Thursday, August 6, 2009

Defining Yin and Yang in Taoism

I am an acupuncturist trained in diagnosis of imbalances of subtle energy in the body. The philosophy behind acupuncture is based in Taoism.

Taoism is an ancient system of thought that developed to help people find healthy and balanced relationship with the world. Taoist believed that the natural world was inherently balanced and that humans could learn balance by observing nature. To be able to better understand what they were experiencing, Taoist divided the world into two categories; Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang are two words that are used to describe the dance of the basic polarity of life.

To help my reader understand the two categories of yin and yang I line them up with their correlates:

Yin: Feminine, negative charge, dark, night, unformed, potential, empty, yielding, nurturing, sustaining, quiet, supportive, passive, follow, earth.

Yang: Masculine, positive charge, light day, manifest form, full hard, moving controlling, active, loud, challenging, lead, seed.

In Chinese medicine, a patient is diagnosed by their systemic balance of Yin and Yang. Yang’s tendency is to become excess and Yin’s empty nature is to become Deficient. When the two forces dance in balance, life generates a flourishing. When the Yang becomes too exuberant it feeds on the Yin resource, inadvertently depleting the Yin energy supporting it. As the Yin grows weaker, the Yang is no longer contained and limited by the Yin. Instead it eats the Yin to grow as big as it can. As the Yang grows bigger, the Yin gets smaller until there is no more Yin to support the Yang. At that point the bloated and overheated Yang collapses and the patient dies.

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