In Taoist culture there is a special eagerness to study meticulously the spiritual phenomena that are common to all humanity, and from tests and experiments has developed for millennia different types of systems to carefully observe environment, relationships, natural environment, and human body behavior and its interaction with universal energies.
The search for how to improve energy performance, life quality and health status has always been a major interest in the evolution of the human being and specifically in Taoist culture. With its long history and evolution, the way to improve this performance has been developed and modified over the centuries by the ancestors, due to its continuous research and practice.
Neidan is the term with which is known the Chinese alchemical tradition. It shares principles, notions and methods with Traditional Chinese Medicine and with ancestral practices such as meditation and "nourishing life" (Yangsheng). The goal of internal Alchemy or Neidan is to work with the energies that are already present in the human body instead of using natural substances, medicines or elixirs from outside the body.
The person who aspires to wisdom tries to create an inner emptiness, which actually serves to be filled and to reach fullness. Free from all distraction and from any impurity, the sage wants to fill this void with the Original Energy (Yuan Qi), which represents the true vital principle that in human beings is decaying from the moment we are born and is exhausted in the instant of our death. Ancient Taoists sought a way to stop aging, freeze time and return to a state of energetic fullness away from the inevitable deterioration of human life. If through Neidan practice we can recover energetic fullness, we will have in our hands an essential factor in the maintenance of global health, both mental and physical.
This is the end result of refining body structure in order to accumulate energy. This refers to the idea of being able to fill the body with a completely new and powerful vitality, the same one that we had when entering adolescence.
In order to do this, three great methods were used to recover the original vital energy (Yuan Qi) through alchemical techniques in different aspects:
TIAN DAN - Heaven Elixir. Special techniques of meditation, energy circulation, and special breathing techniques, different according to energy moment. Many styles of Qigong practiced today are derivations from Taoist methods of Heaven alchemy .
REN DAN - Alchemy with another person or "Sexual Alchemy", understanding that sexual relationship represents a very special energetic moment, where Yin (woman) and Yang (man) unite their polarities to create a complete energetic pole (Taiji). For this goal there are different techniques of ejaculation retention and menstruation reduction, as well as different techniques of procedure in the sexual act.
TI DAN - Earth Elixir. Each food provides, besides specific nutrients, a certain amount of energy that is polarized to be used by a particular organ, that produces a specific type of effect on the energy circulation. It is very important to balance colors, textures and food flavors to avoid excesses or deficiencies in some of them, since they could cause or aggravate some disease, unbalance the circulation of energy and disturbing the student's alchemical work.
Alchemical work can turn these energy systems into a high-powered inner way, helping us to increase the energy, vitality and overall body balance. Balance is the state of energy in which all vital organs function in harmony and essence, energy, and spirit are preserved and not exhausted. Energy forms a bridge between body and mind, and is the fulcrum that keeps the physiological and psychological functions in balance.
In short, Taoist inner cultivation is an invaluable help on the path to self-evolution, serving to enable the adept to analyze his own being and thus other beings, accelerating progress towards a more spiritual view of general understanding of the world .