In this post, we will introduce the concept of yin and yang, one of the fundamental concepts underlying Chinese culture, including medicine and the martial arts (such as Tai Chi).
The yin-yang theory, originating in ancient China, is a method for observing and analyzing the material world. It is a philosophical conceptualization describing the two opposing natures which may be observed within anything. The Chinese people understand that all aspects of the natural world have a dual nature: day and night, up and down, hot and cold, and so on.
The symbols of water and fire symbolize yin and yang. Everything in the natural environment may be classified as yin or yang. Those with fire properties of:
Within the field of medicine, different functions and properties in the body are associated with yin or yang. For example, the qi of the body, which has moving and warming functions are yang while nourishing and moistening functions are yin.
The yin-yang nature of the universe is not absolute but relative. Yin may transform into yang and vice versa. This is referred to as the inter-transformational nature of yin and yang. Any phenomenon may be infinitely divided into its yin and yang aspects. For example: day is yang and night is yin. However, morning is yang within yang and afternoon is yin within yang. The first half of the night is yin within yin and the second half yang within yin. It can be seen that yin and yang are at the same time opposite and yet interdependent.
So there it is: an introduction to yin-yang theory. Our next post will look at the relationships of yin and yang and how they interact. Stay tuned!