At the core of Taoism is the experience of the dualistic balance of the Universe and body/Spirit.
There are 2 forces that create us. There’s Yin and Yang.
Although true Chinese medicine solely concentrates on YinYang as its basis of treatment, true Taoism concentrates on creating a lifestyle, or more so a personal and societal culture that naturally allows the flow between YinYang to be as seamless as possible.
This way, we are not just waiting for imbalance, which we are going to be treating with acupuncture and aggressive herbs (or drugs and surgery in the West), but living a preventative life where harmony is of paramount importance. The practice of Tonic Herbalism is one of the primary aspects of maintaining this flow for many traditional Taoists, herbalists and health seekers of antiquity.
These are the principles on which SuperFeast is built.
What is Yin & Yang?
The Yin Yang symbol shows a balance between two opposites with a portion of the opposite element in each section.
Yin is the flesh, blood and general solid matter. It’s dense, solid, and is the energy that accumulates so that we can be the concentration of matter that we are that we can also save for later; it gives us form in this world, the 3D reality.
Yang turns the lights on and breathes the living Spirit to the Yin. It will take a solid organ in all its magical potential and begin sparking it up, “turning it on” in a way, so that all that potential can begin to function and create new experiences, then we see the doctrine of YinYang coming to life in their unity and inseparable collaboration.
When spirit and body meet, we have life. A healthy body that is connected to its spirit and the earth enables the YinYang transformation in the body to be in alignment with Heaven and Earth. An example of this is that we rise when the sun rises, and can sleep when it is down.
When we are in flow with the seasons fully, we see an even smoother and more refined transformation cycle of Qi from Yin to Yang and Yang to Yin. In Taoism, we have the 5 elements to understand the nature of this YinYang transformation cycle as the Qi flows through the organs.
For example, when the Qi of the universe and our body are flowing through the Kidney Water system, it must take on particular YinYang qualities, in an expression that is unique to the elements of Water. And so the elements help us refine our understanding of this simple flux of Qi through Yin and Yang. With this knowledge, while adapting to the seasons around us (each of the 5 elements has its own season where dominant) we can truly flow with exuberant health.
In Taoist healing systems, superior health is experienced when the body is freely connected to the Earth (nature, elements) and Heavens (the flow of the Universe/atmosphere).
The body is seen as a bridge between the Heavens and the Earth. In order to maintain this connection between the Earth (Yin) and the Heavens (Yang) so that YinYang balance may be maintained in the macro, we must maintain a balance of YinYang within our body; as above, so below. Tonic herbalism is a primary traditional practice to support this lifelong endeavour.
The YinYang nature of our body and Universe is the foundation on which Tonic Herbalism and Chinese medicine are built. Everything has a YinYang quality, and each herb has a YinYang classification. The 12 meridians (channels through which energy flows) of the body are specifically where the Qi energy flows, and how Heaven and Earth stay connected. When these channels are congested or weak, we see illness and pain emerging.
Tonic herbalism assists the body in maintaining a smooth flow of Qi through the meridians.
Yin Yang & You
Think about your own balance between YinYang being one very long song and dance that lasts your whole life. During this dance you require times of Yin where we are cooling down, slowing down, accumulating energy and strength for the future, and these times are hauntingly beautiful in their defending energy, and other times the dance requires Yang, fast pace, expression, usage of lots of energy in order to create something of magnitude and of manifestation energy.
Tip too far in either direction and you’ll pull the curtain sooner on this lifelong performance. Ignore the dark side of Yin or the brightness of Yang, and your life will become dull and lacking vibrancy, as it is the friction and union of both that makes our hearts shine.
The health of an individual can be understood as their capacity to transform energy from Yin, to Yang, and from Yang to Yin in a manner that is smooth and graceful. Qi has YinYang expressions at different times and flows through the body in a consistent state of flow and flux. When the flow and innate wisdom of Qi is stagnant and weak, then we see lustre exit the body and expression of spirit, and disease, pain and degeneration rise.
This dance between Yin and Yang is life.
The harmonious flow between the two is where flow and health emerge. In harmony, we are free to live in a way where we can experience life to its fullest while evolving ourselves. To dive deeper into how you can further apply this understanding to your own life and tonic herb practice, read our article 'The Two Sides of Tonic Herbalism: The Herbs To Build or Replenish'.
The map for following the flow of YinYang lies highly in the natural world around us, which we try with all our might to ignore in the Western world.