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Chinese Taoist belief that the universal life force or energy of the universe, known as chi, and everything in it is based on a pair of opposite forces: Ying and Yang. Yin and Yang are complete opposites but they are also interdependent and cannot exist without each other.

The concept of Yin/Yang was first introduced in the second century BC in the I Ching, which placed Yin and Yang behind Chi on the existential pyramid of the universe. Below Yin and Yang are the five elements of the natural world.

Together Yin and Yang outline the experience of life, which is forever changing. Something is never just Yin or Yang but a combination of the two extremes in different stages of flux. There is always some Yin and Yang and visa versa. Yin is the feminine embodiment of Chi, which represents and symbolizes shadows, earth, night, the moon, dark, cool, calm, passivity, downward motion and moisture. Yang is the masculine component, which represent heaven, day, light, warmth, upward motion, activity, fullness and dryness. The interdependence between the two is symbolised in the tail or Yin/Yang symbol, showing a two-tone circle with a dynamic curve and contrasting dot that separates Yin from Yang. The line between the two halves is not straight and abrupt, as transitions are never sudden, but gradual like a waving curve. The dot of contrasting colour is there to remind us that there is always some Yin in Yang and some Yang in Yin.

Although everything in the universe is an interdependent combination of Yin and Yang some things will be more one that the other and this holds true for people too. The goal in Chinese philosophy and traditional Chinese medicine is always to maintain an equal amount of both, as too much Yin or too much Yang can lead to disease and decay.



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