Tao Yin: Ancient Chinese Yoga

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There are many forms of Qi Gong. All of them share their roots in Ancient China. One form goes back to the beginning of Qi Gong’s development—Tao Yin, sometimes known as Tao Yin Yoga or Tao Yin exercises.

In this article, we will discover: What is it? How to practice? The health benefits of this ancient Chinese yoga. And what does this practice looks like? Plus, where you can start to learn how to do it.

Origins of Tao Yin.

Tao Yin is the initial starting point of Qi Gong and the foundation from which all other forms emerged.

It was developed to foster the internal vital energy force, Qi. Translated into English, Tao Yin indicates “to assist and direct the vital principle, Qi, through body and mind.”

Evidence of Tao Yin was discovered in ancient wall paintings and artefacts. The practice centres around natural motions that assist in the body’s recovery. Many sequences mirror the movements of animals and nature, showing deep regard and reverence for the natural world. Taoist sages were constantly reflecting on the world around them, and Tao Yin is the practice that embodies their wisdom.

In addition to its significance in forming modern Qi Gong, Tao Yin is also a shared forefather of yoga. This ancient Chinese yoga was highly formative in the development of yoga and helped to incorporate both Chinese and Indian ancient knowledge into a powerful yogic moving sequential practice.

What is Qi Energy?

Qi energy is an electromagnetic vibration that flows in and around everyone. Every little thing carries its own energetic, vibrational force field called Qi. Notice how you feel when experiencing nature. After being outside, most of us feel joyous, lifted, connected, and changed. This sensation of harmony is from the energy your body has absorbed.

Qi energy can become blocked in our bodies due to sickness or diseases. Even things like stress, anxiety, and depression can cause blockages in the body. We must unblock or open the meridian channels for Qi to flow within us and restore vitality and a healthy balance to our bodies. Practices such as Tao Yin awaken healing energy through the tao. Even meditation and mindful practice can be used to restore the flow of Qi. 

How to Practice Tao Yin 

The origins of Qi Gong and Yoga are intertwined. Thus Tao Yin uses a lot of deep stretching exercises that look like modern-day yoga. However, this Chinese yoga focuses on the Qi meridian lines and brings attention to how energy is distributed within the body. By clearing lines of tension and maximizing stagnant energy, the practice helps to restore and cultivate health.


Also, breathing is a crucial element. Breathing relaxes the body and releases stress. Tao Yin sees the breath as a powerful tool. The breath taps into our feelings. Also, it welcomes a calm and relaxed state in the mind and body.


Flowing movements are used as an effective method to harness the grace and strength of the natural world. As practitioners, we use streaming motions to help us learn and reflect on the power of nature.


In Qi Gong, we frequently say, “Qi flows where the mind goes.” Mindfulness is an effective practice that helps us with the intent to guide and circulate our Qi. Acknowledging that the mind and body are one, These exercises utilizes the power of mindfulness to cultivate all parts of our being.


As human beings, touch is an essential sense. Touch and massage can profoundly affect our mind, body, and soul. A massage is something we think a practitioner does to a participant. The participant can self-massage, having the advantage of massage instantly available.

Additionally, our internal Qi energy operates in various ways, offering a holistic structure for working with Qi. This makes it an excellent way to return to the source of all Qi Gong practices.

What do Tao Yin Exercises look like? 

Exercises involve stretching, like traditional Indian yoga. However, it also contains flow and sequential movement practice. Unlike Indian yoga, the postures have movement linked to breathing, coordinating breathing with movement. Also, Tao Yin comprises four models centred around floor work and standing moves: standing poses, seated postures, lying face down and face up. 

6 Amazing Tao Yin Health Benefits

  • Strengthening the body’s core 
  • Flexibility in the body 
  • Open the Meridians for Qi energy to flow freely
  • Improves Balance 
  • Clear Mindset. Reliefs stress, tension and anxiety
  • Live longer, the longevity of the body and mind. 

Where to practice?

You can enquire at your local Qi Gong or Tai Chi centre or try it at home! Also, there are various Youtube videos, and the online Yoga website, Glo Yoga, offers an online 101 course.

To summarize 

To sum up, this ancient Chinese yoga originally formed Qi Gong as we know it today. Additionally, Tao Yin and Indian Yogic practice are connected. However, instead of fixed postures like the latter, Tao Yin uses flow and movement, synchronized with breathing and inspired by nature to help circulate and unblock Qi in the body. Promoting a healthy body, mind and soul.

Finally, go out and give it a try today!



Hi, I'm Michael. The creator and host of Catch a Sleep, a Blog and Youtube channel making wellness and mindful living content.

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