by Derrick Leggete

One translation of Chi is “breath the breath of life, the animating principle that has no word in the English language. The visible and tangible world is simply seen as a condensation of Chi. When Chi condenses, says Zhang Zai, “forms appear”.

In nature, Yang is the realm of sky and air; Yin is the realm of earth and vegetation. Yang rises up: Yin sinks downward. Yang is active, light and warm; Yin is quiet, dark and cool. Yang brings change; Yin maintains stability. Yang mat be represented by fire; Yin by water. These naturally complementary forces are also seen at work in the human being. For convenience, they are addressed separately but need to be understood as mutually interdependent. It is thir dynamic balance rather than a measure of thir quantity that is important.

In the human body, Yang can be described as the field of activity of the sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal medulla. The sympathetic nervous system mobilizes our resources for action, responds to stimuli gets us ready and moving. Yin can be seen as the complementary field of activity of the parasympathetic nervous system and the adrenal cortex, which governs the more inner world of nutrition, maintenance and storage. Yin/Yang balance can be seen as the relative balance within these two branches of the nervous system, a dynamic relationship.

Yin provides the still point, the anchor for activity, the resting place of regeneration. It is the quiet pool inside to retire to and refresh ourselves. We connect with the Yin aspect through meditation and quietness, through turning the attention inward. It is nourished by adequate rest and relaxation and may be diminished by over stimulation.

Yang is connected to will, the motivating force within us. Yang provides the fire for all metabolic processes, just as it provides the fire that drives our lives and gives birth to our assertiveness in then world It Is nourished through movement and activity, through having a goal through stimulation. Deficiency of yang is frequently tied into patterns of Spleen and Kidney Qi Deficiency and patterns of Cold. Damp and Stagnation, so it needs to be addressed
against this background. When the Yin hecoires deficient for a long time then the Yang may afso collapse through lack of fuel. This is typical in the deeper, more long-term patterns of exhaustion that are prevalent in today’s culture.

Abundant Yang energy manifests as physical warmth and vitality, strong metabolism and a strong back. Sexual desire is strong, the willpower is assertive and there is fire and determination in the way a person engages with life There is an ability to move for ward through life, to rise to challenges and to find motivation easily. Deficient Yang energy is characterised by coldness, low energy and lack of motivation. The metabolism will also be slow and there will be a tendency towards Stagnation and the accumulation of Dampness.

Yin energy is contained within the fluid substances of the body: the intercellular fluids carrying nutrients and messages around the whole body. The joint-lubricating fluids, the sexual fuids Abundant Yin energy manifests as deep physical reserve and the ability to continually replenish the body’s physical and mental energy. The body is fertile, the mind calm and receptive. There is an ability to withdraw deep inside the self to visit and replenish the internal well of nourishment, both in sleep and daily activity. Deficient Yin energy is charactensed by loss of the ability to calm and soothe the system. Exhaustion is deep-rooted and the nervous system strung out: There may be a tendency towards the build-up of Heat and Dryness.