Health does not only encompass one’s physical appearance. It also involves their internal physiological systems, emotions, intuition and connections with the world around them.

People mainly focus on health through muscular exercise. But it is important to take time to pause, listen and understand the connection that exists between the various entities of the body.

In addition, many people are prone to build ups of stress, which can lead to health consequences. If you practice mindfulness through meditation, your overall health will greatly benefit. 

Here are five Chinese meditations to better yourself.

  1. 1 Dao Yin

    Dao Yin or Tao Yin is a practice dating back to 2146 B.C. It progressed during the Qin and Han Dynasties.

    The ideology behind this Taoist practice is to embrace one’s qi – the yin and yang in the body and mind.

    The practice is not strenuous but takes focus. It integrates the body through breathing, emotional regulation and focus. The relationship between the mind and body is important. If the mind relaxes, it can help the body relax.

    The breathing practices associated with Dao Yin help to increase the flow of qi through the blood. This flow helps flush out toxins and nourish the various physiological systems.

    Scientists have studied the persistent practice of Dao Yin and the findings proved very beneficial. The meditative practice improves immune function, counteracts stress and boosts overall well-being.

    Taoist breathing technique

  2. 2 Nei Dan

    Nei Dan was a Taoist practice prevalent during the Tang and Song Dynasties. This form focuses on physical, mental and spiritual practices to prolong life.

    The ideology encompasses three main components: 精 (jīng, essence), 氣 (qì, energy) and 神 (shén, spirit).

    精 or essence is representative of the energies of the physical body.

    氣 or energy is representative of the natural energy of the universe.

    神 or spirit is representative of the original spirit of the body.

    The practices in Nei Dan are similar to that of Dao Yin. It also focuses on muscular breathing techniques and following the breath as it travels to all spaces in the body.

    Nei Dan breath training

    More can be found here.

  3. 3 Nei Gong

    Nei Gong is a form of Chinese martial art that began in Taoist culture. It is a sister practice to Tai Chi.

    It encompasses breathing techniques, postural positions and structural alignments.

    The purpose of the practice is to notice the changes in the body as you breathe and perform the various physical tasks.

    Each breath and movement is deliberate. Nei Gong allows the integration of the body and mind to enhance.

    If one’s connection between the body and mind improves, it can heal and later prevent internal and external health conditions.

  4. 4 Qi Gong

    Qi Gong is seen in different elements of Chinese history and culture. Traditional medicine uses Qi Gong for preventative and curative reasons.

    Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism also practice Qi Gong to promote longevity.

    Qi Gong combines the practices of Nei Dan, Dao Yin and Zhan Zhuang. Thus, it can be practiced in many forms – meditation, static and dynamic.

    It also combines external elements such as herbs, massage and guided non-contact flow of qi.

    The wide variety of practices in Qi Gong allows it to be variable for each individual. Whether you would like to meditate, relax, exercise or self-cultivate, you can find a way to implement Qi Gong.

    This form of Qi Gong is often used to release tension in the muscles, open joints and align the physical and spiritual body.

  5. 5 Zhan Zhuang

    Zhan Zhuang is also from Daoist culture. Unlike the other practices mentioned, this meditation form is only practiced standing.

    It is a simple but powerful practice with a goal to cultivate energy, strength and mental clarity.

    If you are looking for an easy practice to begin your meditation journey, Zhan Zhuang is the one for you.

    Through standing practice, the body’s posture improves, which directly relates to one’s physical energy. The correction of the body allows qi to flow more openly in the body’s pathways.

    Scientific findings have stated that Zhan Zhuang increases red blood cells, oxygen levels, sleep and cerebral cortex activity.

    This physiological release also releases the mind creating greater external and internal awareness.

    Zhan Zhuang is a prevalent practice around the world. It not only is incorporated in formal meditative practices, but often begins or concludes exercise classes.

    It teaches us to integrate the mind and the body, rather than think of them as two separate entities.

    These five meditations are just some of the ways you can integrate mindfulness into your daily life. While they may seem simple, they take focus and consistent practice.

    People are so used to constantly moving; it can be much harder to sit and quiet the mind than you may think. I encourage you to start with five to 10 minutes of practice and see where it takes you.

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Caroline Liekweg
Caroline is a writing intern from the University of Southern California, majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Chinese for the Professions. She hopes to use her writing to address and understand cultural connections between China and Western countries.
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