Longevity Yoga originated in Ancient China, where a Taoist system of yoga was practiced as a way to prepare the mind and body for Taoist meditation. Longevity Yoga focuses on developing and maintaining an awareness of the flow of breath and chi in the body – with this awareness the practitioner uses simple postures and breathing techniques to release blockages and strengthen the flow of chi in the body.
Many yoga practitioners are familiar with stretching to relax – in Longevity Yoga, the focus is on relaxing in order to stretch, releasing internally before moving externally, relaxing from the inside out. The emphasis for the practitioner is on how to position herself to clearly connect and work with the flow of breath and chi in the body, rather than how far the physical body stretches.
The postures used in Longevity Yoga emphasize internal opening, and do not necessarily require a high level of flexibility. This practice is an excellent compliment to other meditation, yoga and movement arts, as it offers the opportunity to deepen and expand the felt sense of these arts. Our classes explore the sitting postures of this Taoist yoga practice and basic Longevity Breathing (Taoist breathing) techniques. These tools help practitioners to cultivate internal awareness – feeling, releasing, relaxing – deep inside the body.
This soft but powerful ancient Chinese art form translates usefully in today’s world as a method for reducing stress and physical tension, and creating a profound sense of calm and stillness in the mind and body.