Yin Yang

About Yin Yang

A basic understanding of Yin & Yang philosophy

Both Tai Chi & Qigong practice the same philosophy and principles of yin and yang. Yin and Yang are two aspects of one unity, this is usually expressed in a diagram known as the Tai Chi Symbol.


The Tai Chi is usually translated as the cosmos. Notice that the symbol is perfectly symmetrical from all angles, this superb shape symbolises the opposing yet complementary aspect of Yin and Yang, notice also that each half has a sample of its opposite half in the shape of a small sphere. The darker half is termed Yin and its opposing half is Yang.

The concept of Yin & Yang and its symbol are used in many other disciplines, including Chinese traditional medicine, geomancy and Taoist philosophy. In Chinese medicine for example Yin & Yang harmony is essential for good health, this is a concise but great principle that can manifest in countless situations in health, medicine and the natural world.

The Concept of Yin & Yang in Tai Chi Practice

The universal concept of yin-yang is constantly changing, an example may be: day-night, night-day; summer-winter, winter-summer. The constant interchange of Yin-Yang can destroy and yet create. In many ways the words “balance” and “moderation”; are the descriptive bye words for Yin and Yang understanding.

Natural Balance & Tai Chi

The object is to create a natural balance within Tai Chi and ultimately work within the natural laws of nature, once we accomplish this we not only practice correct Tai Chi but it also promotes good health purely because we are “balanced internally” and enhancing a healthy mind, body and spirit.

The Balance of Nature

Once the balance of nature becomes disproportionate we tip the scales to create imbalance of the natural laws, a typical example is the consequence of poor air quality we experience through the emission of excessive carbon dioxide, causing many respiratory problems, this is why it is very good to practice your Tai Chi / Qigong near trees, they in turn clean the air by their emission of oxygen thereby naturally restoring the balance of air quality throughout our planet, naturally this is the reason and importance of restoring the forests of the world.

Restoring the Balance

Locally we can help restore that balance by promoting long term tree planting. Tai Chi is all about yin-yang. If there were only yin and no yang, or vice versa, then there would be no Universe and ultimately no Tai Chi.

Because of the complex sequence of weight shift, posture and movement within the Tai Chi form, there must be an interchange of movement from left-right, front-back and likewise your weight should be constantly variable but not completely one sided, i.e., when the right foot is forward and your weight is on that foot, there should be a distribution of 70% of weight on that foot, at that point your right foot is termed yang and your opposing left foot will be 30% weighted and termed Yin. Now try standing in this stance; one foot in front of the other and feel what I’m talking about, now transfer your weight from your right foot to your left foot, you now have a yang left foot and conversely a yin right foot. The concept of yin-yang within Tai Chi is constantly changing, you should rarely be even weighted.

The Philosophy of Yin & Yang

An understanding of Yin-Yang can provide us with answers to many questions. First and foremost Yin and Yang are symbols and may have different meanings in a different context, so at times they may ‘symbolise’ forces or ingredients. While its manifestations are many and often profound, in its simplest form the concepts of yin and yang refer to the two opposing yet complementary aspects of everything in the universe, be it an object or a process of an idea. Finally the Yin & Yang Tai Chi symbol is the main motif in Taoist illustration, symbolising among other things the physical as well as the spiritual in Taoist philosophy.

Take a look here for a few dual but natural opposing examples of Yin & Yang.

Yin Yang
Negative Positive
Passive Active
Female Male
Disruptive Creative
Dark Light
Black White
Night Day
Cold Hot
Soft Hard
Wet Dry
Winter Summer
Yield Attack
Light Heavy
Internal External
Slow Fast
Calm Violent
Sorrow Joy
Crying Laughter
Quiet Loud
Harmony Conflict
Earth Sky
Empty Full
Descend Ascend