Yin Yang Introduction

Yin Yang is perhaps the most known and documented concept used within Taoism.

What is Yin / Yang

A starting definition: Yin / Yang: Two halves that together complete wholeness. Yin and yang are also the starting point for change. When something is whole, by definition, it’s unchanging and complete. So when you split something into two halves – yin/yang, it upsets the equilibrium of wholeness. Both halves are chasing after each other as they seek a new balance with each other.

The word Yin comes out to mean “shady side” and Yang “sunny side”.

Yin Yang is the concept of duality forming a whole. We encounter examples of Yin and Yang every day. As examples: night (Yin) and day (Yang), female (Yin) and male (Yang). Over thousands of years, quite a bit has been sorted and grouped under various Yin Yang classification systems.

The symbol for Yin Yang is called the Taijitu. Most people just call it the yin yang symbol in the west. The taijitu symbol has been found in more than one culture and over the years has come to represent Taoism.


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Tao - Yin Yang of Life


Diving Deeper into Yin Yang

Yin Yang illustrated from the Tao Te Ching [2]

When people see things as beautiful,
ugliness is created.
When people see things as good,
evil is created.

Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other.

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The Nature of Yin Yang

  1. Neither Yin nor Yang is absolute. Nothing is completely Yin or completely Yang. Each aspect contains the beginning point for the other aspect. For example, day becomes night and then night becomes day. Yin and Yang are interdependent upon each other so that the definition of one requires the definition for the other to be complete.
  2. Yin Yang is not static. The nature of Yin and Yang flows and changes with time. A simple example is thinking about how the day gradually flows into the night. However, the length of day and night are changing. As the earth ages, its spin is slowing causing the length of day and night to get longer. Day and night are not static entities. Sometimes changes in the relationship between Yin and Yang can be dramatic where one aspect can just transform into the other. As an example: some species of fish have females that transform quickly into males when the population of males isn’t enough.
  3. The summation of Yin and Yang form a whole. One effect of this is: as one aspect increases the other decreases to maintain the overall balance of the whole.
  4. The balance of Yin Yang can be skewed due to outside influences. Four possible imbalances exist:
    • Deficiency Yang
    • Deficiency Yin
    • Excess Yang
    • Excess Yin

    These imbalances can be paired: so an excess of Yin can also simulate a Yang deficiency and vice versa.

    As an example, this concept is especially important for Chinese healing practices. So an excess of Yang results in a fever. An excess of Yin could mean the accumulation of fluids in the body. Chinese healing examines a person’s health by using the eight principles: Internal and External stimuli, Deficiency and Excesses, Cold and Heat and Yin and Yang.

  5. Yin Yang can be subdivided into additional Yin and Yang aspects. For example, a Yang aspect of Heat: can be further subdivided into a Yin warm or Yang burning.
  6. Additional principles that define Yin and Yang qualities exist. The concepts listed here are merely a starting point to illustrate the nature of Yin and Yang. Usually, as a practice, Taoism does a good job of not codifying life. Ironically, this wasn’t true about yin Yang, since over history many Taoist’s have tried to codify what is Yin and what is Yang. Typically Taoist texts will list a few examples of Yin and Yang and then meander off to the next topic. As an example go back to the Taoist passage quoted above from the Tao Te Ching. You will discover a few additional aspects to Yin and Yang, but the reading isn’t a complete definition either. The author of this passage fully expects you as the reader to go out and to explore the ideas on your own.
  7. You can infinitely dig into Yin Yang due to its relative nature.

Additional material for Yin Yang can be read here:

Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Yin Yang

Tai Chi
Learn more about the daily practice of the Classical Chinese arts. We at Personal Tao recommend the Earth Balance online school of Tai Chi, Qigong and meditation.

How Yin Yang Flows

Now forget everything you have learned about Yin and Yang for a moment. Step back from all the descriptions and classifications of Yin and Yang to consider the following passage from the Tao Te Ching:

The Way begot one,
And the one, two;
Then the two begot three
And three, all else.

A clearer understanding of Yin Yang requires looking back into the Tao. The Tao can be considered as the fundamental absolute. Upon examination: the nature of the Tao expands out. This process of expansion defines a pattern, splitting apart into finer and finer patterns. Yin and Yang is the point where perception demarks the Tao’s expansion into one and then one into two.

Taoism as a practice, enjoys examining patterns. Over the years countless sects of Taoism have formed and quite a bit of literature was written over the delineation and description of these patterns. Often Taoists use the concept of Yin Yang as a familiar starting template to work with patterns.

For example, Qigong is based on the patterns of breath and physical movement. Knowledge of bodily patterns forms the basis of this Taoist practice to keep a body healthy. The human body and its movements are divided according to Yin and Yang categories. So the upper body corresponds to the Yang, while the lower body roots into the Yin. The body’s center is where the Yin and Yang meet. Qi Gong exercises are grouped and explained in terms of Yin and Yang to help classify the body’s harmonies into a working practice. Knowledge of Yin or Yang isn’t required to perform Qi Gong. Instead, it’s an additional filter which helps people connect to the practice.

In life, we often grow against edges and problems. For example, a person can be going through a midlife crisis (this would be Yang). However, the challenges in the crisis can push the person to seek wholeness again (embracing answers would be Yin). In striving to be whole against the crisis, the person then experiences a midlife transformation to become a new and better person. To reject the crisis would be to stay in a weaker situation and not grow. To accept the crisis, learn and have an open mind changes the experience to become something meaningful for the person. In this example, when finding an imbalance in our life, we can use yin/yang to inspire us to find counterbalancing activities or options to expand our nature. A person could examine the signs of the midlife crisis and then look for counterbalancing answers. For example, if a person doesn’t recognize themselves in the mirror, perhaps they could take acting lessons to learn to see themselves from a new perspective and other people’s eyes.

Releasing Trauma with Meditation
Exploring Taoism Podcast 1
Empowerment and Release Abuse.

Another example is Taoist divination within the Book of Changes / I Ching. Divination in Taoism is a practice of examining human interactions based on well known psychological patterns. To generate a result either coins or yarrow stalks are tossed down to form a pattern. The patterns generated correspond to Yin and Yang defined qualities. The nature of the Yin and Yang pattern is applied to the psychology of the moment to return advice for the person asking the question.

Yin Yang is a fundamental aspect of Taoist thought. We always naturally apply human-based values over naturally occurring patterns. However, remember it’s also important not to chase finer and finer descriptions of these patterns, to do so would be to chase down infinity.

Yin Yang is a system of recognizing how to separate out patterns in our life while also relaxing to accept the overall whole and complete nature of the Tao.

Going Deeper: The Yin Yang of Support

Attend an Online Exploration of Taoism!

Explore your essence and gain insights from Taoism for a rich and kind life. We will go over teachings & techniques that are used to improve your life. You will get access to

  • 1 hr Introduction Taoism video (to watch at your own pace)
  • 2 hour online Taoism class to ask questions and learn more about Taoism

1st Friday Each Month

– OR-

Attend an Online Exploration of Taoism!

Explore your essence and gain insights from Taoism for a rich and kind life. We will go over teachings & techniques that are used to improve your life. You will get access to

  • 1 hr Introduction Taoism video (to watch at your own pace)
  • 2 hour online Taoism class to ask questions and learn more about Taoism

1st Friday Each Month

– OR-

Yin and Yang of Spirit and Soul

yin yang soul

Copyright 2008 Cara Dawson

The Yin and Yang nature of soul and spirit. We travel between these two poles of our nature.

It’s a trap to think of life as only being a single aspect of ourselves: when in actuality we spin in the yin and yang nature of many aspects.

To grab on tightly to only one part of one’s nature creates a dam: upon which rides a flood of chaos: as the larger momentum of the universe will then always pick up to kick things about.

Cosmic Yin Yang

Galactic Yin Yang.


Cosmic Yin Yang of two galaxies merging and dancing about each other. I was looking at this across the room and in the blur saw the Yin Yang. In everything: so many levels exist at how you can see the universe around us. The main ESA site has some great high res photos and movies to zoom in to give an idea of scale.

Yin Yang Resources

light meditation
spiritual healing
soul retrieval meditation
Meditation Pack

Meditation Class

Meditation IntroductionThis 90-minute video class will introduce you to meditation. We will go over the practical aspects of setting up your practice.

Casey will teach you how to use the Dragon Fire Meditation technique. He will also start you off by learning the morning meditation practice. Dragon Fire will serve you for a lifetime as you continue to expand and explore other meditation practices. Morning Meditation will give you a framework to incorporate additional meditation techniques into your life.

The class also includes six guided meditations and a further article about working with awareness.

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I am questing yang-yang. opposites attract and that makes it whole.how does one change perspective in that one instance?it makes a whole picture yet one is blind to it..what causes that to happen?perception?ego?societal constructs imposed on a brain.?it changes and blocks a gift from the University of universes.its beautiful, yet so strange. freedom.being open to the universe and not doubting yourself.if you are thinking no, do the opposite.break free from the matrix. block


I am man, 65 years old, and I think I have excess yin energy!
I am always cold, and I am always tired.
I am Tao instructor and I am practicing tao yoga every day.
Can you recommend me some tao practices which will
decrease my yin energy!

Best Regard

Hello, Ive always loved the history of china, and found their culture awesome. Specifically Im drawn to spiritual things, and I like the way Taoism looks at balance, Ive never actually done much research on Taoism. Ive had some exposure to Buddhism but not much. So this was a really awesome post thanks for all the info! I really love the concept and idea of souls, I also love the idea of reincarnation. Which would add a huge depth to souls.(Im agnostic but this is what i wish is true) So a personal thing id like to ask is with… Read more »

I was beginning to draw a yin yang symbol in a bubble and water below it but i don’t know if the bubble would change the yin and yang colors or not.

I honestly love this site but I think maybe you could add a little more facts, but over all this website is pretty awesome. also, I don’t know if you guys know but… what did people use to make yin and yang symbols? I just think that it might be made from a special type of stone..? But anyways love this site! ❤️

I kind of love this website.

I am Chinese and I live in Wales

that’s cool

Just researching where I belong …..I will keep you posted !

Hello I have a yin and yang symbol where should I put this? it is inside the or outside the house, can you tell me please? I am not a Chinese I am a Pilipino from Philippines. Thank you.

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