Dao Yin (導引), which literally means “guiding and stretching”, is an ancient Daoist art of work with the body, aiming to emancipate it, eliminate deep suppressions and, as a consequence, to gain flexibility and mobility. Involving deep inner work with energy and consciousness, Dao Yin exercises also allow one to withdraw and get rid of everything harmful and bad in the body, activate and balance the circulation of energy, open the energy channels and elaborate “gates”, cultivate virtuous qualities, and learn to deeply feel connection with natural forces.
Dao Yin can make the body more powerful and flexible, improve blood ablution in the internal organs and the nutrients’ delivery to them, and teach you to feel your body. Considerable attention is paid to work with spine, allowing to correct the body structure and open hip, knee and ankle joints, which prepares a person to sit in meditation in a lotus position. However, notwithstanding an active work with the body during exercises, the main role of Dao Yin is to work with energy that is directed to balance Yin and Yang, enhance the overall energy potential, and also to cultivate virtuous qualities of a human soul, without which talking about spiritual development is impossible.
In Dao Yin, one should not seek to acquire superflexibility and mobility of joints and ligaments, as it is not mandatory here. Most of the movements are performed smoothly and seamlessly, allowing to relax your mind and body and harmonize the energy moving. In general, Dao Yin is a very extensional category and it has a different exercises, done in sitting, standing, and prone positions. And the inner work of these exercises can also be multifaceted. There are Dao Yin exercises the target of which is only to tense and emancipate the body and maintain health, as well as there are “higher section” Dao Yin exercises that focuse on spiritual work.
A lot of attention in practice of Dao Yin is paid to interaction between internal and external Qi, synchronization of three dantian, and natural forces such as Heaven and Earth, Sun and Moon. It is very important that from the very first to the last exercise in the complex, formation and maintenance of internal intention of the Spirit (Shen), which is directed toward the Dao, to the comprehension of the Supreme Primordial, is present.
This allows one to guide the practice of spiritual development and cultivation of virtuous qualities during exercise Dao Yin and to dissolve the ego.