If you’ve watched any number of Kung Fu movies or simply kept an eye out for anything denoting Asian culture, then you’re probably familiar with this black and white circle.
Although there are multiple stories involving Yin and Yang, the earliest version of its origins involve a vapor that permeated the whole cosmos. The two strongest forces emerged out of the vapor, and they were known as Yin and Yang. When the two touched, the universe started to emerge. Yang gave birth to fire and sun, while Yin gave birth to water, moon and stars. Their balancing personalities brought about life and continue to reside throughout humanity.
In Chinese philosophy, the concept of Yin-Yang (simplified Chinese: 阴阳; traditional Chinese: 陰陽; pinyin: yīnyáng), which is often referred to in the West as "yin and yang," literally meaning "shadow and light," is used to describe how polar opposites or seemingly contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and how they give rise to each other in turn in relation to each other.
Yin and yang are not opposing forces (dualities), but complementary forces, unseen(hidden, feminine) and seen (manifest, masculine), that interact to form a greater whole, as part of a dynamic system.
Everything has both yin and yang aspects as light could not be understood if darkness didn't exist, and shadow cannot exist without light. Either of these aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object depending on the criterion of the observation.
This symbol represents the concept of Yin and Yang, two complementary forces that supposedly bring balance to the universe. Light and shadow, water and fire, male and female, hot and cold – the two opposites complete each other in a dynamic system. One cannot exist without the other.
For your own personal understanding, Yin is the black side with the white dot (the feminine side) and Yang is the white side with the black dot (the masculine side).
They are sometimes described as two fish, swimming head to tail, and the literal translation means mean the dark side and sunny side of a hill. Yang is the white side with the black dot on it, and yin is the black side with the white dot on it.
The relationship between yin and yang is often described in terms of sunlight playing over a mountain and a valley.
Yin (literally the 'shady place' or 'north slope') is the dark area occluded by the mountain's bulk, while yang (literally the 'sunny place' or 'south slope') is the brightly lit portion. As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what was obscured and obscuring what was revealed. Yin is characterized as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive; and is associated with water, earth, the moon, femininity and nighttime. Yang, by contrast, is fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and aggressive; and is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity and daytime.
West (Sunset = Yin)
East (Sunrise = beginning of Yang)
Flat (like Earth)
Round (like Heaven)
They are 2 states of a continuum.
For Example: Liquid water (Yin) heat - vapor (Yang) - cools - liquid (Yin).
|Produces form||Produces energy|
The ancients observed 2 phases of constant cyclical change. Yin constantly changes into Yang & back into Yin again. This can be seen in the changes of four seasons, and the changes throughout a single day (24 Hour Cycle), as seen below.
|Interior (organs)||Exterior (skin, muscles)|
|Below waist||Above waist|
|ventral surface of the trunk and limbs||back and dorsal surface of the limbs|
|Yin Organs: Heart, Lung,||Small Intestine, Lg. Intestine|
|Liver, Spleen, Kidney,||Gall Bladder, Stomach, Bladder|
|"Solid Organs"||"Hollow Organs"|
Yin and Yang in Pathology:
Yin Yang Deficiency Excess Hypo-activity Hyperactivity Chronic disease/gradual onset Acute disease/rapid onset Slowly changing symptoms Rapid pathological changes Quiet, lethargy, sleepiness Restlessness, insomnia Wants to be covered Throws off bedclothes Lies curled up Lies stretched out Cold limbs and body Hot limbs and body Pale face Red face Weak voice, no desire to talk Loud voice, talkative Shallow, weak breathing Coarse breathing No thirst/wants warm drinks Thirst esp. for cold drinks Copious, clear urine Scanty, dark urine Loose stools (fluids not transformed) Constipation (damage to fluids by heat) Clear, copious secretions Thick, sticky white/yellow secretions Excessive moisture Excessive dryness (throat, skin, eyes etc.) Degenerative disease Inflammatory disease Pale tongue, white coat Red tongue, yellow coat Empty pulse Full pulse
This idea is especially useful for maintaining inner balance in one’s life. Between food and exercise, sleep and work, stress and relaxation – Yin and Yang can be used to describe how an individual walks the fine line between what is good for the body and what isn’t.
Consider this, the body is dependent on food for nutrients, but on the flip side, when consumed in great quantities, food can lead to higher risks of heart attack and stroke. Similarly, exercise is essential for maintaining strong and healthy muscles, but as a counterpoint, too much exercise can lead to muscle soreness and injury.
The key is to find the perfect balance between too much and too little, Yin and Yang. Moderation in all things can help you lead a healthier, happier life, proving that just a little extra discretion in your decisions can go a long way.