The Yin and Yang of Feng Shui

June 11, 2017

Defining Yin and Yang

Yin and Yang (or Yin-Yang) can be defined as two parts equalling a whole.  It originated from Taoism (pronounced Dow-ism,) which is a philosophy that is based on the observations of nature. 

Three major concepts include:

1.) Yin and Yang are opposite relative to one another.  An example is that nature is quiet (Yin) relative to a busy intersection on a city street (Yang.) However, nature is loud (Yang) relative to a sound-proof room (Yin.)

2.) They are interdependent- one can’t exist without the other.  There is some yin within yang and vice versa, represented by the two dots in the symbol.

3.) They are transforming and interchangeable: yin turns into yang, and yang turns into yin.  An example is day turns into night, and night into day. Length of each day, in terms of the amount of light that exists is constantly changing with the seasons.

Yin and yang are also the impetus for change. When something is whole, by definition it is unchanging and complete. So when you split something into two halves – yin / yang, it upsets the equilibrium of wholeness. This starts both halves trying to complete the missing part as they seek a new balance with each other.  Here are some examples:

          Yin:                Yang:

         night              day    

         female          male

         sun                moon

        cold                hot

        wet                 dry

        dark              light

        soft                hard

       quiet              loud

       winter            summer

Yin-Yang is always seeking balance.  Balance is the first important step toward harmony.  When these two elements are in harmony, their energies are not just equally proportioned but blended together into a seamless whole. To be in harmony, you must balance the Yin and Yang Ch’i/Qi within your body, your lifestyle and your environment.

Yin-Yang is one of the most important concepts in the history of Chinese philosophy. The influences are yin-yang are easy to see, but its conceptual meaning is hard to define.  Three basic elements make up the formation of Chinese theory:

1.) It’s the understandable texture of nature and mind exhibited in all of existence.

2.) It’s the interaction of the cosmic and human realms, and

3.) It’s a process of harmonizing all things to create and maintain balance between natural forces.

Yin-Yang as Ch’i (Qi)

The enduring interpretation of Yin-Yang is related to the concept of Ch’i/Qi, or vital force. Feng shui is all about dealing with the natural and manmade forces that exist on a piece of land, as well as one’s home and office.

A Brief History

The earliest Chinese characters for yin and yang are found in inscriptions made on skeletal remains of animals used in ancient Chinese divination practices at least as early as the 14th century B.C.E.  (Before Common Era, or B.C. for Christians.)  Now that’s pretty impressive considering that the archetypal Greek records date back to 900 B.C.E.  The earliest comprehensive Chinese dictionary appeared in about 100 B.C.E. and contains a definition of Yin-yang. In it, yin refers to “a closed door, darkness and the south bank of a river and the north side of a mountain.” Yang refers to “height, brightness and the south side of a mountain.”

The meanings of yin and yang originated in the Chinese daily life experience. When the sun came out, farmers would go to the field to work; when the sun went down, they would return home to rest. This sun-based daily pattern may have led to a conceptual claim: yang is movement and yin is rest. This resource further indicates that yang is the sunny side and yin is the shady side of hill. This effect of the sun exists at the same time over the hill.

The Yin-Yang Symbol

Since no one has ever claimed ownership of this popular image, there is no sure means of determining its exact date of origin.  It was definitely inspired by a rich textural and visual history, and the Chinese have tried to codify the underlying pattern through words and concepts since the Han Dynasty.  The Yin portion is black, the Yang portion is white.


A Brief Political Connection

If the Ch’i/Qi of heaven and earth lose its order, then people will become disoriented. There is an inherent relationship between natural events and political systems. People, especially our political leaders must align their actions with the morally-oriented universe.  If they follow and work with the patterns of the universe, then they will be rewarded with prosperity and a good life for all their citizens. If they go against the flow of the universe, they’ll be punished with disasters and destruction.  It will be interested to see what occurs in the U.S. and our world with such unrest and disorientation.


Applying Yin-Yang Theory to Your Home

First of all, consider that your home, by its function has some Yin rooms and some Yang rooms.  A family room is a pretty Yang room, where there is lots of movement, sound, and activity.  A bedroom is a fairly Yin room, where you have private (often quiet) moments and sleep.  The kitchen can be Yin or Yang, depending upon who is cooking and how it’s used, but it’s generally Yang.  The bathrooms are generally Yin rooms, and the Living Room/Great Room are probably more Yang, as it’s where you entertain guests.  Think about your home and the way it functions for its inhabitants.  Is it balanced when you consider square footage?  If not, consider different means by which you can bring balance to the spaces.  You might make a list of rooms in your home, determine the square footage, their function, and the amount of use to get a technical sense of the balance.

Your Home’s Decor

Once you’ve made your list of rooms and their qualities, then take a look at the choices you’ve made on flooring, wall color/treatments, windows, lighting, furniture within each room.  Here’s a list of qualities based on their Yin/Yang qualities:

    Yin:                                            Yang:

    carpeted floors                        hardwood floors

    wallpaper                                  flat surface painted walls

    coffered ceilings                      flat ceilings

    fewer windows                         lots of windows

    less light                                    more light

    Fabric window coverings       shades/shutters/blinds

    Curved furniture                      linear furniture            

    upholstered furniture             wood or metal furnishings


Adding Color to Form a Balance

If you’re thinking that you have too much of one element in your home, then another way you can bring balance is through the use of color.  Red is the most Yang color (depending upon its intensity), in that it implies activity and heat.  While you wouldn’t want a whole room in red, (meaning walls, floors, ceiling and furniture) it can bring some needed Yang to your space. Green is the most Yin color, depending upon its intensity, because of its restful quality associated with nature and cool characteristic.  

Yin (Cooler) Hues:        Yang (Warmer) Hues:

Violet (Purple)                    Red-Violet

Blue-Violet                        Red

Blue                                   Red-Orange

Blue-Green                      Orange

Green                               Yellow-Orange

Yellow-Green                  Yellow

Of course, when this is said, we’re looking at the color wheel of primary (red, yellow, and blue), secondary (orange, green, and violet), and Tertiary (Yellow-Green, Blue-Green, Blue-Violet, Red-Violet, Red-Orange, and Yellow-Orange) colors.  One must also consider Tints (colors mixed with white,) Tones (colors mixed with gray,) and Shades (color mixed with black.)  In general in color theory, we can cool down red’s fire by adding white (which makes pink) grey (which makes mauve) or black (which make burgundy.) We can also warm up green’s coolness by adding white (which makes mint) grey (which makes evergreen) or black (which makes deep forest.)  Are there other ways? Certainly.  Red can be cooled by adding blue to make violet, and green can be warmed by adding yellow, for instance. There are almost an unending variety of ways you can mix color combinations in a room to make it feel balanced.


Remember, also that Yin and Yang are interdependent- one can’t exist without the other.  


In conclusion

Transformations for Interiors understands how Feng Shui can improve the balance of Yin and Yang, thereby increasing the harmony in your home.  We can help you create a positive flow of Ch’i (Qi) to give yourself the maximum amount of comfort. For more information or further questions, call us and we’ll be happy to help you out.  Check out our Independence Day Special below to get started or for a quick fix.


Independence Day Special 

Receive an initial consultation at your home or office for just $200, a $300 value. 

This offer runs June 15 through July 15, 2017. 

Email: or 

Call/text (253) 973-8438

to set an appointment during this time frame. 

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