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Introduction of Yangsheng

Yangsheng refers to the improvement of health and prolonging of life through the proper ways of caring for and nurturing one's body and mind.

The Goal or Purpose of Yangsheng

The goal is to prolong life and enjoy good health. According to Dao De Jing (the representative book of Daoism), those who are good at yangsheng know how to avoid things that are harmful to the body and mind. They know how to gain health through the right diet and healthy lifestyle, meaning they can live longer and healthier than most people, as disease and ill health will not affect them.

When one is free of diseases, it is easy to delay aging and prolong life past the average lifespan. So the goal of yangsheng is to ward off disease, delay aging, prolong life, and ensure a healthy, happy, high-quality life.

Specific Measures of Yangsheng

The first, primary step is the cultivation of one's moral attitude, which is the prerequisite condition of health and longevity. Daoism has established many disciplines that emphasize virtues such as kindness, loyalty, love, friendliness, mercy, and sympathy, as well as attempts to help others, and influencing others through one's own actions. Such practices help benefit both the individual and the society, and those who practice them usually enjoy a happy, long life without having to consciously seek longevity.

The second method is to incorporate regular, consistent physical exercise into our lifestyle. Those who have diseases need to exercise to get better, while those who are free of diseases need to exercise for prevention, because physical exercise can strengthen the body, improve the mind, stimulate digestion, increase circulation, and build up the immunity.

The third measure is about mental, emotional, and psychological health.

Yangsheng requires us to foster a healthy mental and emotional stability that is free from mental extremes, psychological upheavals, and emotional outbursts. From the perspective of TCM, anger harms the liver, sorrow harms the lungs, and over-excitement harms the heart.

The forth measure of yangsheng is a healthy, balanced diet. For thousands of years, a healthy diet was considered as the crucial approach to longevity, and improper eating habits and an unbalanced diet was a source of most health problems.

Daoism have established a tradition of a basically vegetarian diet with simple, balanced flavors, without alcohol consumption or cigarette smoking. Grains, beans, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and fruits are fully nourishing for both the body and the mind.

Daoism recommends three meals a day, with moderation of eating at each meal, and no late night eating. It also advises people to eat only when hungry, drink only when thirsty, and be moderate with their intake. It believes excessive and indulgent eating habits are harmful to health.

The fifth step to health is prevention. Prevention is a major approach to health and longevity. With regular exercises, with the correct use of natural herbal remedies and food therapies, and other healthful practices, each person can achieve the goal of preventing diseases, thus prolonging his or her life.

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