Yin/Yang theory is a very dynamic system of thought that reflects
the ancient view that the Universe is constantly changing, flowing,
transforming and part of an ongoing process, rather than a linear
set of static shapes and forms. Critical to the understanding
of the ebb and flow of Yin & Yang is the understanding of
Qi as the subtle energy present in all things and what
animates, moves and gives life to all things in Nature. The ancients
developed these systems by observing the ebb and flow and the
cycles of Nature.
Yin & Yang are seen as mutually dependent opposites;
the essential duality of the Universe. Yin transforms into Yang
as Night transforms into Day, as the cold of Winter transforms into
the heat of Summer.
Yin is the 'dark side of the mountain, cool, passive,
still. Yang is the 'bright side of the mountain, warm, active, open.
Yin is the Feminine principal. Yang is the Masculine principal.
The five basic characteristics of Yin & Yang are
1.) that they are opposite to each other,
2.) that neither can exist without the other (interdependent),
3.) that each is constantly consuming the other (interconsuming),
4.) that they are in a constant state of transforming into each
other (intertransforming) and
5.) that because each contains the other within it, each can be
In Chinese Medicine, an understanding of Yin &
Yang is vital. If a condition is Yin in nature, that is understood
to be a deficiency of some sort. If a condition is Yang in nature,
that is understood to be an excess of some sort. Given the ebb and
flow of Qi, a Yin condition can, and probably should become
Yang in nature as the patient recovers. At the same time, a Yang
condition, such as a Cold or the Flu, can and often does become
Yin as the body is depleted. Needless to say there are numerous
permutations of Yin & Yang in TCM diagnosis. Both are usually
present and it is their dynamic interaction that is the basis for
diagnosing and treating any disharmony.
Concepts of Yin & Yang permeate Oriental thinking
at all levels. Spring and Summer are seen as the Yang times of the
year. Time for rebirth, renewal, growth and activity. Autumn and
Winter are seen as the Yin times of the year. Time for the earth
to go to sleep. It is a time for introspection and meditation.
Each day is divided into Yang & Yin. The morning
is seen as the Yang time of the day, while the afternoon is the
Yin part of the day. The true Yin part of the 24 hour cycle is the
night. The first part of the night is referred to as the Yang within
Yin part, while closer to morning is referred to as the Yin within
Yin part. The hour or two before dawn is the lowest ebb of the body.
Dawn is considered the Yang within Yang part of the day, while the
afternoon is the Yin within Yang, and so on.
Looking at the world in terms of Yin and Yang gives
one a real sense of how dynamic and ever-changing is the Universe.
No matter how you are feeling today, it will change. The ancients
say one never steps into the same river twice; One never awakens
to the same day twice.