I've written previously about the similarities between the Kabalah and Tantra. Part of that column discussed the idea that classical or traditional Tantra involves far more than the sexual aspects of Tantra—more accurately called Neo-Tantra—that are most frequently equated with Tantra in the West.
The term "Neo-Tantra" was coined by one of the most important instructors of the techniques, a man named Rajneesh (now known as Osho). In fact, many of today's best-known teachers of [Neo-] Tantra were either his students, trained by his students, or influenced by his writings or the writings of his students.
Perhaps most interestingly, Rajneesh was very eclectic and added concepts from other traditions to what he was teaching. This, combined with the somewhat tenuous links between Aleister Crowley's Western style of sex magick and Tantric sexuality, has resulted in many equating any sort of spiritualized sexuality with Tantra. As a result, "Tantra" has become a catchword to cover just about anything having to do with sexuality.
Like Traditional Tantra, Taoism is far more than just the few aspects of it that most Westerners know about. Although Tantric concepts entered China, the home of Taoism, thousands of years ago, Taoism or its roots were already part of Chinese culture. Thus, even though some people equate certain Taoist mystical concepts with Tantric ideas, they do not have the same sources. Certain forms of Taoism and Tantra are parallel, although they are not the same. Taoist spiritual sexual practices are not the same as those found in Tantra, but because they are parallel, it is easy to find similarities.
Taoism goes back to sources that are at least ten thousand-years old, about the same as the sources of Tantra. Its archetypal book, the Tao Te Ching (pronounced "dow day jing"), is attributed to the sage Lao Tzu, who supposedly lived around 600 B.C.E. Another important text of Taoism is the I Ching, attributed to the sage Fu Hsi. The version we have today is not the original, however. The original was reinterpreted and reordered by King Wen and his son Tan between 1143 and 1109 B.C.E. It is this version that is so popular today. Kung Fu Tzu (Westernized as "Confucius") is attributed as the author of a book analyzing the I Ching.
Part of Taoism is the set of practices known as Chi Gung (or Chi Kung). One of the best-known exercises of Chi Gung is the Microcosmic Orbit. This has many similarities to the Kabalistic exercise known as the Circulation of the Body of Light (fully explained in Modern Magick). There are also similarities between those two exercises and certain Tantric techniques practiced in Kundalini Yoga. While none of them are the same, they do have noticeable similarities.
Taoist yoga is actually most closely associated with alchemy. Although most people think of Western alchemy as only the transmutation of lead into gold, another important aspect of Western alchemy was the creation of the "elixir of life," a substance that would give youth, health, and extended life. Taoist alchemy's main purpose was to increase health, vitality, and longevity, along with the acquisition of certain magical powers. To achieve this, Taoist alchemists used a variety of methods including visualization, breathwork, and specific sexual techniques.
In today's eclectic spiritual world, where instantaneous communication is ubiquitous, there is no need to be a spiritual purist. If you can apply techniques to your personal spiritual path, by all means go ahead! The Taoist yoga tradition is rich with methods you can apply to your individual practices with powerful results. Unfortunately, most of the books on the subject are about Taoist yoga rather than presenting a training system for someone to follow.
Llewellyn has published a book that makes learning Taoist yoga practical. It was written by Eric Yudelove, who has been studying Taoism for over thirty-five years. He studied with Taoist Master Mantak Chia and serves as a Senior Instructor for him. In Taoist Yoga & Sexual Energy, Yudelove presents a system that can change your life in fourteen weeks. It covers healing secrets, Chi Gung, Taoist alchemy, and sexual Kung Fu. Mantak Chia writes,
"These longtime secret Taoist techniques are being presented openly to the West, where they cannot be suppressed by any oppressive government controls. Real Taoist practices are herein preserved by Master Eric, not censored and distorted versions resulting from the suppression of the Taoist teachings during the past thirty years."
The book features many breathing techniques previously kept secret, including hair breathing, reverse breathing, and bone marrow breathing. It reveals advanced practices of Chi Gung, including standing, sitting, lying, and moving forms.
Taoist Yoga & Sexual Energy reveals six special healing sounds. Each is associated with a body organ (or, more accurately, the functioning of that organ), and five of them are associated with a Taoist color and element—earth, fire, water, wood, and metal. These healing sounds are simple. They are: S-s-s-s-s-s-s-s-s, Ch-u-w-a-a-y, Sh-h-h-h-h-h, H-a-w-w-w-w, Wh-o-o-o-o, and H-e-e-e-e. The proper way to use them for healing yourself is clearly explained.
This book will help you improve your health, extend your life and even improve your sex life. The sooner you start on these programs the sooner you'll see changes.