In historical ink paintings one can observe free, unpainted areas. In these free areas, the chi of earth and sky moves up and down, yin and yang, called the breath of the dragon. Through intense stretching, space is created in the body with subsequent relaxation. The chi flowing into these 'free-stretched' areas represents the breath of the dragon, the balancing of yin and yang. In Tao Yin we can experience this harmonization in our body. Along with the physical body, the meridians are also stretched, and in relaxation, congestion of chi flow caused by emotions can flow away.
The strongest meridian in the spine - Chong Mai - is essentially dominated by the psoas muscle. In classical Chinese medicine, the psoas is not without reason called the "soul muscle". It is not surprising that Tao Yin emphasizes working with the spine and psoas. If one follows the preventive Tao Yin path through the body, stabilization, gradual improvement and the absence of deterioration can be expected.
Tao Yin takes a very different approach than conventional body training. It is a remarkably subtle discipline that connects the mind with the movement of the body, directing the practitioner's attention inward rather than outward. In the Western world, fitness has more to do with the physical training of muscles and circulation. But as we can learn from the ancient Taoists, fitness is only a small part of a comprehensive health program. The essential goal of Tao Yin is to create in harmony in a combination of strength, flexibility and inner energy.
Improved physical alignment centers your spine and causes the opening of chi flow in the meridians. Experience the exercises such as the "Love Ritual of the Cobra" or "The Dragon Stretches His Tail" as a kind of poetry in motion.
The Tao Yin exercises work into all the tendons from the fingertips, arms, neck and shoulder blades through the entire spine and lower back to the legs and feet, creating a connection to a "seamless" tendon. This releases tension and blockages and creates a calm, soothing and energizing blossoming of chi.
All Tao Yin exercises are performed either lying down or sitting.
Tao Yin means "to direct and guide the chi," but generally does not mean that we consciously direct energy through the meridians (the energy channels of the body) during the active phases of the exercises. If the exercises are done correctly, the flow of chi in the meridians will open by itself during the passive resting phase.
It is not necessary to acquire prior knowledge of the meridians to benefit from these exercises.