View Full Version : The yins and yangs

03-25-2005, 05:49 AM
It is said that the Tai Chi is a balance of yin and yang. Which of the postures of Tai Chi are yin and which are yang?

03-25-2005, 10:25 AM
aaah most honorable combination lie inside of posture;back of hand could be yin,front of hand could be yang...etcetera etcetera

03-25-2005, 03:11 PM
Like Shark alludes, each posture contains both yin and yang. Every moment of the form, be it the "posture" or the transition between two postures should be full of yin and yang.

A few have told me that the left lower limb will be the same yin/yang as the right upper limb. Diagonal opposites. Thus, in ward off left the left arm and right leg are yin (giving in completely to gravity and only held up by tenuous sinews) and the right arm and left leg are yang (left leg supporting the body upwards and right arm filling the posture).

Its interesting though...since the force of gravity on the left arm and right leg is downward, the left leg must be receiving energy and some would say receiving is yin...Perhaps the left leg is simply transmitting the energy into the ground and the crown point is the ultimate recipient...I dunno the nomenclature for the details, but when its right, you arent doing it and it goes out the top of your head.

For me, at my best, the yin is yielding to gravity and all other forces, and letting the sinews do what they do (which might include sending your opponent flying all on their own) and the yang is filling the yin by extending outwards along the center line of the posture (from left toe tips to right finger tips...look at accupuncture graphs for the paths).

Please and thank you.


03-27-2005, 07:09 PM
Thanks. Now I get the picture. The balance is in each of the postures and movements.

Is the balance of yin/yang a fragile one that is easily unbalanced by inaccurate placements of limbs and movements?

03-28-2005, 07:40 AM
Is it fragile?

The short answer is yes. It is like a flower.

The longanswer:

The stiffer you are and the less relaxed you are, the more brittle your balance will be. The more you relax, the more you will find central equilibrium.

I always try to evaluate myself and look for things I am holding up...You shouldnt need to hold anything up in the air. Everything that is up is balanced up. Everything that is down is balanced down. Every inch of the body is connected...think ropes and pulleys...stretchy tendons. Use them!


Your question could also be interpreted as "How correctly should I perform the postures?" or "If I am slightly wrong, is there any benefit?"

According to the classics, if you are slightly wrong, you are off by 1000 miles.

I think we are all wrong in some way or another. But take heart, the best thing about tai chi is that it in and of itself is the teacher. To practice is to learn and progress.

DO learn the postures as accurately as you can from your teacher.
DO seek out movie clips of Cheng Man-Ching.

03-28-2005, 12:02 PM

yin and yang may be too general a term but each has their own interpretation.

Try substituting perhaps 'substantial' and 'insubstantial', OR 'empty' and 'full', simialr utilization. e..g cat stance where one leg is full (more weight) and the empty foot is less weight (10-20%)!!!

03-28-2005, 03:39 PM
not to worry about yin or yang having a "fragile relationship" but just know that they're relationship is constantly changing and transforming in taiji,yin becomes yang as yang becomes yin and the process starts over

03-28-2005, 05:39 PM
Originally posted by kawan
Thanks. Now I get the picture. The balance is in each of the postures and movements.

Is the balance of yin/yang a fragile one that is easily unbalanced by inaccurate placements of limbs and movements?

Tai Chi is constantly in the process of transforming like a perpetuum mobile. My teacher currently changes my form and his form has been changed about 100000 times. Yin becomes yang, yang becomes yin which is most obvious in stepping and hand actions.

However, the balance of yin/yang can become very fragile and easily overthrown when you practice incorrectly. Just a few of the many examples:
1. The head just"slightly" not straight, it is barely noticed. Result: qi doesn't rise properly, your whole body alignment is unbalanced, too heavy load on your back and not enough strength in your legs which should be the main carrier of your body. Wrong alignment of the body will further result in lack of weight control in stepping hence unstable placement of feet and hands
2.Just stepping: when the stepping foot which should be yin is too heavy, you will not be able to shift weight smoothly and control your stepping
3.Last but not least, I deliberately put this at the bottom:
yin/yang or balance of the mind
When you are not focused, unrelaxed, think of how miserable your dinner is and how aweful your Tai Chi teacher, point 1 & 2 will occur by itself

Whenever it is possible, observe your teacher well and follow him/her. Eventually you unconsciously absorb the inner and outer meaning of the movements.Watching videos is a great achievement of today's technology, apart from Prof. Cheng Man Ching I would suggest Chenxiaowang, Zhonglei, Ren Guangyi, Mark Wasson, Jan Silberstorff and our superstar Dr. Paul Lam. Chenxiaowang and Zhonglei are living legends!!!!!!!OH....I forgot Sun YOng Tien but I haven't seen his video yet. Jan is already considered possible successor in the 21 generation.

03-29-2005, 11:20 PM
Hi All,
Thanks. I'll keep the suggestions in mind when I practise.