Yin and Yang is an ancient Chinese philosophy that suggests that all the universal phenomena are shaped by the integration of two opposing and complementing cosmic energies namely, Yin and Yang. Yin and Yang were coined by observing the physical world. When it comes to mother nature, usually the dependent opposites are paired together.
Yin vs Yang
The difference between Yin and Yang is that Yin is the negative or passive or feminine principle in nature and Yang is the positive or active or masculine principle in nature.
For example, the sun and moon, male and female, good and evil, etc. At large, Yin symbolizes inward energy that is feminine in nature and also is still, dark, and negative. On the other hand, Yang is characterized as outward energy that is masculine, hot, bright, and positive.
Yin and Yang thinking can be better understood by its symbol (also known as Taijitu).
Yin and Yang exist in everything in this world, and everything embraces Yin and Yang. Neither Yin nor Yang is absolute. Both contain the aspect of the other. It is also believed that they are not static but flow with time. The summation of the two forms a whole.
The Yin-Yang symbol, thus, denotes both sides: duality, paradox, unity in diversity, change, and harmony. The small circles inside them show that nothing is absolute denoting that in each of the opposing forces there is a small part of the other.
Comparison Table Between Yin and Yang
|Parameters of Comparison||Yin||Yang|
|Literal translation||The shady side of the hill||The Sunnyside of the hill|
|Representations||Female energy such as moon, night, lightness, darkness, softness.||Male energy such as sun, day, strength|
|Representations of poles (seasons)||Begins at the summer solstice||Begins at the winter solstice|
|Energy represented||Internal energy||External energy|
What is Yin?
Yin energy is the female pole of energy. It is denoted by black colour and is attributed to dark and cool elements such as the moon, earth, water, matter. Yin force creates an outward movement. It is the universal force that one cannot see or touch. And is only a force that can be felt or experienced.
The Yin force is believed to be the origin of Yang, while being restive and receptive. It is said that the inner sense of understanding life and its nuances reside in Yin energy. The Chinese philosophy believes that the phases of the moon and its movement can affect the Yin energies on Earth. Yin can be seen being signified by the tiger along with orange color and a broken line in the trigrams of the I Ching.
Other examples of Yin energy:
- An up and down movement
What is Yang?
Yang is often referred as the male counterpart of chi energy. It is the opposite of Yin (female) energy. Together yin and yang maintain a balance of chi energy. In material terms, Yang is also considered to be the physical body.
Yang things tend to be more about light, movement, and action. The Yang energy is powerful and energetic. It is known as the energy of creation. It motivates and inspires one to understand and reach enlightenment. It also resonates with the logical mind that tempers the creative mind. The movement of the sun influences the Yang energy on Earth.
Yang reaches its peak of influence with the summer solstice. Yang is sometimes represented by the dragon, the color blue, and a solid line trigram.
Other ways in which Yang can be represented:
- An up and out movement
Main Differences Between Yin and Yang
- Yin is the feminine principle of nature while Yang is the masculine principle of nature.
- Yin is considered to be the internal energy and Yang is considered to be the physical body.
- Yin is considered to be cold and dark. On the contrary, Yang energy is, hot and cold.
- Where Yin is soft and versatile, Yang energy is tough and unbending.
- Yang force is considered to be solid, while Yin is broken.
- Yin is black in color while Yang is white in color.
Though many comparisons can be drawn between Yin and Yang as two opposite energies, it’s not to be forgotten that they are complementary to each other. As the symbol suggests, each color takes up 50% of the circle, representing that Yin and Yang counterbalance each other.
The black and white areas of the symbol are entwined, showing that Yin and Yang are interdependent. The black area of the symbol is at its thickest in this area. When Yin reaches its maximum, Yang begins to emerge, as seen as the small sliver of white that eventually widens to become the most Yang area of the symbol. This illustrates the idea that there is never anything that is purely Yin or purely Yang- even the most Yang part of the symbol contains some Yin and vice versa.
Yin and Yang only represent opposite poles and not good or bad. Yin and Yang when applied to everyday life, can be understood that it is a system of recognizing how to separate the patterns in our life and the world while also learning to accept the whole and complete nature. Starting from defining the existential happenings to be accepted as a central principle in many Chinese martial art forms, the relationship of yin-Yang remains as a crucial and an essential foundation to the world.