In hot summer days, we wear less clothes and would love going to the beach for a good swim. When it gets cold in winter, we would rather stay home and keep warm. This is common sense.
You go to a party and eat a lot of meat today. To help with digestion, you also drink quite a lot of cold beer. When you eat meat, your body energy heats up, and you need to cool it down. Without the balance, you may feel ill the following day.
In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.
Originally, the word “yin”refers to the shaded side of a mountain that is back of the sunshine. The word “yang”is the other side that faces the sunshine. So in meaning, yin and yang is dark-bright or negative-positive.
From this philosophy, ancient Chinese easily differentiate the female as yin, and the male as yang; the moon yin and the sun yang ….and the list goes on and on. So the world we live on must keep a balance, like a harmony between the man and the woman. And this forms the primary guideline of Traditional Chinese medicine.
So everything has two sides, yin and yang, whether being or non-being. Even the distinctions between bad and good can be described as the yin and yang, cold and hot as the yin and yang, downwards and upwards as the yin and yang, the southern side of a river and the northern side of a river, too.
Yinyang theory has four fundamental characteristics or relations as follows:
- Opposition: like heaven and earth, night and day, inside and outside. Right hand and left hand. Water is cold and fire is hot.
- Interdependance: Yin and yang define aspects of a whole, and they depend on each other. Cold cannot be defined without heat; above is meaningless without below; exterior and interior mutually define each other.
- Inter-supporting & consuming: Like the left foot must support the right foot to walk in balance; the male and female harmony is the result of consuming of relations.
- Inter-transforming: the dark moon can change to full moon as time goes. The ageing process is one of inter-transforming.
Certain catchphrases have been used to express yin and yang:
- The bigger the front, the bigger the back.
- Illness is the doorway to health.
- Tragedy turns to comedy.
- Disasters turn out to be blessings.
In traditional Chinese medicine good health is directly related to the balance between yin and yang qualities within oneself. If yin and yang become unbalanced, one of the qualities is considered deficient.
In the study of herbology, we need to know which herb has a warm/heat nature, and which has a cold/cool nature. In diagnosis and treatment, the understanding of how to apply warm herbs to cure cold-related diseases is very important for all practitioners; and the opposite as well.
In winter time, when you catch a cold, you shall know how to warm it. When your body feels too hot, you shall know how to cool it down.
These are the basics reasons to keep your body balanced and stay healthy. There is nothing like a mystery there.
And this yin and yang theory is one of the basics of TCM theories.
By Isherwood FYX