What is the Yin Yang Theory? Simply opposites – black and white. Every characteristic of Yin is the polar opposite or the contrasting quality of Yang. Together they symbolise a cycle of constant change: from dark to light, feminine to masculine, winter to summer, cold to hot, wet to dry, aggressive to passive, absolute to infinite and so on. Whilst polar opposites, Yin / Yang also complement each other.

(unity / the one / the whole / the complete)

divides into

Yin and Yang
(absolute and infinity)

which then divide into

The 5 Elements
(Wu Xing)

which then divide into

The 8 Trigrams

Yin and Yang represent duality, although these two parts together are ultimately one whole (Taiji). Yin and Yang are united pairs - they cannot exist without the other. Like two sides of a coin, separated but joined. To be in balance, both have to be present – known as ‘unity in duality’. In the Chinese language they do not put the word ‘and’ between Yin Yang to demonstrate this unity.

  1. Opposites
  2. Divisible but inseparable
  3. Rooted in each other
  4. Counterbalance each other
  5. Mutually transform each other

In Yin Yang Theory, the Yin Yang state are never static, only temporary:

Yin is born out of Yang



then exhausts into Yang

Yang is then born out of Yin



then exhausts into Yin

Within the darkness of Yin, there is small part of the light of Yang and within the brightness of Yang, there is a small part that is dark. This means there must always be unsteadiness within balance.  The most common Yin/Yang symbol (also known as the Taiji Diagram or the Taijitu) has a black dot in the middle of the white area and a white dot in the middle of the black area.  Another older symbol for these is the unbroken or solid line for Yang and the broken or divided line for Ying. These come from the diagrams used in the I Ching – The Book of Changes. In Feng Shui, Yin and Yang is present in your surrounding environment. Within the 5 Element Theory they are used with each Element e.g. Yin Water or Yang Water. Yin Water would be a gentle stream or bubbling brook whereas Yang Water would be a roaring ocean or crashing waves on the shore.

The Five Elements






5 Element Cycles

Feng Shui Colours

5 Element Theory

Compass School