Balance Yin and Yang

You’ve probably heard the terms yin and yang before, and have been taught to think of them simply as opposites. While it’s true, for example, that yin represents decay and yang represents growth, the two are best thought of as complementary energies. Just as too much decay in a garden leads to a sterile environment, too much growth can lead to an out-of-control wilderness. Thus, yin and yang are most beneficial when they are balancing each other. At any given moment, yin might dominate yang in a particular situation, but such domination is a temporary thing. The two forces are a constant, cyclical balancing act for each other. What’s most important is not the way they contrast, but the chi that’s born of their interaction.

Yang energy is associated with everything bright, upward, male, and penetrating. It’s the energy associated with heaven and with life. Yang colours are dazzling: oranges, yellows and reds. Yang shapes are straight, pointy and vertical.

Feng shui teaches us to balance yang by adding yin. Any room that leaves us feeling jangled or over stimulated will benefit from adding soothing yin elements: deep, muted colours (especially blue and black), soft pillows and fabrics, flowing patterns. When you’re feeling stressed, perform a little personal feng shui on yourself by playing soft, soothing yin music; breathing slowly and deeply; and meditating.

Yin energy is associated with all things quiet, feminine, still and receptive: the earth, water, winter, night and death. In ancient times, an entire branch of feng shui was devoted to yin. Because yin was associated with death, the dangerous yin from graveyards, hospitals, military installations and similar areas had to be deflected and contained for the safety of those who lived nearby. But yin is also a vital, life-nourishing force: it’s the primary energy of mothers and peacemakers.

Feng shui shows us how to liven up an overly yin environment with a dash of fiery yang: add candles to brighten up a room or dark corner: decorate with touches of vibrant colour and active patterns. If you feel depressed on a gloomy day, mediate that extra yin by turning on more lights, dancing to upbeat music, or doing something fun and silly.

Remember that what’s important in feng shui is to balance the yin and yang of any given area. Yang without enough yin becomes jarring (picture a living room chock-full of nothing but harsh-angled, modern furniture and shiny, glaring colours); yin without enough yang becomes depressing (imagine a dark, soft, overly yin bedroom – a great place to sleep, maybe, but if the flame has gone out of your sex life, and overdose of yin may be the cause!).

If a room in your home is too yang or too yin for its function, you can adjust the colour, light and décor to bring in more of the missing element and tone down the dominant element, Add soothing yin to a room, for instance, with soft pillows and pastels; bring a touch of active yang by adding brightly coloured artwork and accents.

Neither yin nor yang is better than the other; neither is dominant. They can only exist in relationship to each other, and as the classic Taoist symbol represents, even in the heart of yang there’s a splash of yin and vice versa.


Yin And Yang Characteristics

Male Female
Penetrating Receptive
Bright Dark
Active Quiet
Aggravating Depressing
Lively Subdued
Summer Winter
Growth Decay
Heavenly Earthly


Yin And Yang Rooms

Living rooms Bedrooms
Recreation rooms Bathrooms
Kitchens Reading rooms
Dining rooms Storage rooms


What Makes A Room More Yang Or Yin?

Bright, sharp colours Dark, muted colours
Bright, focused light Soft, muted light
Stimulating, shiny texture Soft, smooth textures
Straight lines Curving lines
Wide open spaces Small, private niches


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