Taoist Yoga Through the Ages

Recently I was visiting the Sackler Museum in Cambridge, MA and I came upon these beautiful sculptures…..in Longevity Breathing Yoga postures!  We know this style of  Chinese yoga has been around for thousands of years, and it’s exciting to see it depicted in this ancient artwork.

Sackler yoga pose 2

This first statue, “Kneeling Bodhisattva”, dates back to the late 7th century Tang dynasty. It is one of many statues found at the Mogao Caves in the southeast of the center of Dunhuang, an oasis strategically located at a religious and cultural crossroads on the Silk Road, in Gansu province, China, where  influences of Buddhist and Taoist cultures likely intersected. Here is a depiction of the kneeling with one leg up posture of the Longevity Breathing Yoga routine.


Sackler yoga pose 1 

The second statue, “Buddha Shakyamuni with Flaming Shoulders”, dates back to the Chinese Northern and Southern Dynasties period in the 3rd and 4th centuries. This figure is in the “forward folded” cross-legged seated position that we practice in the LB Yoga routine. It’s interesting to see the flames on the shoulders which represent the body heat associated with meditation,  according to the description under the statue. This is a familiar experience practicing Longevity Breathing Yoga as the combination of the breath and postures increase circulation.