Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Basic Understanding of Yin and Yang

I use this blog to talk about male and female behavior, individually, in relationships, and globally, using the lens of yin and yang. I invite commentary and hope you enjoy the insights I've collected about men and women -- Mary Traina

The words yin and yang (pronounced yong as in gong) have come to represent a part of what is mysterious and spiritual about the East. From upscale ads in New Age magazines to sitcoms to casual conversation, they are used to exemplify opposite qualities in any given situation. She is yin to his yang, they are as different as yin and yang, salt and sugar, hot and cold, and so on.

In reality, they simply describe two qualities found in everywhere in the world, from the behavior of molecules to the sun and the moon, and everything in between. They also represent male (yang) energy, and female (yin) energy.

A basic rule regarding the relationship of yin and yang is:
YANG protects YIN
YIN nurtures YANG
Together they form a complete whole.

Everyone has a mix of yin and yang qualities.

Men are essentially more yang – in body and temperament and behavior. Women are essentially more yin. But each of us has some of the other energy. And in each of us, our yang protects our yin.

Since men have more yang energy, they tend to be more aggressive and are apt to see a need to label situations as threatening or requiring ‘handling.’ Their predominant yang makes them protective of what they might perceive as yin -- or something or someone needing protection. This stepping up to the plate is inherent in yang energy. It is a very necessary and very powerful force. And though it can be increased or repressed, or perverted in some way, especially by the rules of different cultures and society, it is very important for women to understand that it is not unnatural for men to feel this way. Once I saw this clearly, I was able to accept that characteristic in men, and even celebrate it.

Women, on the other hand, while able to marshal aggression, would rather defuse a situation and keep things running smoothly. Underneath all the socialized rhetoric that women are less aggressive is the very real positive force of preservation of life. It is this very vital and very yin quality which allows women to step back from confrontation and seek a gentler (some might say smarter) way out where no-one gets hurt. This should never be mistaken for weakness. It would be easy to see women as physically less aggressive and therefore less able to intimidate or set limitations. It is our strength and our power that we see life and alternatives in situations where men see restricted options and the need for destruction. There is a time and a place for each energy. Within our bodies, between individual people, within our families, and in the world at large, we need both male and female qualities in order to survive. And it is vitally important for me to understand and accept the power of women and celebrate it.

I hope you can use this basic understanding of male and female energies and enjoy my stories and commentary on how yin and yang shape our behavior and relationships.

And maybe, if I have been successful, You will realize what a lot of the ‘small stuff’ means and that it is okay, even vital, to be different; that we each have our own ‘mission’ to fulfill, our own energy that propels us through our lives in ways that are personal and unique, and above all, as nature intended, which is not such a bad thing at all.


Anonymous said...

Hi, as a Chinese girl, i'd like to say that "yang" is pronounced as just that - yang. Yang as in "rung". In hanyu pinyin it is simply "yang".


Anonymous said...

wait if it were simply yang then it couldn't be rung? rang.

Anonymous said...

your right it's yang as in rang...I can understand her confusion if english is not her primary language.

Anonymous said...

just because she's chinese that means english isn't her primary language. think outside the box..and stop being so stereotypical. and yea this is coming from a chinese girl and english is my primary language

Anonymous said...

ladies, please just be more yin and less yang. :^)

Colin Kee said...

Hi, I think I understand what she meant. Yang (e.g. ang in Uncle) is China Chinese. Yong (Gong) is actually cantonese (hong kong)


Sun Wukong said...

I have studied on Mt Wudang for the past year. Traditional Taoist pronounce it like the article suggests, Yong. Its not so emphasized or so strong of an O sound where you have to exaggerate, but it does have more an o sound.
many bless

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this lovely description of Yin and Yang. I found it extremely helpful, especially the qualities of nurturing and ptotecting which when out of balance lead to such extremes of polarity as we find in society. I am in the process of exploring past wounds and this has given me some deeper insights, bringing to life what was previously a more intellectual appreciation of the energies. Thank you.

Fiona said...

I think this will help my husband and I to find better personal and relationship balance. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I find this very sexist, not all men are like that and not all woman are like either. I think people are just putting a sterotype on one gender making it sound like they have to be like that or they all are like that and I don't like it.

Reg said...

I realise that it is 2014 but thank you Mary I am a mosaic artist and am doing a mosaic Hanging and have wondered of the spiritial or philoshical meaning of yin and yang

Anonymous said...

please read Simone de Beauvoir. it will help you expand your blog.

Anonymous said...

It concerns me that so much time was spent BY WOMEN on fussing about how a word is pronounced rather than focusing on the ideas.

People take a risk by putting their thoughts on paper for all the world to see and that needs to be respected. Why would we want someone to lose face?

I work with the anima and animus, based on the work of Carl Jung, and this information provides another way of bringing the qualities of the masculine and feminine together. I also help women claim and develop the masculine to give them balance in their lives

Thank you for putting forth this information.

Aqua Wu said...

Thank you for this interesting article.
There's a question that's always troubled me: Can a man have more yin than yang or a woman with more yang than yin? I've been told Yang and Yin like men and women then how about same-sex couple?

Helen G said...

I find the statement by anonymous made on May 5, 2010 to be sexist. It's all about balance, don't worry that a woman has a bit of extra Yang to her energy because this in no way poses a threat to men. In essence, a strong woman is probably more beneficial for a man than a woman that doesn't have as Yang. No threat to man is necessary for harmonious balance of both Yin & Yang together as a team. So don't ask your girl to put on lipstick or stilettos just to prove that you are still a man. A balanced woman has the ability to shine although she proudly allows her freckles to be seen, chooses to wear cowboy boots over stilettos and embraces her real self allowing man to experience only harmony, balance, & the completion necessary to move forward on the mysterious and ever evolving journey to balanced and enlightened reunion and ascension to the mighty I AM source. I find this to be YIN/YANG harmony & balance rather than what the anonymous commenter pled for.

Helen G said...

Thank you anonymous poster from the Jan 20, 2014 comment by the person that has studied and is familiar with Carl Jungs work. Harmony and balance are attainable and certainly don't have to be struggles.

Jane Reed said...

I love this - I've been looking for a non-biased, simple & concise way to address the battle of the sexes issue that's tearing so many modern families & relationships apart. Great read, short & sweet & to the point!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. I don't think though women are just yin and men are just yang. Studying traditional Chinese medicine has shown me that both men and women have yang and yin in them. Some just have a natural tendency towards one. And in my experience there are many women out there who are naturally yang and many men out there who are naturally yin. When we go around saying women should be yin and men should be yang we are making all these people feel unnatural. They may try to change their natural tendencies and that is not heathy. You should celebrate what you are not change it. But anyway that is my whole issue with men being equated with yang and women being equated with yin. We all need both. But we often have a tendency towards one or another. And you know what if everyone was completely honest then yang women would admit that they prefer their men yin... That is introspective, going with the flow if life, inner stillness kind of men and ofcourse yin men prefer yang women... Those with heaps of outgoing energy, enthusiasm, always being active. So these men and women shouldn't change who they are. Because they're perfectly fine being who they are. And in fact yang women are happy to approach I approach men and yin men will like being approached. Whereas obviously more yang will like doing the approaching and so on. I'm just using this as an example that our society tends to be so arbitrary. It tends to say men are this, women are that, this is what men do, this is what women are etc. There's no appreciation for he subtleties of character.