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.
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.
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
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
This is an extension of being perpetually focused on
Dao Yin training, the combination of specific physical movements, a dedicated
breathing method and strong intent leading outside of the body provides an
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.
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.
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.
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
LotusNeigong.org where you
can get a great introduction to his organization, offerings and worldwide