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Yin Vs. Yang: What’s The Difference?

Yin and Yang is a concept of dualism that came from Ancient Chinese philosophy. It got popular around the world due to the yoga culture. According to Chinese cosmology, the universe creates itself out of the primary chaos of material energy and is organized into the cycles of Yin and Yang. But what is yin, and what is yang?

Yin and Yang can be translated as dark-light or even negative-positive. They are contrary or opposite forces that can be interconnected, and independent, as good and bad is.

The whole concept of yin and yang is very complex since this is a very old concept that has absorbed and inspired a lot of other concepts and cultural works. There are a lot of ways of understating yin and yang, and a lot of ways of applying this concept in your daily life. If you want to understand more about yin and yang, keep on reading.

The Real Difference Between Yin And Yang

Yin and yang are, overall, used to describe opposite or contrary forces. Yin would be the “negative” part of it and yang the “positive” part of it. For example, yin could be used to describe bad, and yang could be used to describe good. That is the major difference between both of them.

This concept is part of Taoism, also known as Daoism, a spiritual and philosophical tradition born in China many many years ago, most likely somewhere in the 4th century BCE.

Taoism is a very important philosophical tradition in the entire road, but especially in Asia, and it is recommendable that you study it, if you feel interested.

There are many natural dualities that are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality that yin and yang symbolize, like dark and light, fire and water, contracting and expanding.

This is part of the primary guideline of traditional Chinese medicine, and is very important to a lot of different forms of Chinese martial arts and exercises, like qigong (Chi Kung), T’ai Chi, baguazhang, and more. Also, it appears in the pages of I Ching, one of the oldest Chinese classics books.

Remember that in Taoist metaphysics, the distinctions between good and bad and other dichotomous moral judgments are perceptual, not real.

The duality of yin and yan is an indivisible whole. However, a moral dimension is indeed attached to the idea of yin and yang in the philosophy of Dong Zhongshu.

Yin can also mean something like “black side” and yang something like “white side”. You must notice that inside of yin, there is yang, and inside of yang, there is yin.

This is a concept about opposite forces that complements themselves. It can be about harmony. Without yin, there is no yang. Without darkness, there is no light.

The words yin and yang themselves are very complex and can mean a lot of things, like the moon, north side of a hill, negative, shaded orientation for yin, and the sun, open, north bank of a river, south side of a hill, for yang.

Please remember that yangyin is not synonymous with yinyang. Some people write it mistakenly. Chinese sometimes uses yanying in the colloquial language, but it does not mean the same that yinyang. This is an irreversible binomial, which is a collocation of two words (A-B) that can not be idiomatically reversed as B-A.

The reason why the “bad” thing, yin, comes first instead of yang, which is the “good” thing, is still a mystery. Commonly, the usual pattern among Chinese binominal compounds is for the first word to be positive and the second word to be negative. The first word is dominant or even privileged over the second word.

As yinyang means dark and light, moon and sun, female and male, it does not follow the pattern.

Some scholars think that the proto-Chinese society was matriarchal, which would explain why the word related to female would come first since the contemporary society is patriarchal. Anyway, we still don’t know why this concept is presented as yinyang, but we hope to find it out someday.

Unfortunately, yinyang concept was used to justify China’s patriarchal history and loss of women’s rights. Especially under Confucianism, a Chinese system of thought and behavior also known as Ruism, yang was considered superior to yin, so the men were considered superior to women and would occupy rulership positions that women were prohibited to occupy.

Some expressions and catchphrases are used to express how yin and yang complement themselves. For example, “tragedy turns to comedy”, “the bigger the front, the bigger the back”, “disasters turn out to be blessings”, and “illness is the doorway to health”.

Yin and yang can also be applied to the human body. If the yin and yang inside of your body becomes unbalanced, there is a lack of any of them, and so something is wrong and you may feel a vacuity.

Yin and yang exist in everything in the universe, and everything embraces yin and yang. Neither of them is absolute, but both contain the aspect of the other. Together, these two ideas form a whole.

So, the yin and yang symbol denotes both sides: it denotes paradox, duality, change, unity in diversity, harmony. Yin represents the internal energy, and yang represents the external energy.

  • Yin represents the “bad” side;
  • It can represent concepts and things like fire, female, dark, moon;
  • Yin and yang are complementary forces;
  • It is always yinyang;
  • No one knows why it is yin yang and not the contrary;
  • Yin is the internal energy;
  • Yin is represented by the black color;
  • Yin has soft and versatile energy;
  • Yin is considered broken, cold, and dark;
  • Yan represents the “good” side;
  • It can represent concepts and things like water, male, light, sun;
  • Without yin, there is no yang;
  • It is never yangying;
  • Yang is the external energy;
  • Yang is represented by the white color;
  • Yang has tough and unbending energy;
  • Yin is considered solid, hot, and cold;

Which Is More Powerful: Yin Or Yang?

Neither. Yin can’t be more powerful than yang, and yang can’t be more powerful than yin. Both of them need each other to be fully formed. As I said before, one does not exist without the other.

So, both of them are equally powerful and important. Without light, you can’t see the dark. Without the dark, you can’t see the light. Which one is more powerful? No one, because each one needs the other to exist.

Difference Between Yin And Yang In The Zodiac

The Occidental Zodiac uses the concept of yin and yang in astrology. This is not from Chinese philosophy or even religion, as you may have noticed. Yin yang being used in astrology is something made up by the Occidental people.

Anyways, according to those who believe in astrology, you are a “yin type” – whatever it means – if you are a part of the earth and water signs, which are Taurus, Capricorn, Virgo, Pisces, Scorpio, and Cancer.

If you are a part of the air and fire signs, which are Aquarius, Libra, Gemini, Leo, Aries, and Sagittarius, you are a “yang type”.

Yin And Yang In Yoga

Yin and Yang are a type of yoga, which helped to popularize the concept of yin yang in the Western. Yin yoga is a slower practice that works on the deep, dense, and connective tissues and joints of your body.

The yang yoga is similar to the ashtanga or Hatha practice, which helps to develop muscular strength, flexibility, and stamina. Yin yang yoga blends these two styles into one practice, so you can have the benefits of them both at once.

James Smith

James is a passionate explorer and the creative mind behind, a platform dedicated to unraveling captivating distinctions. With an insatiable curiosity, he uncovers hidden nuances in various aspects of life, from cultural traditions to scientific phenomena. James believes that appreciating differences fosters personal growth and societal empathy.