationships, they tried to explain complicated phenomena in the universe.

1. What is the Yin Yang Theory?

Yin yang theory is a kind of logic, which views things in relation to its whole. The theory is based on two basic components: yin and yang, which are neither materials nor energy. They combine in a complementary manner and form a method for explaining relationships between objects. Gradually, this logic was developed into a system of thought that was applied to other areas. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is an example of one area where the yin yang theory is used to understand complicated relationships in the body.


Modern symbol of Yin Yang

2. The Origin of the Yin Yang Theory

The original concept of yin and yang came from the observation of nature and the environment. "Yin" originally referred to the shady side of a slope while "yang" referred to the sunny side. Later, this thinking was used in understanding other occurrences, which occurred in pairs and had complementary and opposing characteristics in nature. Some examples include: sky and earth, day and night, water and fire, active and passive, male and female and so on. Working with these ideas, ancient people recognized nearly all things could have yin and yang properties. Yin and yang can describe two relative aspects of the same phenomena such as the example of the slope, or they can describe two different objects like sky and earth.


Early Daoism representation of Yin Yang

Usually, yang is associated with energetic qualities. For example, movement, outward and upward direction, heat, brightness, stimulation, activity and excitement are all yang qualities. Yin, on the other hand, is associated with the physical form of an object and has less energetic qualities such as rest, inward and downward direction, cold, darkness, condensation, inhibition, and nourishment. See Table 1 for a description of yin and yang characteristics.


|Table 1 Examples of Yin Yang Pairs | | |  |Yang |Yin | |Light |Bright |Dark | |Temperature |Hot |Cold | |Position |Upper |Lower | |Action |Movement |Rest | |Direction |Outward |Inward | |Physiological functions |Excitatory |Inhibitory |

II. Properties of Yin and Yang

By describing how things work in relation to the universe and to each other, the yin yang theory establishes a dynamic thought process that can be applied to everyday life. Controlled

1. Yin and Yang oppose each other.

Yin yang theory believes everything has an opposing yin and yang aspect. These aspects are mutually and inhibited by each other, which results in a continuous state of dynamic balance. For example, heat can dispel cold while cold can reduce heat. If there is not enough heat, it will become cold and vice versa. Another example is the physiological functions in our body. Both the excitatory (yang) and the inhibitory (yin) functions are in mutually controlled balance. If the dynamic balance is disturbed, one aspect may become excessive causing serious health...
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