A Yin Practice
A great yin practice is called Taoist Yoga or Tao Yin. The Essence of Tao Yin, Practices for Rejuvenation, is Full Body Breathing. This is the first and perhaps the simplest practice in the 45- movement set of Tao Yin exercises. However, this simplicity should not fool one as to the depth inherent in this ‘preparatory’ practice. As is the case in life and the Tao, simple is enough. The entire essence of Tao Yin, and possibly the entire Healing Tao system, can be experienced during the practice of Full Body Breathing.
The practice begins by lying on our backs, with hands on the abdomen, sexual palace, or hips, (depending on our arm length) and breathing deep down into the lower centers of our body. As we flood awareness into these areas, we are activating the reproductive glands and inviting the muscles, tendons and ligaments to soften and relax. Additionally, we exhale our emotions and mental activity at this level, and allow them to sink down into the earth.
We follow this with an inhalation of the earth’s healing energy back into our hips, navel, and reproductive center. We may slowly move our hands up from the lower centers, one at a time, to our upper centers; in the order of: perineum, pubic bone, navel, solar plexus, heart, throat center, third eye, and crown. Our awareness follows our hands and initiates a process of rejuvenation that spreads throughout our body. The Taoists say that “the health of the spine is the health of the body.” Full Body Breathing brings awareness to each vertebra as we intentionally move from the perineum to the crown of our head.