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What is Yin and Yang?

What is Yin and Yang?

A blog by Steve Coster

stella

The Yin and Yang symbol is something we see everywhere.  It is on clothing, buildings, posters; some people even have it tattooed on their bodies!  But what does it actually mean?

The Chinese call it Taiji, which represents oneness, and as a consequence, balance and harmony.

It can be found in all cultures; the opening line of the Bible reads, “In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth”.

Everything can be said to be Yin and Yang relative to its polar compliment, and examples are all around us:

Heaven – Earth        Night – Day

Black – White           Male – Female

Hot  – cold                  Up – Down

You name it, everything can be found to have an opposite equal!

But neither is seen as more valuable than the other; in fact, Yin and Yang are inseparable, for each mutually creates the other.  For instance, peace can only have meaning if there is conflict; health is only appreciated if we have felt what it is to be ill.

What about the black and white dots?

 Well, this symbolizes that neither yin or yang can exist without the other – Yin exists within Yang, and Yang within Yin.

For example, water is Yin, but without Yang (i.e. movement) it is just a stagnant pool.  But give water movement and over time it can wear down even the toughest rock.

So how can Yin and Yang theory help us lead a healthier life?

Whenever there is one-sidedness, the natural order of things is upset, and any extreme upsets the harmony of yin and yang.  Thus, health is seen to derive from a flow between rest and activity, play and work, relationship and solitude, material concerns and spiritual awareness.

In Buddhism they call this balance ‘the Middle Way’.  But you don’t need to be a Buddhist to follow the Yin and Yang model, we just need to have balance in our lives:

Get enough sleep;
Eat when you are hungry;
Try not to work too hard;
Do some exercise
Spend some time with your family and friends

It doesn’t sound too bad does it? Trouble only rears up where there are extremes.  By striving for an ideal of perfection and pushing away qualities we dislike, we inadvertently give them power.  In the end, we can become the very thing we are trying to eradicate; science has shown, for instance, that dieting can make us fatter!

How does Yin and Yang fit into Chinese Medicine?

 In Traditional Chinese Medicine we use Yin and Yang theory to diagnose and treat imbalances in the body’s energy.  We take into consideration:

Excess / Deficiency
Heat / Cold
External /Internal
 Yin / Yang

Once we identify the imbalances, we can then take steps to restore the body’s balance and harmony.  For example, a Yang condition might include symptoms such as high blood pressure, anxiety, insomnia, or a feeling of heat.  Or, if the bodies Yin energy is depleted by working long hours with little rest over a long period, this could lead to back pain or bladder problems.

But to end on a positive note, please remember that

Within every seed is the

potential of something great!

 If you would like to know more about Chinese Medicine and how it can help you, please do contact me.

Steve Coster (Acupuncturist and Tui Na practitioner)