The Dao Does… The Art of Yang Sheng “Nourishing Life”
What is “Yang Sheng”?
“Yang Sheng” is a practice that has its roots embedded in Daoist philosophy and traditional Chinese Medicine and is a means of self-cultivation that aims at supporting health and longevity. The direct translation of Yang means to support, to raise, to nourish, or to keep. Sheng means (giving) birth, life, or (being), when together; “Yang Sheng” means to ‘nourish life’; and that’s exactly what it aims to do; nourish and support one’s health and expand one’s lifespan through simple but powerful daily practices.
An old Chinese proverb states “Waiting to treat an illness after they manifest is like waiting to dig a well after one is thirsty” – These are the principles of health maintenance.
Conventional medicine has guided the healthcare system to a model of “disease prevention”; which focuses on the management of a disease once it has already arisen and aims to inhibit the progression of the illness; whereas the main philosophy of Yang Sheng in Chinese Medicine is “preventative medicine”, which aims to protect, promote and maintain optimal health before disease arises.
This is not to argue against the profound need we have for a ‘disease-based’ model of health care that is able to implement advances in pharmacology and technology to better manage and treat disease, but there is space to be held for traditional practices that urge us to tune into our bodies subtitle rhythms and implement simple but powerful daily practices to promote a long, healthy and harmonious life.
Chinese Medicine & Yang Sheng implement the 5000-year-old philosophies of Daoism, which means ‘The Way’. Daoist philosophy believed that the human body, mind & spirit were one with the universe and nature, thereby if one of these components were out of balance, conflict or disharmony would arise and disease or illness in the body could manifest.
‘Yang Sheng’ looks at balancing all aspects of the body, including the way in which we eat and what we eat and drink, the emotions we experience on a daily basis, the types of movements and exercises we do; all the way down to the way in which we breathe and protect our vital substances of Qi, Blood, Yin, and Yang. These practices aim to bring about more awareness of our daily habits to ensure live harmoniously, prevent illness, and ‘Nourish-our-Life’ to feel and live vibrantly to our fullest capacity.
This blog post and the subsequent posts over the consecutive weeks only skim the surface of some of the many practical ways to implement Yang Sheng into your life, there is a fabulous book written by Katie Brindle called; “Yang Sheng – The Art of Chinese Self-Healing”, that delves into greater depths about the practices of Yang Sheng and the fundamental principles of Chinese medicine; I urge all of you to read it.
By Clarice Berry