Yin and Yang is a concept that underpins the ancient Chinese Philosophy of Daoism. They can be seen as polar opposites however each is integral to the others existence. Without one the other would cease to be. To understand this it can be helpful to think of hot and cold. Without hot, we would not know or be able to conceive of what cold is and vise versa. Our realities are governed by this simple yet all-encompassing concept.
Other examples of Yin and Yang are dark/light, inside/outside, valley/mountain, hard/soft, male/female, sun/moon, high/low, far/near and so on. Through this model or lens we can begin to differentiate existence into cycles and formulate a story of ourselves within an environment. This is precisely what the ancient Chinese did in order to compose a world view that allowed them to understand or comprehend what was happening around them. For example, they began to see yin and yang in the seasons. Where winter was yin, cold, still, silent and dark, summer was yang, warm, light, moving, expanding etc. For winter to become summer there was a transition and increase in yang until it peaked at the height of summer whereupon yin grew and yang diminished until winter was reached once more. These transitional growth and decline stages are known to us as spring and autumn respectively.
Cycles were even seen in the diurnal movements where the middle of the night was most yin and the middle of the day was most yang and again there is a growth and decline into these states. So the cycle of the day could be seen as a smaller and more contained cycle of the year.
Within this ever-changing and cyclical rhythm of life stood us. Human beings. It was noticed that we had a similar conduct to fulfill for health to be good. We had to have adequate rest (yin) and adequate activity (yang) in order to fin balance and feel well and healthy. So it is that the rhythm of life beats within us too and we too follow the cycles so well depicted by the theory of yin and yang. At night we grow weary and move into deep states of sleep in order to regenerate for our time of activity during the day. In winter we adorn ourselves with thick clothing and stay in doors more often, this is a time of inwardness and belongs to the yin. In summer we dress lightly, we spend more time out doors socialising and playing which belong
to the active qualities of yang. When we move counter to these rhythms we begin to see illness developing and a misalignment with our inner nature occurring.
This is a simple overview. Yin and yang is a large topic and indeed is a way to talk about and describe life. Yin and yang is also the basis for Chinese Medicine and acupuncture. This Medicine uses the ideas of yin and yang and applies it to the mind/body. In this was yin and yang within an individual can be harmonised and that person guided back to a more balanced state of health and well-being. I practice acupuncture in East Grinstead and Croydon for Elemental Acupuncture. See more of my website for more information www.elemental-acupuncture.co.uk