Chinese yoga is the ancient practice of combining movement with breath to improve a person's overall well-being as well as mind and body connections. This type of yoga practice focuses on relaxation, controlled breathing, and stretching and strengthening the body as a whole. It is also used to enhance and deepen the practitioner's spiritual practice and is an ideal accompaniment for seated and guided meditation routines. Though once only practiced in the Far East and Middle Eastern countries, Chinese yoga has become increasingly popular in Western cultures and is often offered in holistic health centers among other types of wellness clinics. It is also known as Taoist yoga, Dao In, and Dao Yin.
One of the many proposed benefits of Chinese yoga is its use as a relaxation tool. Many practitioners believe that the use of breath and gentle stretching exercises is incredibly useful in helping the body and mind to relax, allowing for self healing and improved health. It is not uncommon for Chinese medicine doctors to prescribe this therapy to their patients as part of their health care regime.
Breath control is another important aspect of Chinese yoga and is taught to enhance relaxation, teach the body the correct way to breath, and ensure all systems of the body are properly saturated with oxygen. As with the other elements of this yoga discipline, controlled breathing is also intended to move the energy of the body and enhance healing. Specific breathing exercises are also used as part of the meditation process.
Body development is another part of the Chinese yoga discipline. Different postures, similar to those found in traditional Indian Hatha yoga postures, are used to promote stretching and strengthening of the body. When used correctly and for the appropriate length of time, researchers have found that these exercises are ideal for creating long, lean, and powerful muscle groups. The postures are also considered a part of the meditation process, and the practitioner is asked to hold the position and attempt to reach a meditative state.
Another aspect of Chinese yoga focuses on the spiritual element of the practice. Especially for long term practitioners of Taoist yoga, in addition to meditation and healing, another purpose of Chinese yoga is to reach a higher level of understanding. This understanding is thought to have many facets, including a deeper connection to oneself, the practitioner's place in the universe, and the universe itself. With greater understanding, the person is believed to find enhanced peace and improve overall life experience.