If you suffer from sciatica, you know it can be extremely painful! When that intense burning sensation shoots from your lower back down your leg, you probably want a treatment that is both immediate and effective.
There is a vast variety of remedies that people try, but most of them aren’t solutions that you can turn to when you’re in the middle of your workday. Physical therapy and massage certainly have their place, but it’s important to have tools that are available during the times that relief is most urgent.
Tao Yin is an ancient practice that combines the stretching qualities of yoga with the flowing movements of Qi Gong. Although it’s not widely known in the west, it’s a deeply nourishing practice that can be used to address many different ailments, including sciatica.
Scroll down the page to go directly to the one-minute sciatica pain relief Tao Yin exercise.
A Brief History of Tao Yin
Lee Holden has been practicing and teaching Tao Yin for about thirty years. He is well versed in the various stretches and movements that affect each part of the body and loves to share his knowledge with others.
Tao Yin is one of the oldest forms of Qi Gong and is the common ancestor of modern-day Qi Gong and Yoga. Both are based on the principles of this ancient practice and embody different aspects of its nourishing qualities.
The easiest way to describe Tao Yin is, “it combines the flow of Qi Gong with the stretchiness of yoga.” However, since Tao Yin came first, it really isn’t “combining” anything. Rather, Qi Gong and Yoga each borrowed those qualities from Tao Yin to develop separate but similar practices.
Tao Yin is based on the understanding that there are pathways of energy that circulate Qi throughout the body. These pathways are called meridians. Within each person, there are numerous meridians and each is important for different areas of the body. Together, they help to maintain balance and harmony throughout the mind, body, and spirit.
Unfortunately, blockages can occur in these meridian pathways, which can be reflected in many ways. Emotionally, blockages can prevent us from truly connecting with our feelings or processing certain experiences. Mentally, blockages can keep us trapped in negative, repetitive thinking that inhibits our ability to overcome limiting beliefs. Physically, blockages can lead to health challenges or significant pain.
Tao Yin works with the body’s natural energy system as well as the physical form to help ensure a healthy and steady flow of energy throughout the body. Like Qi Gong, it helps to remove blockages in meridian pathways and increase the circulation of Qi. This process affects all parts of our being.
A significant element of Tao Yin is stretching. The gentle stretching movements in the practice help to release tightness and tension that can become trapped in the muscles, joints, tendons, and even nervous system.
A Self-Empowered Approach to Pain Relief
Unlike steroid injections, surgery, or other invasive procedures, Tao Yin doesn’t carry any risks of adverse effects on the body. Also, unlike most treatments, Tao Yin isn’t something that a doctor or massage therapist needs to administer to you. It’s something that you can enjoy all by yourself whenever you want.
Having a practice that you can use to address your own health challenges and cultivate wellbeing creates a deep sense of personal empowerment. Instead of constantly needing to turn to others for health answers, you can finally have an active role in your own medical care.
Using personal practices such as Tao Yin for your own well-being is both highly practical and deeply fulfilling. In western medicine, the emphasis of most healthcare approaches is to apply short-term solutions, often at the expense of long-term health and sustainability. Western medicine certainly has its place, but it’s also important to do whatever we can to be our own healer.
Most people aren’t going to run to their doctor in the middle of their workday when they experience sciatica, but they might spend a few minutes doing a brief exercise if it’s available to them.
In addition to the practical benefits of cultivating your own skillset for personal wellbeing, there’s something energetically powerful about taking an active role in your own health care.
In western medicine, there’s often a subconscious message communicated that tells individuals that they don’t really have much power in matters of health. Yes, some western doctors will talk about the value of exercise and a healthy diet, but there isn’t much dialogue beyond those two areas, and many doctors won’t even pay much attention to those subjects. In fact, diet and exercise are barely discussed in medical school, so why would we expect our doctors to teach us what we should do to take care of ourselves?
There is a prevailing message that tells patients that our state of health is primarily something that is beyond our control. If we feel sick or are in pain, our only option is to turn to someone else who supposedly holds the keys to our wellbeing.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many of the most powerful tools for health and wellness lie within the individual. In an ideal “system,” doctors would work with patients to develop health strategies, and not just work on patients.
Sciatica is one ailment that individuals can truly take an active role in addressing, in many cases. The following Tao Yin exercise uses gentle stretching movements and meridian theory to address the source of sciatica pain.