Internal Martial Arts emphasize the 'soft' styles of training. Technique is rooted in relaxed movement and the opening of the internal circulation of qi.
Daoist practice revolves around the core idea of cultivating neidan, or internal alchemy, throughout ones mind and body. To do this one must practice the three treasures of Wu Ji (loosely translated as 'ultimate emptiness'): Qi, Jing, and Shen.
Qi, or Chi, is described as the natural energy of the universe. It is found in all things. Daoists work to create and maintain a positive flow of Qi through healthier lifestyles and practices like Qi Gong or Tai Ji. When a positive flow of Qi is cultivated the passage of this energy can easily move throughout the body, unblocked by barriers that otherwise can arise when Qi is in negative possession.
Jing, also known as Yuan Qi, is the essence of an individual. Jing is a form of energy that you are born with and, as time passes, you loss this 'pre-natal' energy. Through Daoist practices, qi gong, Tai Ji and living a healthier lifestyle it is believed that we can protect this energy and preserve it. With the preservation of this life energy, Daoists believe that we can approach a longer life, if not immortality itself.
Shen, the final treasure, is the spirit of the body. Most of the work done through the shen of an individual is unacknowledged because it is a subtle energy. This is the energy that each organ possesses based on their association to the five elements (fire, wood, water, metal, or earth). Through the practice of meditation, Daoists believe one can begin to be conscious and 'feel' their shen. When one is able to understand this energy, and a balance can be restored, ailments can be dispelled. Shen is also dependent on Qi and Jing. If the latter are in good order, then shen is sated and content as well.
When these three treasures, along with the concepts of yin and yang, can be cultivated and balanced, it is possible for one to attain a healthier mind, a stronger body, and longevity, which are the main goals that internal martial arts strive towards.
Internal styles such as Qigong, Tai Ji and Meditation, are the tools that have been used for centuries to attain these goals. They work as the 'soft' styles that slowly progress the body and mind into a more stable and receptive state of being. In time, the practices can open your body to correct circulation and relax your mind to balance emotion.