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9 Secret Taoist Practices To Look And Feel Younger

Written by: Michael Hetherington, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Taoist yoga was developed by Chinese hermits who lived in the mountains and observed nature and the animal kingdom for thousands of years. They learned that working in alignment with nature and adhering to the seasons and the cycles was the most intelligent and wisest way to live. Those who pushed against nature or ignored the seasons and the cycles were found to become sickly, old, and frail more quickly. You can burn all your energy trying to swim against the current, or you can let go and let the current take you effortlessly. Letting go in this way is often referred to as the “Tao,” which means "the path".

Many Taoist yoga practitioners who practised and followed these natural principles lived well over 100 years old while maintaining agile and healthy bodies.

1. Ageing Begins in Your Feet

There is a Taoist saying, “Ageing begins in the feet.” This is because many of the important energy channels (meridians) run up the feet, including the kidneys, the liver, the stomach and the bladder. When we keep our feet cramped up in shoes all day and night, they don't have any real contact with the earth and are unable to nourish the meridians.

Therefore, to help your feet become healthier and more youthful, be sure to take off your shoes whenever you can (especially in your house). The flat concrete floors that we walk on these days have also led to many of the tiny muscles in our feet becoming weak and deactivated. Therefore, walking barefoot on uneven surfaces will also help the feet become healthier and more alive.

Take time out to rub them (before bed is a great time) and get foot massages. Qi Gong, martial arts and yoga also help dramatically because they are done barefoot and help train the feet to become dynamic, and will dramatically improve your balance.

2. Smile at Your Body

I often joke that Taoism is 10% philosophy, yoga, breathing, diet, and lifestyle and 90% smiling at your organs and your body. This is called the “Inner Smile” and is a very important part of Taoist practice. When you smile at anything, what tends to happen? It smiles back.

Most people are internally frowning, yelling and fighting their bodies. There are many reasons why this could be—from pain in the body to the body not working the way they want it to. In many cases, people are also fighting their bodies because there is a build-up of guilt, shame or frustration towards themselves and towards their bodies. When we fight with our body or internally frown at it all day long, what do you think will happen? It will become unhappy, break down faster, and the healing process will be stunted.

Therefore, every day, find a little time to simply relax, sit and smile at your body and your organs.

3. Rub Your Face in the “Correct Direction” for a Healthier-looking Face

If you follow the meridians on your face, it will not only support the overall health of your body, it will help improve the colour and skin on your face, and help it to become more alive.

The correct way to “rub the face” is to draw your hands down the middle of the face and on either side of the nose to the chin, then out along the jaw to the ears and then up the side of the head. Repeat this movement in a circular motion.

If you want to do the whole body, you can actually slide and brush your hands in the same direction as the energy lines (meridians) on your arms, legs and belly area. For the arms, the lines go down the outside of the arm and up the inside. For the legs, the lines go down the outside and up the inside, and for the belly, you can do 32 circles in both directions with both hands. If you want to find out more, I have free videos available on my website that will show you how to do this.

4. Shower in Cold Water

Having many hot water showers is not great for the skin or the body because the body has not evolved with it. The body evolved from experiencing lots of cold water in the past in all its different forms. The body, therefore, is very adaptable to it and it helps to “wake up” a lot of the tissues and functions inside the body. It's okay to have a hot shower, but always try to end with a blast of cold.

Another option is to simply have “room temperature” cold showers, meaning they don't have to be icy cold. A cool shower will also offer similar benefits and it will also help you sleep better.

5. Qi Gong or Yoga at Sunset (6:30pm)

Taoism is very focused on the natural world and the various cycles in the environment. They discovered that if they did certain activities at certain times of the day, they would receive more energy and support from the atmosphere.

Sunset is a very important time (around 6:30 pm) because it's the transition from day to night, from yang to yin. At this time, there is a “window” where the energy in the atmosphere is balanced. If you do a Qi Gong or yoga practice at this time, you will receive ten times more benefits, and it will also help you clean away the day and make you ready for the night.

This principle also applies to sunrise (6:30 am), full moons and equinoxes. At these times, there is simply more balanced Qi in the atmosphere, and this will offer you more power and benefits if you practice during these times.

6. Less Food Generally Means a Longer Life

Yoga practitioners discovered that their meditations and their overall system tended to work better when the stomach was empty. It takes on average 4 hours for the stomach to empty itself from your last meal.

Therefore, you need another 2-3 hours of it being empty so your brain and energy can function at a higher level. This means eating with at least a 6-hour gap is recommended. We have been told to eat 3 meals a day or to eat every 4 hours, which is a modern-day concept. However, according to yoga, is not recommended unless you are involved in some kind of intense physical labour or training and require the extra calorie intake.

Also, when you are engaged in regular yoga practice and proper breathing methods, you gain energy from these other sources and therefore are less dependent on food as the only energy source.

A lot of new anti-ageing science has also come out recently saying that 2 meals a day is considered healthier and can likely extend your life by 30%. Whatever you decide to do, be sure to speak with your health professional and observe what works for you.

7. Simplicity Will Save You Energy

As we become adults, we tend to accumulate. We accumulate possessions, knowledge, beliefs, people, ideas, ideologies, degrees, memories, pictures and many other things. This constant accumulation requires constant management and attention which actually takes up a lot of psychological and emotional energy. It makes life complicated, and it makes it difficult to move quickly or make decisions quickly.

We are not what we GET in this world; it’s who we ARE. It's our values, our relationships and our intentions that matter most.

Therefore, it's a good practice to ruthlessly and continuously throw away the non-essentials and learn to live with those things that are truly important for you.

Have you ever gone away on a trip with a small bag of stuff and then when you returned you realised how much stuff you had at home and you had completely forgotten you had or needed it! Simplify your life. It will save you a ton of time and energy!

8. Speak Fewer Words

One of my teachers said once that most humans these days are suffering from verbal diarrhoea. Many of us speak a lot of words, and when we really look at it, the words we use tend to be quite superficial, unnecessary and full of filler. This incessant talking drains our energy unnecessarily.

See if you can use half the words you use now, yet say the same thing. Also, it’s a good idea to have “silent” days every now and then, which means, no talking from morning to the next morning. This practice will help to save and regenerate our energy, and it also helps in time to quiet the mind.

9. Breathing Properly Will Clean Your Skin

In Chinese medicine, the skin expresses the overall health of the lungs. Why? Because your lungs release more toxins than any other organ in your body. This means that if the lungs can’t release the toxins built up in the system, the toxins will move up through the tissues and come out of the skin. Often this presents as boils, acne, skin lesions and so on.

Therefore, if you want to really clean up your skin, engage in regular breathing practices that encourage deeper and fuller breathing; this will essentially clean out the entire body of toxins. Some breathing-specific practices include Wim Hof breathing (for a faster response), pranayama, Taoist belly breathing and any exercise in general (like running or dancing) that makes you sweat a little and breathe more deeply and efficiently.

There are many other practices and things you can do to slow down or even reverse the ageing process. If you employ just a few of these suggestions on a regular and consistant basis, you should feel and notice the difference in just a few days.

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Michael Hetherington, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Michael Hetherington is an anxiety-release expert with over 13 years of experience in the health and wellness industry. He holds a bachelor of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), a brown belt in Taekwondo, and postgraduate qualifications in education and counseling. Michael has been teaching and giving talks on energy medicine and traditional Chinese medicine around the world since 2012. Most people describe him as calm, knowledgable, and playful.



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