What is Yin/Yang

Yin/yang is a way of knowledge  If everything in the world is the same shade of white then one can not see anything. One is able to see because things are of different colors and different shades. The yin and the yang are opposing qualities that can be used to describe anything by placing it in a context. So, first and foremost, yin/yang makes it possible to know and talk about things. The yin and the yang are like two people in a long, intimate relationship. There are many different aspects to this relationship:

The yin and the yang are opposing qualities  Yang means sun and yin means shade. The ancient sages intuited the laws that govern all phenomena based on observation of the dance of sun and shade.

yin yang
earth heaven
night day
interior exterior
quiescent active
cold hot
woman man
flavor temperature
water fire
downward upward
dark bright
contracting expanding
soft hard

A word about the flavor/temperature pair. Temperature and flavor are qualities in food and herbs. Temperature varies from very hot to very cold; neutral is in the middle. Temperature here refers to the inherent nature of the food or herb, rather than the heating or cooling of it, although the later can exaggerate or moderate the natural temperature. There are five flavors: sour, bitter, sweet, spicy, and salty. Neutral may be added to make six. Temperature is a more energetic quality compared to flavor which is denser and more substantial, hence temperature is yang, and flavor is yin. Temperature and flavor always work together to affect the body.

The yin and the yang are rooted in each other  Even while they oppose each other, they depend on each other, enabling each other to flourish, each relying on the other to do its work.

As one waxes, the other wanes  The opposition between the yin and the yang is not static; it is a dynamic process of complementary growth and diminishment. As the yang grows larger, the yin grows smaller, and vice versa. In this way they perpetuate each other.

One can transform into the other  Any phenomenon is an expression of its inherent yin/yang dynamics. When required conditions come into being, it will reverse its course: the yin will transform into the yang, and the yang into the yin.

The body organs have these yin/yang relationships:

  • That which is above is yang, that which is below is yin.
  • The exterior of the body is yang, the interior yin.
  • The four limbs are yang, the trunk of the body is yin.
  • The back is yang, the abdomen is yin.
  • The lateral sides of the body are yang, the medial sides of the body are yin.
  • The Heart, Kidneys, Lungs, Livers, and the Spleen including the Pancreas, are the five yin organs: they store precious body substances. The Stomach, Large Intestines, Small Intestines, Urinary Bladder, Gallbladder, and the Triple Burner, are the six yang organs: they perform the functions of processing, and discharge.

About Lok-Kwan

Lok-Kwan is a Licensed Acupuncturist in the state of Illinois. He is a board-certified acupuncturist and herbalist. He sees patients and teaches qigong in Chicago and Wilmette. Visit his website http://www.energymedicinechicago.com.
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