The Tao and its primal interplay of opposites is all fundamentally Good, according to Chinese philosophy and religion. Things may appear good or bad in the immediate or short-term sense, in that things are experienced as either good or bad for our lives. Yin and Yang symbolize this primal dynamism and malleability of the Tao, or the way of all things. This is the way of the universe - there are good times and bad, a time to live and a time to die, a time to be happy and a time to be sad. These are inclusive of and complementary to each other. Harmony in life comes when we accept the working and rhythms of these polarities.
Taijiquan’s Yin and Yang can be: closing and opening; defensive and offensive; bending and extending; inhaling and exhaling. Yin and Yang symbolize this primal dynamism and malleability of the Tao, or the way of all things. This is the way of the universe - there are good times and bad, a time to live and a time to die, a time to be happy and a time to be sad, and so on. These are inclusive of and complementary to each other. Harmony in life comes when we accept the working and rhythms of these polarities.
A clearer understanding of Yin and 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 from 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 written over the delineation and description of these patterns. Often times Taoists use the concept of Yin and Yang as a familiar starting template to work with patterns.
When it comes to the five elements, earth, water, and wood are clearly to be associated with yin. Water, the softest and most yielding element, becomes the supreme symbol of yin and the Tao in the Tao Te Ching. Fire (the hottest element) and metal (the hardest) both are associated with yang. Nevertheless, the Blue Dragon,quing long , that symbolizes wood is a principal symbol of yang, while the White Tiger,bai hu , that symbolizes metal is a principal symbol of yin. This kind of reversal turns up frequently in the I Ching. The I Ching,yi jing , is based on the principle of a broken line,- - , representing yin, and an unbroken line,-- , representing yang.
The fundamental ideas behind Daoism and Tantra are eloquently illustrated by the deceivingly simple Yin-Yang. The wholeness of the universe is polarized into two forces, whose interplay is the base of existence itself. Further examination reveals complexities in the system as recursion eliminates the absolute nature of duality. Transcendence is attained through the union of the two forces whose separation was not absolute in the first place. There is a very cyclical feel to this: there is creation, involution, evolution, and finally a return to the source.
Yin in its highest form is freezing while yang in its highest form is boiling. The chilliness comes from heaven while the warmness comes from the earth. The interaction of these two establishes the (harmony), so it gives birth to things.
Yinyang (yin-yang) is one of the dominant concepts shared by different schools throughout the history of Chinese philosophy. Just as with many other Chinese philosophical notions, the influences of yinyang are easy to observe, but its conceptual meanings are hard to define. Despite the differences in the interpretation, application, and appropriation of yinyang, three basic themes underlie nearly all deployments of the concept in Chinese philosophy: (1) yinyang as the coherent fabric of nature and mind, exhibited in all existence, (2) yinyang as jiao (interaction) between the waxing and waning of the cosmic and human realms, and (3) yinyang as a process of harmonization ensuring a constant, dynamic balance of all things.
The union of the yin and yang is the basis of creating and renewing the energy of life in the body. Generative or procreative energy was recognized as life energy as early as the seventh century BCE. The early medical texts, including the 'Huang-ti nei-ching su-wen' and 'Ling-shu,' had counseled people to conserve ching, procreate energy, for health.
The roots of a world divided between yin and yang, and yet also united through their struggle and comprehended by balance, lie far back in the religious and cultural history of China. They are to be found in the two worlds view of shamanism which underpins the philosophical background of China. Shamanism, arising thousands of years ago in Siberia, spread from there down through China and further south; across Russia to present day Finland; across from Siberia to Alaska; and thus down into North and Central America.
Yin and yang are best understood in terms of symbolism. When the sun shines on a mountain at some time other than midday, the mountain has one shady side and one sunny side. Yin is the emblem for the shady side and its characteristics; yang is the emblem for the sunny side and its qualities. Since the sun has not yet warmed the yin side, it is dark, cool, and moist; plants are contracted and dormant; and water in the form of dew moves downward. The yang side of the mountain is the opposite of the yin side. It is bright, warm, and dry; plants open up and extend their stalks to catch the sun; and water in the form of fog moves upward as it evaporates.