Taoism and Qigong for Longevity
2500 years ago Tao Teh Ching captured in words the ancient wisdoms on the power of the ‘Way’ on life and living. Tao means ‘Way’, teh means ‘Power’ and ching means ‘Book’. The title translates fully as “The Classic Book of the Way and Its Power’.
Taoism believes that the best way to survive and live long is to live in harmony with the great natural forces that formed us as well as our environment. To go against the Way is akin to swimming upstream against the current where sooner or later you will exhaust your energy. The Way focuses on building, wisely using, protecting and restoring the our energy within. Taoism teaches how to achieve a supreme state of being which can be reached only through the greatest personal effort and self-discipline. The Way equates physical and mental health and holds that only a strong and healthy body can house a strong and healthy spirit. Health and Longevity are strong focuses of Tao.
Tao recognizes the Yin and Yang as negative and positive poles in the vast electromagnetic field that creates the ceaseless motion and ebb and flow of the universe.
Tao also teaches that our balance, energy and Longevity are maintained by understanding and balancing the ‘Three Treasures’of life. The Three Treasures of life are: (i) Jing the Essence of Life, (ii) Qi the Energy of Life, and (iii) Shenthe Spirit of Life. They comprise the three fundamental levels of existence for all living beings: Physical, Energetic and Mental. The Way regards the Three Treasures as precious gifts that we are conceived and born with. It is the Three Treasures relative strength and balance that determines human health and Longevity.
Jing, the Essence of Life, comes in three forms. First is blood-essence, which includes all the vital elements carried in the bloodstream such as red and white blood cells and the nutrients absorbed in the small intestine. The second is hormone-essence which comes in two-forms: life-essence and semen-essence. Hormone-essence includes all the vital hormones which master regulation for growth, metabolism, sexuality, immunity, and aging. The third are the heavy bodily fluids such as lymph and lubricants. Blood, sexual hormones and the lubricating fluids are a significant source of immunity.
Energy and Essence are intimately related. Qi is the general of the blood. If Qi moves, then blood moves. Since blood follows breath, correct Breathing controls and enhances circulation. Correct breathing and enhanced circulation is a basic objective of Tao breathing exercises.
Qi, the Energy of Life, literally means breath and energy. Qi also includes the primordial energy (Yuan-Qi) which is the original burst of energy that occurs at conception that breathes life into the womb. Yuan-Qi is like the potential energy stored in a battery. It begins to dissipate at birth. The rate of dissipation determines one Longevity. Our life’s batteries are enhanced and tonified through diet, proper breathing, regulate sex, exercise, meditation and philosophy aimed at recharging our primordial batteries.
Yang-Qi is the vital energy in its volatile, kinetic and active form. It is the type of energy that builds in the body during the excitement of sexual intercourse. It is associated with warmth, light and motion. Yang energy is like an internal electric current that is absorbed directly from the atmosphere when breathing.
Shen, the Spirit of Life, encompasses all of our mental faculties. Taoism distinguishes four major aspects of spirit: (i) the human soul, associated with Yang and Heaven, (ii) the animal soul, associated with Yin and Earth, (iii) thought and awareness, and (iv) intent and will power. The Way regards the Spirit as the flowering blossom of the Taoist Trinity, with Essence serving as the roots and Energy as the connecting stem. Well nourished roots planted in fertile soil generate strong stems and beautiful flowers.
The Way has developed exercises and diets which incorporate Tao principles all designed to extend life.
Qigong is the traditional Tao movement, exercise and breathing practices that involve working with Qi or Energy that help build awareness and focus on energy centers within the body. Qigong is practiced to reduce stress, maintain health, as a therapeutic intervention, as a spiritual pathway and as a component of the martial arts. Qigong is breath and energy work.
A Qigong objective is to nurture life by keeping oneself as fluid and flexible as possible. Regular exercise keeps the body fluid and flexible, helps maintain a high level of metabolism and extends life. Leaning from nature, moving water is never stagnate and a busy door with active hinges never rust.
Qigong movement focuses on natural rhythms where balance and moderation are key premises. Taoist exercises loosen, stretch and relax the body. Taoist regimens focus on collecting and storing energy and leave one feeling refreshed.
Qigong exercises are essentially aerobic with a focus on breathing patterns. The exercises of the Way benefit the cardio vascular system and oxygenate the bloodstream. These exercises also focus on using the diaphragm which helps stimulate the vital organs and relieves some load off the heart.
Qigong exercises are also intended to have the effect of rebalance the system and expel negative energy.<-- back to top