Yin and Yang

One of the basic principles of Chinese philosophy and medicine is the understanding of yin and yang, the neverending movement, traction, and transformation of the energy (qi).

One of the basic principles of Chinese philosophy and medicine is the understanding of yin and yang, the neverending movement, traction, and transformation of the energy (qi). Nothing is divided as just yin or just yang, everything is distinguished “in relation to”. The water belongs to the yin quality, cold is also yin quality the cold or frozen water is even more yin in relation to a glass of water at room temperature. Respectively, the boiling water is more yang than an ice cube but this doesn’t change the fact that water is yin. The river water is more yang than the water of a lake which is more yin. Anything that shrinks has a yin tendency and anything that expands has a yang tendency. The absolute division of yin and yang means death.

In the general understanding Yin = nutrition and Yang = movement. When these two tendencies are in balance it doesn’t mean that they stay still, but the exact opposite, that the unhindered movement for denaturation of these energies is achieved. In our daily lives, this is translated as the balance between action and rest. With the right yin nourishment, we provide care to the yang energy, because yang rests in yin. Our yang is expressed daily through our activities, our jobs, and our actions. We should have taken care of our yin level to be healthy in order for yang to find a resting nest during the night and then to wake up with a balanced mood. A tangible example, with the proper nutrition and rest (yin), we have the necessary energy and mood for our daily activities (yang). An excess yang loss is leading to yin being unable to nourish properly and get the yang ready for the next day’s activities. An excess yin loss can lead to the same result because in this case, the yang energy goes out of control, and then yin energy fades. For example, someone can get overworked either from an office job or from physical work. Balance is achieved when we consume our yang according to our body’s yin storage, then the yin will be able to take care of the yang.

Further expressions of Yin and Yang.

Our thoughts can also be divided into yin and yang. The yin thoughts are the calmness before action, the planning, and the growing of an idea, and the yang thoughts have as a result the manifestation, the movement and the action. If the yin mental activity is overworking then we have results of laziness or procrastination, and if the yang mental activity is overworking we lead ourselves to excess stress and difficulty of calming down.

The seed of one in the other.

A yang action always includes a yin one. For example, in an office job where the body is staying relatively still, the mind is working fast, so in this example, the mind is in a yang condition while the body remains in a yin condition. Which goes against the example of the world where people are closer to nature because the body is made to move (yang) and the mind to plan and target (yin). For most of us in the modern way of living our needs have reversed, and the tiredness is not divided just to the physical body, but to mental exhaustion as well. A sedentary lifestyle wastes our yin. And we understand this because it is what we call yin within yin. This creates pathology according to TCM. Therefore these two opposite and complementary energies that are constantly in motion in and around us, in every yang expression a yin state coexists. Even in situations defined as yin (sleep and rest), there is something yang (the dreams). Some nights are more yang (full moon) and some days are more yin (rainy).

Balance is the keyword.

The constant observation of the changes within and around us harmonizes and balances us so that we are always conscious and clear about our choices. For example, winter is a yin season. As we said yin in yin causes imbalance, a practical example is the consumption of cold food (eg ice cream) in winter, as it is correspondingly harmful yang in yang, for example, taking a hot bath in summer, will waste energy of the body.

Being harmonized with the day flow, someone follows the rhythm of the daylight. Our most yang mood, therefore, is in the morning, and the most yin in the evening. Of course, there are some temperamental exceptions or periods of our lives that we live by the night and live by the day. Analyzing all this, and consciously observe our habits we can find the points that need improvement in order to restore balance in body and mind, including all their functions. This is easily achieved through acupuncture and the deeper understanding and application of the holistic way of life in all areas of our daily lives.

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