Push far enough towards the Void,
Hold fast enough to Quietness,
And of the ten thousand things none but can be worked on by you.
As the first writings about yoga recommended, this gradual contact with the dynamics of chi is to learn how to make contact with self in a gentle, kind, and tolerant way. If a person does not gradually acquire a softer form of awareness, this type of approach should be left aside. I have already mentioned that the more fragile parts of a person should be protected from anxious forms of psychic intrusion.
Gymnastics for the Elderly
To slow down the aging process, the first Taoists took good care of their bodies, and probably made use of acupuncture. The fundamentals of aging wisely consist of conserving, for as long as possible, a large postural and respiratory repertoire. They also cultivated intelligence and memory to preserve the agility of their spirit. This search for longevity drove them to become obsessed about their health and their physique. Health care was not as publicly formalized as it is today and remained costly. It was wiser to seek prevention than a cure.
A large part of an apprenticeship consisted in living with a master and in trying to understand his attitude. These old masters accepted but a few students at a time22 and only became authoritarian during the period of Lie Tzu.23
The Old Twisted Trees of the Immortals
When the twisted tree at last shall be my body
Then I shall begin to live out my natural span.