Category Archives: qigong

The Breath Of The Enlightened Ones

When I was 15, I injured my back and my doctor told me I could never train again. I loved Shaolin Kung Fu so much that I didn’t listen to him and – even though I was in considerable pain – I went back to the Shaolin Temple and continued with my training. Nearly thirty years later, I’m still in love with Shaolin and I’m still training. I generally workout 3 hours a day and I teach 4 – 6 hours per day. That training and teaching takes a lot of energy! The only reason I can sustain it is because of Qigong.

Don’t tell anyone but Qigong is not my favorite workout. I much prefer Sanshou and Kung Fu. But I like the benefit and the feeling of calm afterwards. At the Shaolin Temple, the aim of Qigong is to make our body become its own doctor. But what does that actually mean? The body is constantly regulating itself. Ever tried to loose weight and found it hard? That’s because even our body fat – frustratingly for us – regulates itself. Eat less and our metabolism slows down to compensate. The aim of Qigong is to create a more harmonious regulation of the body. Stress – one of the major causes of illness and also belly fat through the production of cortisol – melts away, breathing is calmed, and the body’s automatic wisdom takes over.

The 8 Treasures Qigong is possibly the most famous Qigong in the world. Once the Qigong moved out of the temple – like Chinese whispers – other variations were taught. I can’t testify to the effectiveness of these. The one that I refer to in this article is the original Shaolin Temple 8 Treasures Qigong.

The founder of Zen, Bodhidharma (Damo) created this Qigong because the monks were suffering from the same problems we suffer from today. They were sitting for long periods of time and this was weakening their body. Of course, they weren’t sitting in offices in front of computers. They were sitting in temples in meditation in their quest to gain enlightenment.  A Shaolin Monk took 8 of the most effective movements from the longer Qigong that Damo created for the Shaolin monks and called it The 8 Treasures. It’s also called 8 Brocades or Ba Buan Jin.

Using my book and the DVD together means that you can see the movement and you can also read a break down of the movement so you can learn it effectively. I’ve had many students who trained with my book and DVD and then came to me for a private session to check it they’re practicing correctly. This gives me an opportunity to see if the book and DVD are an effective teaching method and I’m pleased to say they are because my student’s training is correct.

It’s no different than following a recipe (my students tell me, I’ve never read a cookery book in my life). As long as you follow the instructions, you can learn from my book and DVD very effectively.

The biggest challenge in learning from home is not whether you’re doing it correctly but staying motivated. Can you imagine not drinking coffee? Or brushing your teeth? Or taking your clothes off before you go to bed? This is because all of these things are a habit for you.

Will power runs out but habit lasts a lifetime. The beauty of the 8 movements is that they can be broken down so if you only have 5 minutes then do 5 minutes. Do them at the same time and on the same day every week. Your body will crave your Qigong practice as if it’s the most delicious food you’ve ever tasted. Delicious food releases endorphins in our body – which is one of the reasons many people eat when they’re stressed. Qigong releases endorphins too! So next time you feel stressed, rather than reaching for that piece of chocolate cake – do Qigong!

The Instant Health Massage is an integral part of the practice but if you don’t have time to do it after your Qigong practice, do it after your bath or shower either in the evening or the morning. It’s also great to do after your workout. Focus on the muscles that are tight and the parts of your body that feels tender. These are meridian blockages and you can massage them for longer.

But how do you know if you’re doing the Qigong Workout correctly? Your face will look younger, your eyes will be brighter, your skin will glow, you will feel grounded and calmer throughout the day, your tipping point for stress will be much lower, and you will have more energy. If this isn’t happening then email me for advice.

If you have a recurring or nagging injury, back ache, high blood pressure, pre-menstrual tension, menopausal problems, injuries, high and low blood pressure, the 8 Treasures Qigong may help. But how can it help with all of these numerous problems? Because it taps into the body’s automatic wisdom and realigns the body so it works at its optimal level.

Please share this article and share your experience of Qigong in the comments below. And if you haven’t tried Qigong yet, then click here for your complete 8 Treasures Qigong package which includes everything you need to start your Qigong journey today.

Create The Life You Want: 4 Easy Steps From The Shaolin Temple Of Zen

horse stance-00021

I’ve just come back from teaching the Shaolin Summer Camp in China. My sisters were there to help with the cooking, my three year old daughter and my wife were there, and my students – for that time – were also part of my family.By creating a safe family environment, it took away all feeling of competition. This is really important. Especially if you want to win. The great basketball coach, John Wooden, never talked about winning. he talked about his players being the best they could be, both off and on the pitch.

P1010899Once my students were there, they had no choice. Too much choice makes us unhappy. It’s been proven by scientists. This is why Buddhist disciples and monks take precepts. Having too much choice makes the mind busy and then it doesn’t focus on the things that are important.

We started every day with a run up the mountain. Some students said they couldn’t do it but I told them they could. By the end of 4 weeks, no one questioned running up the mountain. They ran and their stamina had increased dramatically.

We trained in traditional Shaolin forms, Qigong, fighting, and stamina. No one can be good at all of these exercises but when the body is training three times a day, it’s good to vary the workouts. But the real training was the training of the mind. I hope that what everyone brought home with them was the greatest Shaolin teaching of all.

IMG_0767

If you really want to do something you can. You can create the life you want. 

It just takes 4 easy steps:

1) Give yourself the right environment – that doesn’t mean you have to move your body but move your mind so it’s in the right place.

2) Give yourself no choice – you’ve made your choice, stick to it.

3) Compete Only Against Yourself – Don’t compare yourself to others. Focus on challenging yourself.

4) Don’t think about winning – think about being the best you can be.

With this focus, whatever the outcome, you’ve already won!

 

Shifu Yan Lei teaches a graded Shaolin path ro kung fu and Qigong. Click here to find out more about his books, DVD and downloads.

 

Live Young: Why Your Internal Workout Is More Important Than You Think

DSC_0361

I’ve been interested in the latest research done by scientists who want to discover how to slow the ageing process down. What they have discovered is that we all age at different rates. One of the ways in which they calculate what they call “ageing scores” is by testing how well the organs are functioning. Those with the highest score have the best organ function and are the least likely to die.

qi gong-00339This demonstrates how important our organs are. We notice ageing of our skin but we never think about our internal organs until something goes wrong. Shaolin Qigong is the only exercise I know that stretches and exercises the internal organs. Kung Fu doesn’t do this, yoga doesn’t do this, and meditation doesn’t do this. Aerobic exercise does use the heart but what about the kidneys, liver, gall bladder etc?

meditation-00047

Keeping our body strong internally is one of the keys to keeping our mind strong and living well into old age. It’s optimal to keep up a regular practice of at least three times a week. And finish with the Instant Health Massage. The Instant Health Massage is a way of sustaining the energy from our Qigong and clearing any blockages from the body.

As we progress, we move onto massaging with the metal brush. The vibration from this brush is so deep that it cleanses the very marrow of our bones. Red blood cells are produced by bone marrow. It is believed that using the metal brush, cleanses the marrow and this creates new blood cells so that even our blood doesn’t age.

I am in awe of the wisdom passed down from our Shaolin Ancestors. Their desire for a long life was so they could have more time to attain enlightenment. Their motivation was pure. They wanted nothing more than to help all beings find peace in their life. Each time we practice Shaolin Qigong, we connect with their wisdom and  enter the path of peace and longevity.

You can learn Shaolin Qigong and the Instant Health Massage from Shifu Yan Lei via his bestselling book (about to go into its 4th reprint) Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity – also available on Amazon as a kindle.

 And via his DVDs and downloads: The Way Of Qigong Volume 1, 2, and 3

Why The Modern World Is Bad For Your Brain And What Shaolin Monks Do About It

yellow mt3-00085 Most of us love our smart phones. I use mine all the time to keep in touch with my family in China. But the constant multi-tasking of texting, emailing, social media and apps is over stimulating our brain and increasing the production of the stress hormone cortisol according to Neuroscientist, Daniel J Levitin, who has written a new book about his findings. So does this mean we have to throw away our smart phones? At The Shaolin Temple we tread the middle way, using Zen techniques to keep us tranquil and focused while still being a part of the modern world. Here I share with you seven Shaolin tips to help you stay calm in a crazy world IMG_0815

  1. Take Small Regular Vacations  Turn your mobile phone to aeroplane mode or switch it off completely two hours before you go to sleep. The same goes for when you workout, meditate, and eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These small, regular vacations from your smart phone will restore your inner peace.
  1. Drink A Cup Of Tea  Instead of drinking your plans, thoughts, and worries, drink a cup of tea. You will find it far more refreshing. Concentrating completely on this one action helps you come back to yourself. Being Here Now is a great way to banish stress and anxiety
  1. Workout Zen Style   Everybody needs to workout. Not only does it make us feel better but it’s good for our brain. If you’re not a martial artist then find a workout you love and make it your meditation. How do you turn your workout into a meditation? By simply concentrating on your breath and movement together and letting go of everything else. Modern research is showing that meditation leads to a more focused, tranquil and happier way of being. And who doesn’t want that?
  1. Make Everything You Do Your Last  In martial art’s there is only the present. Live now. Take care of now and you take care of your future. Give yourself completely to everything you do. Leave no energy left in reserve. Only then can you take in fresh energyShaolin Temple
  1. Balance Yin & Yang  Health and fitness are like two wings of a bird, you need both Kung Fu (or anaerobic/ aerobic exercise) and Qigong (or an internal practice such as yoga). Exercise can prevent many illnesses from developing but we also need a restorative mindful practice to ground us and give us inner peace. I use my Qi to defend myself from kicks or bricks, you can use your Qi to defend yourself against ageing and ill health
  1. Ring The Bell Of Now  Thich Nhat Hanh, the great Buddhist Zen Master advises that every time we hear a bell – whether that’s a ringing phone or a church bell – we stop and breathe for three breaths. Try it and track your impatience.
  1. Little Reminders  A peaceful brain is a happy brain. Practice small steps of nourishment each day: one cup f tea, ten minutes of switch off, a fully engaged workout, 5 minutes of Qigong. These small moments will re-centre you and lead you to the health and happiness that is your natural birthright.

Shifu Yan Lei is a 34th generation fighting disciple from The Shaolin Temple of Zen. He teaches a graded path of Shaolin Qigong and Kung Fu. He is teaching a Shaolin Summer Camp close to the Shaolin Temple in China.

Your Pathway To Zen

yellow mt3-00085

There’s an ancient Buddhist story about a wrestler who wore a precious jewel in his hair. During a match, he received a blow to his head. Without him realizing it, the jewel dropped into his wound. When the wound healed, the jewel was covered by a scar. Every day the wrestler looked for his jewel, never realizing that it was inside him all the time.

This is the same for all of us. Peace and enlightenment are not and never have been outside our mind. All we have to do to access this great peace is come back to our natural state of being.

IMG_0815

Just as the wrestler lost his jewel through acts of violence. We lose connection with our natural peaceful state when we give into anger, aggression and other emotions that don’t increase our or other people’s happiness.

Modern life puts a strong focus on looking outwards at some future time when things will be better. What we want – whether that’s peace or a better life – is always out there and one step away. But what this teaching instructs is: we already are what we want to become. It’s already within us. If we look beneath our hurts, disappointments and wounds, we can rediscover our jewel.

yellow mt3-00070

Whenever I feel disconnected from myself or my mind is turbulent I practice Qigong or Rou Quan and it doesn’t take long before my mind goes back to its natural state of peace.

Daily practice of Qigong changes the neural pathways in our brain. The founder of Zen, Bodhidharma gave us a roadmap that shows us clearly how to use Shaolin Qigong and Kung Fu as a pathway to Zen. This spacious peaceful state of mind is not only reserved for Shaolin monks but for everyone, those of any religion and those of none.

Habit energy drags us down. So set yourself small reminders that you’re on the path of the Urban Shaolin Warrior. This can be uplifting pictures and quotes from people that inspire you or – like the Shaolin Monks do – wear a Jade amulet or mala so the reminder is with you all the time. And practice Shaolin at least four times a week, even if it’s just 5 minutes a day, this is much more beneficial than a long once a week practice. And don’t forget to share how you get on in the comments below or by tweeting me.

Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout is available as a book worldwide & in the USA & Canada an ebook on apple & amazon.

Shifu Yan Lei teaches Qigong as a DVD and download and Kung Fu as a DVD and download. 

Rou Quan is available as a DVD ( bottom of the page)

Jade wrist malas and amulets come from Shifu’s province in China.

A Shaolin Disciple’s Daily Workout, Diet, and Meditation

yellow mt4-00029What’s your daily workout like?

My training day starts with either a 10 or 12k jog or interval running, sprinting 800 meters then resting for 800 meters and doing this 4 times or varying my runs like I show in my youtube video. I then do circuit training, the same as on my DVDs though I mix the punches and kicks together. It’s important to sweat when you’re training. Only this is true training. In the afternoon I do bag work, and pad work if there’s someone at the temple to hold pads. I finish off with Iron Shirt Qigong and combine Iron Shirt conditioning with the Instant Health Massage using a metal brush so that I cleanse my bones.

Qigong Massage

Can the average person hack Shaolin training?

Shaolin is for everybody. Of course the average person doesn’t have 4 hours a day to train but a lot can be accomplished in one hour five days a week. This is enough to be healthy and fit. If you’re not close to a school and train from my DVDs then all you need to do is define your goal and make a program. The best DVDs for fitness are the Bootcamp and Circuit Training DVDs but you need a level of fitness before you can embark on them. Like all things, take one step at a time. Most people have no desire to do hard Qigong but they  have a desire to have more energy and increase their longevity so they do Eight Treasures.

yellow mt4-00007

 You’ll talk about the Shaolin Monk’s diet in another post, but how important is diet to you?

The more you do Shaolin martial arts, the more you tune into your body and the harder it is to eat badly. If you’re craving unhealthy food, don’t worry about it, start working out the Shaolin way and the cravings will go away of their own accord. Before I train I eat a lot of noodle and vegetable with some meat then a banana, which is a great thing to eat before training as it helps to keep sugar levels up. We don’t use ovens in China but something new I’ve discovered in the West is roasted sweet potato. Very healthy and a better carbohydrate than potato. I eat fruit and nuts through out the day. I tend to cook two days food in advance so when I come home and I’m hungry my food is already prepared.

Qigong

How focused are you on Buddhism and Zen meditation?

I’m a simple person. I feel that many Western people read too many books and this makes their mind complicated. My master gave me one sutra, The Hui Neng Sutra and he told me not to sit in meditation but to make training my meditation. Zen is about experience, not knowledge. When people do kung fu or Qigong forms, they get a taste of this Zen experience and then there are no questions. The important thing is not to look outside, but work with where you are and what you have here and now. There’s no need to go to the temple, the temple is right here and now. But you need to be still to find it.

Shifu Yan Lei teaches Shaolin Qigong ( available as a book, DVD and download)

Also available on the apple store and amazon as a kindle.(USA only, UK to follow in 2015).

Shifu Yan Lei teaches Shaolin Kung Fu available as a download and DVD.

How To Make Your Body Become Its Own Doctor


Sitting Qigong

“Bodhidharma travelled to the East to teach these two Yi Jin and Xi Sui classics. A bird like the crane is able to live long, an animal like the fox can be immortal, a human who cannot learn from these classics is worse than the birds and animals.”

The Mind and Body of a Buddha

Ee Jin Jing makes your muscles and tendons strong, flexible, fast and powerful while building up the health of your internal organs. Xi means wash and Sui means bone marrow.  Xi Sui means clean your bone marrow. The aim of Xi Sui Gong is to detoxify your body and cleanse the unhealthy aspects of your mind. The highest aim is to help you reach enlightenment and give you the mind and body of a Buddha. But even if you can’t gain enlightenment in this lifetime (or you don’t want to), the least this Qigong can do is give you a long, healthy, and peaceful life.

Connecting With Your True Nature 

It is vitally important that you use your heart to train, not just your body. You can train as regularly as you like but if your heart isn’t present then you will never get the true benefit. Your true nature can only be found in the here and now. Qigong plants you in the present moment. It does not give you anything new; it simply connects you with your body’s internal power and automatic wisdom that already exists within you.

Sitting Qigong

The Power of Concentration

The more you concentrate, the more benefit you gain from Qigong. Every movement of Xi Sui Jing is done from a sitting position. This sitting position helps you to develop patience. When you begin to go through the movements, your mind will be busy at first. This is natural. But as you focus on the breath and the movement together this will calm your mind and you will feel peaceful. This calming of the mind cleanses the mind. With a clean mind, your mind and body work in harmony. Once your mind and body are working in harmony, your body can self-regulate itself; unblocking your channels and preventing disease from building up in your body.

Your body is Your Own Doctor

This is why at the Shaolin Temple, we say that our body is our own doctor. Shaolin Qigong gives us access to the medicine. But this all happens unconsciously. Your body will start to feel better of its own accord without you having to intervene in any way. This has led many people to shun conventional medicine in favor of Qigong or other alternative medicines but I believe we should use the best of both worlds. If a person is suffering from an illness I recommend that they combine Western medicine with Qigong so that it’s not an alternative approach but a complimentary approach blending the best of two worlds.

Sitting Qigong

The Challenge

There’s a famous story in China about a Zen master who was famous for his meditation and a Shaolin martial artist who was famous for his martial arts. One day the Shaolin master challenged the Zen master, as he believed his skill was much better than that of the Zen master. The Zen master chose a narrow ledge at the edge of a high mountain; one wrong step and the person would fall to their death. Because they were both unskilled in archery they decided it would be fair if they challenged themselves in this way. The Shaolin master went first, he stood at the edge of the mountain but when he placed the arrow into the bow he couldn’t stop himself from looking down and he became scared at the thought of plunging to his death. This fear meant that he failed to hit the target. The Zen master took the bow and arrow, stood at the edge of the mountain, and hit the target perfectly. The Shaolin master was amazed and asked him what his secret was so that he could improve his skill. The Zen master said, “No thinking. No reason. Just do.”

No thinking. No reason. Just do.

This is exactly what you must apply to our practice. EE Jin Jing makes your body like stone. Xi Sui Jing turns your body into a Buddha. But you need to practice and find this out for yourself.

Massage Brush

Bone Marrow Cleansing Massage

As you advance in your Qigong you will advance in your self-massage by moving from the bamboo brush to the metal brush. This heavier brush creates vibrations in your bones and helps to cleanse them so even though you are still doing the Instant Health massage it is having a much more powerful effect. This is where the name “Bone Marrow Cleansing” comes from.

As you age, not only do your bones and muscles shrink unless you exercise to prevent them but also your blood cells produced by your bone marrow slow down. This is because your marrow becomes dirty. Through using the metal brush you cleanse the marrow and stop this reversal. Once I was in my thirties, I started to do this massage alongside my Iron Shirt. I’ve found it to be incredibly powerful and have seen a similar result with my private students who do this massage.

meditation-00047

Chocolate Cake

I can describe to you what a piece of chocolate cake tastes like but unless you eat it you won’t experience it. This article is just a menu, you need to experience these two Qigong’s through practice and gain the benefits for yourself. Break it down to ten minutes five times a week, and within a month you will feel and see a noticeable difference. Comment below to let me know how you get on and share your experiences with other students on my Facebook page that I’ve set up for Shaolin Warrior students training around the world with my teaching.

Qigong 2

Xi Sui Jing is taught on Qigong Volume 2 (DVD and download) 

EE Jin Sui Gong is taught on Qigong Volume 3 (DVD and download)

The bamboo self-massage brush and metal brush is available from www.shifuyanlei.com (5th & 7th one down)

Qigong Takes You To The Peak Of Your Power

yellow mt2-00021When the Bodhidharma arrived at The Shaolin Temple he found the monks were weak from sitting meditation so he developed a unique system of exercises called Qigong to energize the monks and help them gain enlightenment. Hundreds of years later, a Shaolin monk took the eight most effective movements. This is the Qigong I teach in The Way Of Qigong Volume 1  and Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity.

While you may not want to become enlightened, you can use this simple but effective system to prevent illness, turn back the clock, have more energy, and – if you’re a martial artist – increase your martial power. Most people who do intensive exercise ( for example professional footballers, Olympic athletes) age rapidly and burn out when they’re in their thirties. I’m 41, and I still train as intensively as I did when I came to the Shaolin Temple at 13. Why do I not burn out? Because I practice Qigong. qi gong-00025

If you’re training for health then you only need to learn the 8 Treasures Qigong. But if you’re a martial artist then you need to learn the most famous Qigong forms that come from the Shaolin Temple; Xi Sui Jing and Ee Jin Gong. I teach these in The Way Of Qigong Volume 2 and 3. Ee Jin purifies the muscles and tendons and Xi Sui purifies the bone marrow. Shaolin monks have trained in these two forms for thousands of years and they continue to train in these forms because they know that this Qigong enables them to be the best at kung fu.Qigong takes you to the peak of your power.

Your Blueprint For Health

Qigong is not a secret. It just takes practice. Day by day, moment-by-moment you are building your blueprint for health. You know if you’re doing it correctly because you will:

1. Look noticeably younger

2. Have clearer skin

3. Feel calmer

4. Enter the flow more easily each time you practice

5. Feel energized after the practice even if you felt tired when you began

6. Feel a noticeable difference in your recovery time after your workout

7. Be faster and more powerful in your chosen martial art.

qi gong 2-00665The Way Of Qigong Volume 1,2, 3 are not only safe but powerful. Even if done incorrectly, they can’t harm the body; it just means they become little more than a stretching exercise.

Shaolin Qigong is the so called secret of Shaolin Monks. It optimizes the energy matrix of our body so we can be the best we can be not only in our martial arts but also in our life. Shifu Yan Lei teaches 8 Treasures Qigong in The Way Of Qigong Volume 1 ( DVD & download) & Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity ( book and DVD) Shifu Yan Lei teaches Sui Jing and Ee Jin Gong in The Way of Qigong Volume 2 and 3 ( DVD and download)

Find out how a stressed out mum benefited from Shaolin Qigong

Fix Stress With Qigong

Qigong Exercise

Stress is a natural part of our life. The way we react to stress plays a major role in the health of our mind and body. Seventy-five percent of all doctor’s office visits in the USA are for stress-related ailments and complaints. If we don’t return our mind and body to its natural relaxed state then stress can lead to ill health or anxiety and depression. Stress is very easily fixed with the practice of simple Qigong movements.

Last month, a business man came to me who worked 50 hours a week. The doctor told him that if he continued to live like this, he would probably have only ten more healthy years to go, he is forty-five years old. Through training twice a week with me and working with my Qigong Workout DVD at home, he’s now got his mind and body back and the all clear from his doctor. It’s really simple to take control and fix stress.

Your 7 Step Fix Stress With Qigong Plan

1) STOP ( even just for five minutes). When we are “stressed-out”, it’s very difficult to stop but this is what we must do. It’s amazing what a five minute Qigong Timeout can do.

2) HAVE FAITH. Doubt reduces our energy. Qigong induces a meditative state. Neuroscientists have found that these ancient practices “can increase our well-being and quality of life.”

3) JUST DO IT. Find a place the size of a yoga mat and do Qigong. Start by following my video below.

4) LET GO. Whatever comes up, thoughts, plans, worries, gently let them go.

5) COMMIT TO FIVE MINUTES AM & PM. You’re stressed and you’re busy so commit to just five minutes in the morning and five minutes before you go to bed.

6) KEEP IT SIMPLE. All you have to do is follow your breath and movement. It’s that simple. Don’t complicate it with anything else.

7) CONGRATULATE YOURSELF. You’re now on the path of the Shaolin Warrior. You’re increasing your wellbeing and your sense of clarity and flow. You’re taking control of your life.

 “The Shaolin Zen Masters never underestimated our potential for peace, happiness, and enlightenment. They gave us the keys, all we need to do is put the action in.”

Click HERE to find out how my Qigong Workout helped a stressed out mum

Click HERE for more information on Instant Health: The Qigong Workout For Longevity.