Posts Tagged ‘Yin Yang’

Changing With The Seasons – Autumn

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

Autumn 300x199 Changing With The Seasons   Autumn

As summer draws to a close and we enter into autumn, it’s a good opportunity to pay closer attention to our own health. In Traditional Oriental Medicine, the transitions between seasons are seen as an important period of time in which a person’s body is trying to re-calibrate and stay in harmony and balance with their natural environment.

As the 2,000 year old acupuncture textbook Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine) explains, as autumn approaches and the weather turns cooler, a shift in Nature begins and there is a turning inwards of its energy. This shift can clearly be seen in plants which have finished harvesting and now begin to focus inwards on conserving energy into their root system, an example of how the active quality of Yang transforms into the more passive quality of Yin.

The Yellow Emperor goes on to describe how during the summertime, people are usually more physically active and their moods are more relaxed and easygoing. However, as autumn begins, he explains how this should be a time for a person to become more inwardly focused and how learning to maintain a calm and peaceful spirit is an important aspect of this inward focus.

One of the suggestions of the Yellow Emperor to assist with the transition into autumn is to practice breathing exercises. In acupuncture theory, autumn is the season most closely associated with the Lung system, which in Eastern Medicine includes not only the lungs but also other areas of the body including the nasal sinuses, skin, energy circulation, and the immune system. By helping to regulate and strengthen the Lung system, many other aspects of our health can also be improved.

As we get back into our busy regular work and school routines, it’s easy to begin to ignore our health. However, taking a few minutes every day to have some quiet time and just focus on deep relaxed breathing can be a simple way to let go of stress and bring more awareness and vitality to our lives.

Back To The Grind

Tuesday, September 15th, 2015

Body Mind Soul Spirit 300x199 Back To The Grind

With the relaxing days of summer drawing to a close, most of us probably find our lives busier than ever. Back to school. Back to work. Back to our everyday routines.

It can be easy to get caught up in the stress and busyness of life and forget about looking after our own health. However, in the 2,000 year old acupuncture textbook the Huang Di Nei Jing (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine), the Emperor’s court doctor gave some simple and practical advice in maintaining a healthy lifestyle:

“In the past, people practiced the Tao, the Way of Life. They understood the principle of balance, of Yin and Yang, as represented by the transformation of the energies of the universe. Thus, they formulated practices such as Dao-in, an exercise combining stretching, massaging, and breathing to promote energy flow, and meditation to help maintain and harmonize themselves with the universe. They ate a balanced diet at regular times, arose and retired at regular hours, avoided over stressing their bodies and minds, and refrained from overindulgence of all kinds. They maintained well-being of body and mind; thus, it is not surprising that they lived over one hundred years.”

Healthy habits for the body, regulating the emotions for the mind, nourishing the spirit – it was good advice back in ancient times and it’s probably needed now more than ever.

Yin Yang – Part 3: Constant change

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

The theory of Yin – Yang is the most important concept in Traditional Oriental Medicine, as all of its more complex medical knowledge derives from this basic foundation.

In Part 1, it was seen how all natural phenomena can be classified into opposite pairs of Yin & Yang, and Part 2 described how these opposite pairs can influence each other in sickness or health.

Another aspect of Yin – Yang is that of constant change – nothing in nature is truly static and unchanging but instead is always in a state of transformation from one extreme towards the other. When these changes occur within set boundaries, it produces stability and order rather than instability and chaos.

YinYangChange Yin Yang   Part 3: Constant change

A common example of this would be the regulation of your body temperature. Although it normally appears to be stable, the temperature is in fact constantly increasing and decreasing within a small range, similar to how a thermostat controls a heater.

In Western medicine, this concept is known as homeostasis and is responsible for keeping all of your body’s systems in healthy balance between extremes, ranging from the oxygen – carbon dioxide levels of the respiratory system to the acid – base pH of the blood.

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Yin Yang – Part 2: The see-saw effect

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

In a previous article, we looked at the concept of Yin and Yang, and how Traditional Oriental Medicine classifies things in opposite pairings (as in the example of pain, is it at a fixed location or does it move around, does it improve with rest or with movement, is it better with heat or cold, etc.)

To add further to this concept is what can be described as the “see-saw” effect – when one side of something increases, the opposite side tends to decrease in the opposite direction.

In Eastern science, this was most clearly seen observing things in nature such as the sun and moon – as the sun came up in the morning, the moon lowered below the horizon, and mid-day was the brightest when the sun reached the highest point in the sky. The exact opposite then happened as the sun disappeared below the horizon and the moon came up and reached its peak at night.

Although it appears to be a simple concept, it has extremely important clinical value in acupuncture. One common example of this is in the treatment of migraine headaches. The acupuncture pathway usually corresponding to the headaches is called the Gallbladder meridian – this pathway starts at the eyes, travels through the temple area and the sides of the head, down the neck and the tops of the shoulders, and then down the body and legs, ending at the feet. In Traditional Oriental Medicine, it views migraine headaches as usually being caused by stagnant and congested circulation along this Gallbladder pathway. (more…)

Yin Yang – Part 1: It’s all about balance

Monday, May 18th, 2009

You’ve probably seen it before, and may have even wondered what it meant – the Yin Yang symbol, that strange looking circle with a couple of dots and squiggly lines:

YinYang 150x150 Yin Yang   Part 1: Its all about balance
Yin Yang Symbol

Yin – Yang is actually a concept that comes from ancient Chinese science and philosophy and was an important part of their approach to viewing nature. Originally meaning “the shady side of the mountain” and “the sunny side of the mountain”, Yin and Yang came to symbolize opposing forces of Nature, such as:

  • Moon & Sun
  • Winter & Summer
  • Darkness & Light
  • Water & Fire

(It is interesting to note that much of Western science is also based on this concept, such as positive & negative terminals for electricity, north & south poles for magnetism, acids & bases for chemistry, etc.)

This Eastern way of categorizing everything in Nature as Yin and Yang was later introduced into their system of medicine, and is one of the main ways that both sickness and health is analyzed. (more…)