Category Archives: qigongworkout

Ten Tips From A Shaolin Monk On How To Stay Young Forever

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Most people realise health is the most important thing but how many people live by this belief? We usually make the excuse of having no time like a friend of mine who called to say he was unwell. I asked him to come and visit me so I could teach him Qigong, he told me he didn’t have time, I said to him, but when you are sick you will have time to go to hospital because you have no choice. The next day he came and studied with me for seven days.

We need to start today. In order to help us stay on the path to health I have translated an extract from one of the Shaolin Classics. Written by a monk who was a great martial artist and scholar, here he gives advice to lay people as to how to stay young and healthy.

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Ten Tips From A Shaolin Monk On How To Stay Young 

1) Don’t think too much. Thinking takes energy. Thinking can make you look old.

2)  Don’t talk too much. Most people either talk or do. Better to do.

3) When you work, work for 40 minutes then stop for 10 minutes. When you look at something all the time, it can damage your eyes and also your internal organs and peace.

4) When you are happy, you need to control your happiness, if you lose control then you damage your lung energy.

5) Don’t worry too much or get angry because this damages your liver and your intestines.

6) When you eat food don’t eat too much, always make sure you are not quite full as this can damage your spleen. When you feel a bit hungry then eat a little.

7) When you do things, take your time, don’t hurry too much. Remember the saying “Hasten slowly you will soon arrive”

8)If you only do physical exercise all the time and you never do Qigong this makes you lose your balance and you will become impatient. You lose the Yin of your body. Exercise balances the Yin and the Yang.

9)If you never exercise, just peace, meditation, soft training, Qigong, then this doesn’t give you Yang energy so you use up your Yang energy.

10) Shaolin Gong Fu gives you everything. The purpose of our training is to balance our Yin and Yang.  How many hours is not important. It’s down to knowing what your body needs.

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Your Pathway To Zen


IMG_0815It’s not possible to take Zen out of Shaolin martial arts because Shaolin martial arts were born from Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen. Shaolin Martial Arts is a pathway to Zen. How is this possible? Because the movements cut through the thinking mind. This thinking mind is not the mind that experiences Zen. We have another mind. A mind that cannot be approached from a thinking perspective. A mind that is untouched by our thinking or anything we have done or anything that has been done to us. Zen Buddhists call it our Pure Light Mind. You can think of it as basic goodness that exists in all of us. We all have it. It’s our potential to become a Buddha. Buddha simply means awakened one. Someone who has woken up to see the world as it really is.

If we throw some red dye into the sea, it will not turn the sea red, as the sea is so vast and expansive. Our minds have the capacity to be vast and expansive too yet if someone shouts at us or insults us, we tend to get angry, this is a measure of how expansive our mind is and how much work we need to do.

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I have a lot of experience of anger. When I was 15 years old, I was always getting into fights. My Master – who is now the Shaolin Abbot – was fed up of coming to the police station to get me out of jail so he sent me to a very well known Zen master.

In the Cultural Revolution when Mao was destroying all the temples, this master risked his life to stay in the temple. For many years he lived in this destroyed temple and when Buddhism was allowed to flourish again he started to re-build the temple. Every morning he would sit in meditation and chant and I would train. He asked me to sit with him but I had no patience to sit. After a few weeks of trying to get me to sit he told me to make training my meditation.

That sentence has resonated with me all my life. When I came back to the Shaolin Temple, my training was no longer a series of exercises or a way of being able to learn new fighting techniques so that I could conquer other people but it became my meditation.

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To train in Shaolin doesn’t mean we need to become Buddhists or believe in the Buddha. I don’t see myself as a Buddhist even though I come from a Buddhist Temple. I see myself a martial artist with a wish to understand life. A wish to not get pulled in by my unhelpful emotions and a wish to increase my helpful emotions. I see the Buddha as a wonderful psychologist who had a great understanding about how our minds work.

So whenever you train, and whatever you train in, use your training as your refuge and your meditation. This will install peace and strength in you. This will mean, however difficult your life is, you always have something to come back to, something you can rely on.

Willpower is like petrol, it runs out. This is why Shaolin Monks cultivate daily habits so it becomes a part of our life. If you are coming on my Shaolin Summer Camp this year then you will live in this way so you can take home some of those habits that you’ve cultivated.

For more information on Shifu Yan Lei’s books, DVDs, downloads and martial art’s training equipment click here

A Complete Guide To Shaolin Qigong

yellow-mt2-00182If I were only allowed to do one exercise to improve the health of my mind and body I would choose Shaolin Qigong. When I was younger my focus was on Iron Shirt Qigong, partly because it was useful in a combat situation, partly because I wanted to push my limits, and partly because – although I probably shouldn’t admit this – I wasn’t so sure there was a thing called Qi. DSC_0002 When I came to the UK, a scientist from Nottingham University investigated my Iron Shirt Qigong. He usually tests the impact of car accidents on crash test dummies. He was surprised by what my body was doing when a brick was hitting it. He confirmed in scientific terms what my master had taught me. When we practice Iron Shirt Qigong, our Qi acts like a mirror, bouncing our opponent’s power back at us. Of course most of us are not fighters and we don’t find ourselves in combat situations so instead of using our Qi to protect ourselves from a brick, we can use Qigong to protect ourselves against ageing and ill health.

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How many of us think about our liver or kidney or heart? It’s only when we get older and we have problems that we realize how important they are. A strong and healthy body can only be strong from the inside out. Qigong is the only exercise I know which oxygenates our internal organs, refreshing the supply of blood, removing internal blockages and turning back the clock. There are many types of Shaolin Qigong. By the request of many of my students here’s a quick overview of the Qigong’s you can learn. Shaolin Qigong Forms 8 Treasures QigongInstant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout & The Way Of Qigong Volume 1 QigongWhen the Bodhidharma came to the Shaolin Temple, he found the monks were weak from sitting in meditation all day so he devised a series of Qigong exercises to energize their brains, prolong their life and help them gain enlightenment. A monk chose eight of the most powerful movements and put them in this Qigong form. It’s easy to learn and can be very simply broken down. If you only learn one Qigong, learn this one! TRY THIS: Do one of the movements before you go to work. It will create not just Instant Health but Instant Calm. Your day will run smoothly. The Way Of Qigong Volume 2 Qigong 2 This powerful sitting Qigong cleanses toxins from the body and purifies the brain and nervous system. If you are a serious Shaolin Qigong student you need to learn this after you’ve mastered 8 Treasures. Broken down into a few movements it’s great for people who are not fully mobile (it can be done from a chair) jet lag, insomnia, pregnant women (though don’t do the reverse breathing, stick to abdominal breathing). TRY THIS: Follow the DVD for 10 minutes before you go to sleep. Don’t do any longer than 10 minutes or it may energize you too much. The Way Of Qigong Volume 3 This cleanses the muscles, bones and tendons. It builds exceptional inner strength and focus. Shaolin Students progress to this form once they’ve learned Qigong 2. You will notice a vast difference in your martial art’s practice once you start to practice this form. TRY THIS: Do two sections before your kung fu workout and the rest of the form after and monitor how your kung fu workout was more powerful as a result. yellow mt3-00085Qigong For Upper & Lower Body If you are under the age of 25, you may find Qigong boring so I suggest you practice this Qigong. It combines both internal and external training. It gives your muscles a lean and defined look. One student told me that he’d never sweated as much from standing still as when he followed these DVDs. It’s also good for older people as it strengthens their tendons and bones from the inside out (though they won’t be able to do the whole DVD, just a small section of it). This combination of DVDs is incredibly challenging. TRY THIS: Do Qigong for upper body one day and Qigong for lower body the next. Don’t expect to do the whole DVD in one go. Remember it’s quality that counts, not quantity. When we are frightened, it’s our body that reacts first  then our mind takes its cue from our body. Whichever form you decide is for you, Qigong will have a deeply relaxing effect on your body. It unlocks the peace, strength, energy and focus that is already within you. It optimizes your mind and body so it’s always running at its peaceful peak. Sign up to Shifu’s newsletter and receive your free motivational tips. You can find Shifu’s DVDs, downloads and books at shifuyanlei.com

Your Pathway To Zen

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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.

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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.

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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.

How To Make Your Body Become Its Own Doctor


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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

7 super-effective training tips from the Shaolin Temple of Zen

Shaolin Temple Medicine BuddhaThe world of traditional physical exercise is beginning to catch up with what Shaolin martial artists have known for thousands of years. Fitness is not just about burning calories and sweating. It’s about being healthy from the inside out.  Here our 7 super-effective training tips from the Shaolin Temple.

 1. Skip stretching before your workout, your ligaments will thank you.

Stretching before a warm up has no benefit and doesn’t bolster performance.  Start with a gentle warm up and when the muscles feel warm and loose do two types of stretching: static and dynamic. If you already train with my DVDs, downloads or books then you’ll be already doing it this way.

2. Your body is smart already

Shaolin Qigong and Kung Fu helps you go beyond your small individual self and find a connection with the fabric of the Universe. It doesn’t give you anything new; it simply connects you with your body’s internal power and automatic wisdom.

3. Not all workouts are created equal.

A person can look strong but this doesn’t mean they’re healthy. Body builders may be inflexible and internally weak. Yoga practioners may be flexible but ask him or her to perform a martial art’s kick and they have no power or speed. The Shaolin Workout is a full body workout which addresses every single body part and integrates flexibility and strength with power and speed.

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4. Balancing Yin and Yang is the key to health and longevity.

A bird can’t fly with one wing. You can’t be 100% healthy and fit without a balance between Qigong and Kung Fu. This is the two wings of a bird. Qigong is your Yin training, which melts the barrier between your mind and body while kung fu is your Yang training, which pushes your limits and raises your awareness of your unlimited capabilities

 5. Self-massage matters.

The Shaolin Temple has a long tradition of self-massage, which is one of the oldest healing practices. Massaging with the bamboo rods of the Instant Health Massage Brush combines sports, acupressure and deep tissue in one massage. Because the self-massage is convenient and cheap – it’s just the cost of a brush –  you can do it on a daily basis after you’ve finished your training or if you’re pushed for time, a few times a week.

IMG_07516. What you give, you receive.

Food is medicine and fuel for your body. What you give to your body, you receive. You give it fast food, you receive energy slumps, sluggishness and sugar drops. You give it wholesome food, you receive high energy, vitality and stable sugar levels.

7. No Mud, no Lotus

Lotuses grow from mud. It’s the same with you. All of your problems, all of the stuff you don’t like about your life make up the mud so that your lotuses can take root and bloom. Beautiful lotuses can only grow from the un-beautiful. Everything you experience can help you to become a happier person. The Buddha said, “It’s your mind which makes the world, speak or act with a pure mind and happiness will follow as your shadow. ”

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

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

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