Part 1: Understanding Yin & Yang
By Grandmaster James Shyun, O.M.D. and Sifu Nicholas Willan

This is the first in a series of short articles that will hopefully explain some of the mysticism and misinformation regarding Chinese medicine. Each article will shed some light on a new topic regarding Abimoxi and hopefully leave the reader with a sense of understanding and connection between the concept that is and the reality that lies within.

The idea of yin and yang is quite simple; the theory behind it however is far more complex. The iconic symbol of the yin yang is a circle made up of both black and white. It appears as a double curve forming the letter s between each color. At the heart of each section is a solid circle of its opposite color; black inside white, white inside black.

Yin Yang Symbol

This unmistakable symbol represents more than just the black and white outer surface. Yin and Yang can be represented by many elements. Yin is typically thought of as dark, sinking, water, cold, etc., whereas its opposing but complimentary force yang is represented as bright, rising, fire, hot, etc. The concept of yin and yang is not simply a concept in ancient Chinese proverb, but can be seen in our everyday lives. Take for example, day and night. This fundamentally superficial part of nature that we all take for granted is intrinsically yin and yang. As well, the sun and moon which are the fundamental components of day and night are yin and yang.

In the realm of martial arts yin and yang typically represent hard and soft. As martial artists and as humans we want to categorize styles as internal/external, hard/soft, or attacking/defending, etc. Hence, we tend to place different martial arts styles in essentially yin and yang categories.

In the field of medicine this idea of yin and yang and the fundamental principles which apply are very much the same. We can categorize humans as being hot or cold, weak or strong, sick or healthy. This categorization can be taken a bit further in that when understanding illness a person can have an excess or be deficient. For example, spending all day on the beach or in a park and getting sunburned would be considered a yang excess. Another example could be spending a great deal of time making snow angels and having snowball fights. Being out in the cold is no different than being out in the sun. This could cause a person to have yin excess, hence too much cold. These examples are the extremes, but follow the standard principles of yin and yang. These principles are explained below.

Yin & Yang Follow 6 Simple Principles:

  • Yin and Yang balance each other. Neither predominates, a harmony exists.
  • Yin and Yang co-exist. Yin reflects yang and vice versa (eg. inward function has outward manifestations). Mutual dependency (eg. support of nutrition (yin) allows the function (yang) of the organs). Deficiency of one causes deficiency of the other.
  • Yin and Yang can exchange quantitatively. If yin or yang is expended, the opposite releases to keep up with the loss.
  • Yin and Yang can exchange qualitatively. A transformation occurs (eg. extreme yang transforms into yin, and vice versa).
  • Yin and Yang undergo infinite subdivisions. An infinite series of subdivisions occurs (eg. yang possesses a yin and yang component and each of these also has a yin and yang component, and so on).
  • Yin and Yang can block each other. During an imbalance of yin and yang, the stronger prevents balancing from occurring (eg. excessive yang prevents yin from balancing the excess).

Our bodies and the environment in which we choose to live, naturally engage in a balancing act which makes Abimoxi medicine a complex, yet fundamentally clear-cut form of medicine.

Read Part 2: Understanding 5 Elements