The theory of Yin and Yang (阴阳) is fundamental to the practice of Chinese Medicine in terms of understanding, diagnosing, and treating health issues. In fact, the theory of Yin and Yang dated back as far as 700 B.C. to the I-Ching (易经). Yin and Yang are distinctively Chinese in terms of perception of profound fundamental principles and as an expression of a unique way of viewing the world and the greater universe (macro). Yin and Yang are the two energies that embody Universal law, which ensures that all things remain in harmony.
Treatment in Chinese Medicine seeks to balance these two forces within our body (our body as a micro-universe), by regulating primarily two elements in our body: Qi and Blood (气血). More importantly, the treatment effects could be augmented if it is synchronized with the Yin Yang forces at the macro level. It is said that if you can “understand Yin and Yang, you can hold the universe in your hands” (故阴阳四时者，万物之始终也，生死之本也，逆之则灾害生，从之则苛疾不起，是谓得道 – 《素问，四神调神大论》)
The Yin and Yang attributes are not absolute but relative. A concept like day has no meaning without the concept of night. This relativity means that under extreme conditions, Yin and Yang can be transformed into each other (物极必反). Here, we see the transformation of Yin and Yang each day: 11pm to 1am at midnight (“zi” hour,子时), and 11am to 1pm at midday (“wu” hour, 午时).
There is a Chinese saying, “to be in deep sleep by “zi” hour, and to rest the mind during “wu” hour” (子时大睡，午时小憩). At the “zi” hour (子时), the body is Yin: the body is making its transition to Yang. Body regeneration and healing are thought to happen in this window, which is why it’s the gallbladder’s time to shine. The gallbladder works to excrete bile and digest healthy fats. Detoxification, repair and regeneration takes over. This process of regenerating old cells to new cells can only take place at night, during your sleep. This is also to prepare our body for the next day as the Yang gradually swell, and the body’s physiological functions progressively turn from rest to excitement.
A lesser known fact is that, it is as important to rest our body during the “wu” hours (午时), 11am to 1pm as we see our body transit from Yang to Yin. Yang gradually declines, and the body’s physiological functions change from excitement to inhibition (子午之时，阴阳交接，极胜极衰… … 必欲静卧，以侯气夏).
Instead of choosing a high impact work-out during lunch hour, it is wiser to choose one that allow you to rest the mind and body . Alternatively, end lunch slightly earlier, find a quiet spot in your office, close your eyes and rest the mind for 5-10 min. This is extremely helpful to “reset” the mind and nourish the Yang in our body, in preparation for the second half of the day.
To know more about the Yin Yang theory of Chinese Medicine, check out the series of Chinese Medicine based Yin yoga workshops that Jensen will be co conducting with Physician Goh You Li in Feb 2020.
For more details on the workshops, please check out the link: