At WiseGEEK, we're committed to delivering accurate, trustworthy information. Our expert-authored content is rigorously fact-checked and sourced from credible authorities. Discover how we uphold the highest standards in providing you with reliable knowledge.
Tao Yin is a type of exercise intended to revitalize a person’s internal energy, which is also referred to as ch’i. It is based on Taoism, a traditional Chinese philosophy and religion. The exercises are used to create a sense of harmony involving the person’s mind, body, and spirit. They are also used to encourage flexibility and strength.
The idea behind Tao Yin exercises is that people who lived long ago were closer to nature. When people’s bodies emitted heat back then, the natural vegetation absorbed it. Today, people are not as close to nature and aren’t able to easily release heat into it. According to those who practice Tao Yin, the heat that should be released stays in the body, where it harms a person’s insides. This is said to result in a number of medical conditions.
Since most people cannot release their excess body heat into wooded areas, they may use Tao Yin to help them to do so instead. For example, a person may perform special exercises while sitting or lying down, resulting in the release of this extra heat as well as the stretching and revitalization of the muscles. These exercises may include a variety of postures as well as special breathing exercises. Meditation is also part of the process.
The moving and stretching exercises of Tao Yin are usually followed by a relaxed state in which breathing exercises guide internal energy to the parts of the body involved in the movement and stretching. This is the stage in which excess heat is supposed to be expelled. The moving and relaxed phases of the exercises are said to balance each other and work toward rejuvenating a person’s muscles, ligaments, and joints.
Those who practice Tao Yin say the exercises help release blocked energy within a person’s body. They are also said to help a person get rid of toxicity that has built up over an extended period of time. The physical movements are supposed to be guided by the mind. The movements are then supposed to aid a person’s internal energies in reaching various parts of his body.
Interestingly, the stretches are said to differ from other stretching exercises in a very important way. Regular stretches are said to focus on the stretching of a person’s muscles. Tao Yin, on the other hand, is said to stretch a person’s connective tissues as well. This may direct the exerciser’s internal energies through the connective tissues, correcting and preventing such problems as stiffness and weakness.
Tao Yin exercises are also said to help free blockages caused by toxins, which may be emotional or physical. The blockages are said to create imbalances that cause health problems. These exercises are said to encourage healing energy to move past the blockages and flow through the whole body.