Taoists have a lot of methods for increasing the amount of energy in the different systems of our body. Feeling an increase in vital energy is a refreshing experience if we’ve been fatigued, if we’re feeling the aging process is accelerating, or when we’ve been working too hard without proper rest and a nourishing diet. However, building energy alone is not the recommended path for spiritual progress. It’s like turning up the heat in winter with the windows open in your house.
Therefore, it is recommended to learn and practice conserving energy before balancing, transforming, or increasing energy. Conserving energy is similar to a new car battery that can hold its charge. The main ways in which energy leaks out or leaves the body are: through negative emotions, constantly turning the senses outward, day-dreaming in fake realities, through the reproductive organs, by too much mental activity, and through weak muscle tone in the diaphragms of the body.
The diaphragms of the body are made of fascia and hold the organs and energy in place. They function like the foundation and floors of a building. When the tissue of the diaphragms are not toned, the structure of the body sinks and sags, and energy leaks out of the body. The most common and well-known diaphragm of the body is the thoracic diaphragm, which moves up and down with the expansion of the lungs. The cranial diaphragm mobilizes the cerebral-spinal fluid and is related to the heart’s rhythm and breathing patterns. The cervical diaphragm relates to the first seven vertebrae and relates to the tongue and the scalene muscles of the neck. The pelvic diaphragm connects to the sacrum and pelvis and essentially holds everything above it in place. When it is loose, energy leaks out like water flows down a mountain stream.
If we don’t learn how to conserve energy in the systems of the body, what is the point of increasing our energy? The Taoist practices of iron shirt chi kung, Tao Yin/Taoist Yoga, and tai chi help strengthen and tone the body to conserve chi. These practices are explained in more detail in The Alchemist’s Tao Te Ching: Transforming Your Lead Into Gold.