Ancient Chinese people were greatly interested in the relationships and patterns that occurred in nature. Instead of studying isolated things, they viewed the world as a harmonious and holistic entity. In their eyes, no single being or form could exist unless it was seen in relation to its surrounding environment. By simplifying these relationships, they tried to explain complicated phenomena in the universe.
What is the Yin Yang Theory?
Early Taoism representation of Yin Yang
The original concept of yin and yang came from the observation of nature and the environment. "Yin" originally referred to the shady side of a slope while "yang" referred to the sunny side. Later, this thinking was used in understanding other things, which occurred in pairs and had complementary and opposing characteristics in nature. Some examples sky and earth, day and night, water and fire, active and passive, male and female and so on. Working with these ideas, ancient people recognized nearly all things could have yin and yang properties. Yin and yang can describe two relative aspects of the same phenomena such as the example of the slope, or they can describe two different objects like sky and earth.
Usually, yang is associated with an aspect of an object and has more energetic qualities, for example, moving, ascending, expanding, heat, bright, progressing, active and states. Yin, on the other hand, is associated with the physical form of an object and has less energetic qualities such as stillness, descending, contracting, cold, dark, degenerating, latent and under-functioning states.