Yin, Yang, and You

How can we live most appropriately to optimize our bodies and daily living? A simple way of answering that is to incorporate Yin and Yang Theory into our daily structure. First we should define what Yin and Yang represent.

Yin and Yang are concepts and they are functions. They are the duality we constantly find ourselves in. Theory teaches us that we can find all things divisible into Yin and Yang. Yin, in this duality, is the polar opposite of yang, yet it is inseparable from it. They are in a dynamic relationship with one another. Yin and Yang can be transmuted into one another. Yin of course, are things like; female, dark, rest, nourishment, and quiet. Yang corresponds with things like; male, light, action, energy, movement, and loud. Neither can exist without the other. 

As a human-being, we are more often consuming our Yin and Yang energy than building it. That is why, eventually, we all die! But don’t despair, while we are here, Ying Yang Theory teaches us that the more we live in balance with these forces the better and possibly the longer our lives will be. 

While this principle of duality is as simple as it is complex, a convenient way to examine our lives in relation to it is using the “Rule of Thirds”. Let’s divide our day into three parts: Yin, Yang, and Yin-Yang (Earth, Heaven and Man). Utmost Yin is when we sleep, Utmost Yang is when we work, and Yin-Yang is when we do the in between sleep and wide awake things. If we are spending a great deal more time in one or the other then our personal Yin and Yang may become out of balance and illness may arise.

If the day is 24 hour then each of these segments should last about eight hours. For wellness, I would suggest sleeping a solid eight hours. To work and be very active for 8 hours. And to find about eight hours with which we can be ‘doing nothing’. ‘Doing nothing’ might be many activities that are easy and involve both some level of rest and activities like meditation or Tai-Chi.

In our current culture we often value Yang (action, work, striving) over Yin. In this way we over engage ourselves. When we call on the Yang functions of our bodies and minds so heaviliy eventually the Yin suffers (sleep, quiet minds, relaxed states).When we live in balance with these natural forces our lives are replete and our health is well. So please, don’t forget to consider your personal lifestyle’s balance of Yin and Yang.


Written by Ashley Steffensen, L.Ac. 

Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash