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LifeStyle with Tai Chi and Qigong >> Tai Chi Qigong for Daily Life

Dragon Dao Yin, a Complement to Tai Chi and Qigong
by Sifu Gene Nelson, ATCQA Certified Tai Chi Master Instructor and Owner of Empire Tai Chi (  

In 2012, I had the very good fortune to be introduced to Laoshr (Teacher) Damo Mitchell, at which time I began training with him and his senior teaching team.  Training included Sung, Qigong and Dao Yin.  I have been training and teaching Tai Chi and Qigong for almost 30 years.  The impact of my association with Damo has helped me have a much greater connection to Qi energy from an experiential perspective and develop a higher level of consciousness (full body awareness).  Basically, I experienced a greater connection to my energetic body, which I realized was basically absent through previous training.

Dragon Dao Yin has certain unique qualities that differentiate them from the more common Qigong and Tai Chi forms.  Dragon Dao Yin places special emphasis on the energy of the spine.  Actually most training that refers to Dragon is quite connected to the spine. The spiral movements of the various Dragon Dao Yin exercises have the potential to be very effective in aiding the correction and realignment of the spinal vertebrae.  These exercises can rejuvenate the tissues, muscles and ligaments of the back and can restore flexibility and ease of movement.

The four sets of the Dragon Dao Yin I have trained in are Awakening the Dragon, Swimming Dragon, Soaring Dragon and Drunken Dragon.  Each has a complete & specific walking sequence. However, the components of each sequence can be practiced individually. 

There are 3 levels of training: Beginning, which concentrates on the individual components, Intermediate, which puts the individual sequences together into the Walk, and Advanced, which takes the student into comprehensive lower Dantien work including, but not limited to, the Microcosmic orbit, Merging of Kan and Li (often known as fire and water) and ultimately Nei Dan, to refine the quality of internal energy and support an exploration of one's state of consciousness.

For me, the immediate connection and effect on everything else I train with was the proper use and power of Yi (intent).  For many of the students  at my organization, Empire Tai Chi, traditional Tai Chi forms may become too Yang while Qigong may become too Yin, resulting in a loss of structure rather than just trying to totally relax the outer level of epidermis.  In addition, for many students, Yi (intent) is almost nonexistent.  This is an extension of being perpetually focused on gross memorization.

With Dragon Dao Yin training, the combination of specific physical movements, a dedicated breathing method and strong intent leading outside of the body provides an immediate experiential connection.  This combination not only places a special emphasis on intent, but rather strong intent.  This is one major difference between Dao Yin and Qigong & Tai Chi form.

Dragon Dao Yin purges and Qigong basically regulates. 

Think of a radiator where water circulation has been clogged by rust.  Ingredients can be added to the water to maintain circulation.  The rust will still be there but there will be adequate circulation.  This is Qigong.  Take that same radiator and purge all the rust out of the radiator.  This is Dragon Dao Yin.

Through very specific movements involving opening the myofascial pathways (stretching without tension) and opening the body's major energy gates, plus dedicated breathing and strong intent, stagnant Qi is moved out of the body.  Muscle and joint pain can be thought of as stagnant Qi building up in the joints, tendons and energy gates.  Each Dragon Dao Yin works specifically on various pathways but all work with twisting and energizing the spine.

Understanding (by experiencing) this highly internal but "more" yang practice has helped me understand the nature, purpose and benefits from more Yin practices like Qigong and Tai Chi form. Dao Yin has also shown me the purpose and practical application of Yi in all training. I should point out that with each Dao Yin set there are Qigong exercises to start and finish each set and all sets conclude with a traditional Closing Down.

I recently began teaching the first two levels of Dragon Dao Yin and this has become one of our most sort-after classes.  Dragon Dao Yin is often referred to as the original Daoist Yoga and as such, Yoga students really like the program, especially the walking component.

Damo Mitchell, who is based in Sweden, and his team of senior instructors from around Europe,   travel the world teaching workshops from 3 days to 2 weeks. I would urge you to visit where you can get a great introduction to his organization, offerings and worldwide schedule.




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