Yin and Yang Meaning: What the Symbol Means
The yin and yang symbol, otherwise known as the Taijitu symbol, represents the balance of two halves. With its origins in Chinese philosophy and culture, the familiar black and white circle encloses two interconnected tear shaped halves each representing the opposing energies that unite to form the whole.
Whether we’re striving to juggle work and family commitments, managing our dollars or standing on one leg in a yoga class, balance is an integral and constant part of life.
It is when we do not have balance in our lives, thoughts and emotions that we find ourselves in extreme physical, mental and spiritual states. It is when we are not living in balance that we begin to compromise our health, wellbeing and happiness.
In recent years yoga, meditation and mindfulness have all gained popularity boosted by their ability to help ease the stress related conditions we are experiencing in modern life. The rise in popularity of these practices is an indication of our fundamental need for more balance in our lives.
Yin and Yang in Yoga
Our yoga practice is a constant path of uniting opposites to find equilibrium.
Within each tear a small circle of the opposing color of the symbol represents the opposing forces that remain present in each half. This illustrates how life is never just black or white but a balance of two halves.
The physical aspect of our yoga practice is Hatha Yoga. Hatha takes its meaning from the Sanskrit word ‘yuj’ which translates as yoking or binding. The idea of connecting and balancing two separate parts is illustrated further when the word is broken down into two parts, ‘ha’ meaning sun and ‘tha’ meaning moon. Sun and moon refers to the two opposing aspects that exist within us to form the whole.
In the Taijitu, the black teardrop represents yin energy associated with the female, the moon and stillness. In yoga, yin or more restorative types of yoga put focus on slow, deliberate movements to find that balance. Yang energy, represented by the white teardrop, is associated with the male, the sun and movement. The two forces teardrops dovetail together creating the perfect circle and represent the duality of everything that exists in the universe.
Yang energy, represented by the white teardrop, is associated with the male, the sun and movement. The two forces teardrops dovetail together creating the perfect circle and represent the duality of everything that exists in the universe.
Life Is Made up of Many Opposing and Cyclical Forces
These include good and bad, positive and negative, day and night – but everything is cyclical as inevitably day dissolves into night before circling back to the dawn.
When our yin and yang energies are misaligned an inner conflict is created that is not conducive to a state of balance. Aligning our energies in a more balanced way helps us reach a state of harmony.
There are many parallels between yin and yang energy and yoga. Yoga, with all its many disciplines, is very much a practice of balance. Whether physical as we hold Warrior 3 pose, or the breath as we alternate inhalation and exhalation or through our changing thought patterns. Our practice is a combination of two parts working in union balancing our bodies, breath and minds.
In Short, it’s a Constant Path of Uniting Opposites and Seeking Balance.
The opposing energies of yin and yang, much like the yoking of our yoga practice, demonstrate how a balanced life is a journey of complementary and contrasting experiences where in order to appreciate the highs of life we also need to experience the lows.
In simpler terms, the key to living a fulfilled, purposeful and happy life is by maintaining balance in all aspects of life in order to achieve a healthy state of equilibrium.