Yin and yang -The Basics

May 9, 2014

2014-05-01_10-26-21As I promised in an earlier post I want to start a discussion about the concept of Yin and Yang.  I don’t want to bore you totally to death so I thought I would cover this topic only on Fridays for as long as it stays interesting. Yin/yang and Taoism started in the fourth century BC China. The symbol for this concept is shown to the right. Here is a little about it from Wikipedia.

In Chinese philosophy, the concept of yin-yang (simplified Chinese: 阴阳; traditional Chinese: 陰陽; pinyin: yīnyáng), which is often called “yin and yang”, is used to describe how opposite or contrary forces are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world; and, how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Many natural dualities (such as light and dark, high and low, hot and cold, fire and water, life and death, male and female, sun and moon, and so on) are thought of as physical manifestations of the yin-yang concept…

Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (instead of opposing) forces interacting to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the parts. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation.

SOURCE: Yin and yang – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

I got  in the study of Yin/Yang when I started to ask myself questions about the idea that each of us has a male and a female part. The balance of those two determine how we generally respond to the world around us.  As the above cites the total of the two energies is considered greater than individual pieces. This is known as synergy.

2014-05-01_10-36-35There is a wide variety of information about this topic. In my study I choose to concentrate on the more secular concepts and pretty much ignored the spiritual arena. I chose a book entitled “The Yin Yang Complex” by Brendan Foley as my primary source to start the study. I imagine I will be looking at other sources also. I will be using quotes from this book to most of these posts. Some concepts of yin/yang are very philosophical in nature; I will not be covering those aspects nor am I really aligned with many of them to any degree.

Let’s start out with how the author basically categorizes yin/yang with the above focus.


Masculine Energy (yang) Positive Forces      Strength, activeness, thinking, forcefulness, goal orientation, productiveness, quantitative-orientation, exuberance, dynamism, adventurousness, innovation, outward moving, structured, achievement-orientation, extravert, judging

Feminine Energy (yin) Positive Forces    Creative, intuitive, flowing, beginnings and ends, harmonious, nurturing, inward drawing, reflective, containing, considerate, qualitative-orientation, loving, introverted, feeling, perceptive, knowing

Foley, Brendan (2010-01-01). The Yin Yang Complex: How to Harmonize Your Yin and Yang: “Life Changing” (p. 28). Mercier Press. Kindle Edition.

Please remember that each of us has both masculine and feminine forces so this concept should not be considered sexist in nature. More on that later.