Selasa, 30 Maret 2010
1) Stretch am and pm
In the morning you will find that your muscles are stiff so it's important not to push too much but take the time to tune into your body. Breathe into your stretch. Stretching in the morning is harder than in the evening but its one of the best ways to increase flexibility.
2) Know the difference between a warm up and stretching
My early morning sessions at the Shaolin Temple always began with a quick warm up before we went for our mountain run. Although some stretching was involved it was not the intensive stretching that we did later on but more of a quick check to make sure our joints were working properly.
3) Always stretch after your workout
For martial artists this is the optimum time to increase your flexibility. Your joints and muscles are warm, which means you can go further with your stretch and it also helps to decrease the build up of lactic acid in your muscles. Not stretching out after a workout can lead to a feeling of stiffness the next day.
4) Do the Five Fundamental Shaolin Kicks
After stretching move on and do the Five Fundamental Kicks that are taught in Shaolin Workout Volume 1. These kicks increase flexibility to the legs and the hips. Start off in a relaxed and loose way, kicking from the hip rather than from the leg. Stretch in between the kicks to loosen the leg and kick again. When you move into the splits you'll be surprised at how much further you can go.
5) Do a little stretching everyday
Even five minutes a day counts. If you like to watch TV then find a way to stretch while you watch TV. On the escalator, place your left heel a little off the step and stretch out your calf muscle. Alternate with your right heel. Find creative ways to include stretching in your day-to-day life.
6) Alternate your stretching
Our bodies are lazy and they quickly adapt so it’s a good idea to keep it on its toes by alternating the stretching that you do and challenging your body. Yoga stretches can be mixed with kung fu stretches and vice versa. Whatever helps your body open
7) Focus on Optimal Flexibility for you
We all need to have a certain amount of flexibility but remember we are all different. It's crucial that you never push yourself too hard and you work with your own body. If you want to get your head on your knees, don't strain to get there or bend your legs in the process. Remember there never should be any pain when you stretch only patience. More details can be found on stretching in my book: Instant Health: The Shaolin Workout For Longevity.
Senin, 29 Maret 2010
“Jade’s brightness represents heaven; its substance, born of mountain and water, represents the earth”
Chinese Jade Jewellery And Amulets
Jade is an important part of Chinese culture. The Jade that appears on my website is from my province, Xin Jiang, and is famous throughout China for its beautiful natural colour and high quality. My province borders on Mongolia, Russia and Pakistan. Because of the remoteness of the region, Xin Jiang Jade is difficult to find in the West. Some of the jade is called Gobi Desert Jade because it comes from the Gobi sand stone, Wood Jade because the jade was originally wood before it became stone, there are also varying shades of light and dark green jades. The origins of the jade is what gives jade its life.
Carved Chinese Jade is so highly prized by the Chinese that they value it above gold and silver. The Chinese have a famous saying, "Gold has a value; jade is invaluable." The Chinese word for jade is “Yu”.
The English word jade comes from the Spanish term piedra de ijada or "loin stone", from its reputed efficacy in curing ailments of the loins or kidneys. This may be the reason why Chinese Jade is believed to aid in lowering raised blood pressure and alleviating kidney and bladder problems.
Just as a tree can purify the air, we believe that jade has healing powers; helping to purify the body and protect us against the harmful effects of computers, mobile phones or negative energy. Chinese Jade Jewelry has been used by the Chinese for many thousands of years. We believe that Chinese Jade has the power to bring longevity, good health and peace of mind into our life.
Jade alongside Qigong is another tool for peace and longevity. Most of the Chinese Jade pendants and healing bracelets that are on my website are carved from a mountain which lies behind a Buddhist Temple close to my home. Because the pendants, amulets and beads are formed from the natural rock, each piece of jade jewelery is unique and there is no one piece which is the same. Some are hand carved and some are carved from machine.
The Power Of Jade Jewelry Images
My master used to joke that it was only advertising companies and Buddhists who studied the mind. The advertising companies study our minds to find out what slogans and images will increase our desire to buy the products they are selling, while Buddhists study the mind to help them become closer to the Buddha. Both know the power of the image. Images work unconsciously on our mind and we are bombared with thousand of them every day. I have chosen the jade amulets, pendants and bracelets for their healing powers. Carved Chinese Jade has a harmonizing effect on the wearer.
Amulets – Amulet Jewelry
Amulet ( also called talisman) means “an object that protects a person from trouble”. In China many non-Buddhists wear Buddha and Guan Yin jade talisman because they recognize the healing properties of this image and believe these are powerful amulets. When the amulets are not being worn they should be kept in an amulet bag.
Amulets For Safe Travel
Guan Yin ( sometimes called Kuan Yin or Avalokita) is the Buddha of Compassion but before the birth of Buddhism in China, Guan Yin was a Goddess, and Chinese fishermen used to pray to her before they set out to sea. This tradition is still carried out today by modern travellers. When I was asked by his master to leave China and come to the West to teach, my sister gave me a carved Guan Yin pendant so that I would travel well. Many Chinese drivers have a statue of Guan Yin on their dashboard and travellers wear a Guan Yin amulet tied with a red or green chord.
Amulets For Protection
It is believed that Guan Yin can protect us from dangers whether real or imagined. This might be why she is the most popular Buddhist Bodhisattva. A Buddhist Sutra advises us to rely on Guan Yin in situations of pain, distress, calamity or death. Her name means “she who hears the cries of the world”.
Amulets For Good Luck
All Chinese Jade pendants are believed to bring good luck. But there is one in particular which is called the prosperity amulet and that is the laughing Buddha pendant. Chinese people wear this Jade Buddha amulet to increase health, happiness and prosperity.
Amulets For Happiness
As well as being an amulet for good luck, the laughing Buddha is also an amulet for happiness. He can help us to let go of negative energy and have a more positive energy. A great Indian Buddhist master said, “If there is a cure when trouble comes. What need is there for being sad? And if no cure can be found, what use is there in sorrow.” Wearing the laughing Buddha pendant can remind us of this saying and help us to let go of our worries and doubts.
Amulets For Power
Jade bead bracelets are used to count prayers and mantras. They are sometimes called power bracelets or charm bracelets because they give us the power to transform ourselves.
Authentic Buddhist Amulets
Chinese Amulet Jewellery are worn by non-Buddhists as well as Buddhists. Carved Jade pendants can act as a reminder for us to be awake to the present moment. This simple act of mindfulness can help us to overcome stress. Mantras have been recited over the amulets to increase the power of the amulet. If you are a Buddhist then you can recite a mantra in the morning and in the evening.
Being present in the moment is a very effective way to combat stress and increase happiness. You can do this by simply follow your breathing or an alternative meditation is to recite the mantra of Guan Yin – Om Mani Padme Hum - as you touch the amulet of Guan Yin or recite the mantra of the Buddha – Amituofo - as you touch the amulet of the Buddha. This should be done a minimum of three times. It can be chanted silently or out loud. Letting go is one of the arts of happiness.
Jade is part of traditional Chinese culture which include alternative Chinese medicine, acupuncture, Kung Fu, and Qigong. It is another tool we can use to increase our health, wellness and longevity.
You can purchase these along with Jade energy stones at: http://www.shifuyanlei.co.uk/merchandise_wrist_mala.html
There was a famous Ch'an teacher called Dogen Zenji who said: "Hitting the mark is the result of ninety-nine failures."
This means it's okay to fail. We need failure to lead us to success. Thinking in this way means we will never be discouraged with our practice but able to use each experience to enrich it. What makes our Qigong or Kung Fu practice go deeper is the day-by-day effort of taking time out and practicing. If we talk about it all the time then it's just a dream. It's the doing that matters.
People sometimes ask me, Why do I still do Shaolin Steel Jacket? I'm thirty-six now. I no longer fight in competitions. I don't need it for my daily survival. But I want to demonstrate to my students that we are far more than we think we are. I want my students to go beyond their limitations, the limitations people set on them or the limitations they set on themselves. Interestingly, it's usually our mind that we have to work on, more than our body. Our mind tends to act like a badly trained puppy and the training is a way to calm it down. Going through the process of training in Shaolin Steel Jacket was one of the hardest things I've done. It strengthened my mind as much as my body.
The Buddha said that enlightenment couldn't happen until the mind and body were in harmony. Ancient statues of the Buddha show his lungs and chest expanded with Qi. Before he began his journey to enlightenment, he was an excellent martial artist and archer, and I believe those arts aided him towards enlightenment.
At the Shaolin Temple we say the highest kung fu is sitting meditation. But we don't need to sit on a cushion to practice meditation. When your mind and body are completely one, that is meditation. Whatever you hear, whatever you think, that is meditation. In your everyday life you always have opportunities for meditation.
Make your Shaolin practice your meditation. And when you do it, just do it without success or failure or expectation.
From a young age I was drawn to the image of the Buddha. I wanted to be like him, sitting peacefully with a smile on his face. But I couldn't understand why, when I sat to meditate I had so many thoughts whirling around in my head and I felt anything but peaceful and smiling. So one day I went and asked my teacher, 'How can I be like the Buddha?' He smiled and said, 'You already are. The Buddha is in here.' And he pointed at my heart.
Don't get put off by the term Buddha. If you are not a Buddhist then you can call Buddha "inherent nature" or "God" or "love". We don't have to be a Buddhist to want peace, happiness, security and good health. And we don't have to be a Buddhist to realize that the external world can only give us security and happiness for a short time. True confidence, security, and happiness come directly from our mind. The Buddha said, 'It is our mind which makes the world." If we are feeling down then even blue sky and sunshine won't be able to cheer us up. It's only our mind which has the ability to do this, which is why it's so important to have a regular practice to help us come back to ourselves .
Having some kind of internal practice can help us greatly with this current climate of insecurity and loss of jobs. Being a Buddhist disciple I've never had a job or a steady income but I realise from talking to my students that they are worried about their future and so I offer a little advice from my own personal experience.
There is a famous Buddhist quote which I try to live by:
If you can solve your problem,
Then what is the need for worrying?
If you cannot solve it,
Then what is the use of worrying?
This quote reminds me to do everything I can with my life and let the rest go.
In our quest for peace and security we tend to want to control every aspect of our life but this only takes us further away from happiness. We need to relax and let go of the need to control. Next time you feel anxious, don’t give in to it but go and do some Kung Fu or Qigong or running.
Keep your awareness on both your practice and your anxiety. Try to find the substance of your anxiety. Where is it? Can you point to it? Does it feel like it's in a particular part of your body? Sometimes this search helps the anxiety to automatically disappear like darkness disappears when we turn on the light. We don't want to repress it or push it away because this will make it stronger. We just need to gently acknowledge it. As you move through your Shaolin practice, watch the emotion shift and change shape.
Qi is energy, emotions are energy, beliefs are energy, they change thousands of times a day and we are much more than them. We are also much more than our job or financial solvency.
Remember that Buddha never gives us any more problems than we can handle and every event that happens to us is our inner Buddha challenging us. Don't worry. Every so-called negative experience can be a benefit if we view it positively. Every event a teaching.
To the uninitiated it’s a martial art. To Shaolin Warriors it’s the Ultimate Training Program
Shaolin Kung Fu History
The Shaolin Temple is the birthplace of Chinese martial arts. Emperors often enlisted Shaolin monks to help them defend their thrones against invaders. As there were no guns or bombs at that time the monks had to use their bodies as weapons. They did this with a combination of Qigong and Kung Fu.
Shaolin Kung Fu Today
These days, we don’t do battle with warlords but low fitness levels or weight gain. Recent research by the British Journal of Sport’s Science shows that people in their forties and fifties who regularly practice martial arts have greater aerobic ability, balance, flexibility, muscle endurance, strength and less body fat than the sedentary controls matched for age and sex. Shaolin Kung Fu is not just for martial artists but anyone who wants to maximize their fitness levels.
Kung Fu Tai Chi Qigong – Yin and Yang Exercises
The Shaolin Temple has always believed in the importance of both Yin (internal) and Yang (external) training. The correct balance of Yin and Yang training is one of the keys to health and longevity. This crucial percentage factor is explained in depth in my book: Instant Health: The Qigong Workout For Longevity.
Aerobic exercise helps to prevent illness. It also stimulates the growth of new brain cells and improves the memory and ability to learn. The traditional kung fu training program tap into the innate harmony and energy of our bodies, transforming the exterior look of our body and the interior of our mind. Shaolin Kung Fu students have reported an increase in energy, concentration and confidence through the practice of Shaolin.
Shaolin Kung Fu Gung Fu Gong Fu Kungfu
Kung Fu is a Western misspelling that is so widely recognized today that it is the word most people use to describe Chinese martial arts. The correct spelling is gong fu (pronounced gong foo). Gong means work. In order to master any skill or achieve our goals we need to put time and effort into them.
Martial Arts Workout
My kung fu fitness workout DVDs offer a graded path of training. Designed for the martial artist they can also be used as an exciting fitness regime. The beauty of the Shaolin Workout DVDs is that they carry us through each phase of our life and even though we may not be aware of it now, they will help us into our old age by boosting our metabolism, helping our heart and increasing our flexibility and coordination.
Kung Fu Training
There are many different types of Shaolin kung fu training. I specialise in the most effective methods for fitness and fighting. If martial arts cannot be used in combat then it shouldn’t be called martial arts. Today a lot of Shaolin training has been reduced to little more than gymnastics and traditional forms, and the combative expression is becoming increasingly lost and forgotten. It is vitally important that Shaolin doesn’t lose the heart and authentic tradition of Shaolin Kung Fu.
Kung Fu Aerobic
Being in top shape is the first goal of a fighter. Many people have no interest in fighting or any form of contact sport but they use boxing, kick boxing or martial arts training to give them an exhilarating cardiovascular workout. Chinese Martial Arts combines strength training, flexibility and cardiovascular into one fully contained unit and - alongside Qigong - it is all you need to achieve your health and fitness goals.
Kung Fu Fighting
For the fighter, fitness is your first step towards fighting in the ring. Only when you have excellent stamina do you then have the energy to perfect your fighting techniques. I combine traditional Shaolin with modern fighting techniques and my trained fighters compete in international competitions. A day in the life of his training can be seen on my DVD: Kung Fu Journey.
Kung Fu Meditation
Kung Fu is a holistic workout which gives the mind a workout as well as the body. It’s a totally different experience to running on a treadmill and watching the TV for example. The Shaolin Temple is the birthplace of not only Chinese Kung Fu but also Zen (Chan) Buddhism and the monks use their kung fu training as a pathway to Buddhahood.
Kung Fu Qigong Exercise
The practice of Kung Fu and Qigong can help us to reach the potential in ourselves that we only dreamt of before. Using the powerful life energy that exists inside our body we make ourselves healthy and balanced. If you approach the Shaolin teachings with intelligence and determination you can bring to your life the wholeness, health and inner satisfaction that you seek.
Learn Kung Fu
Whether you want to learn Shaolin in the UK, the USA or whatever part of the world you are in, I provides two simple ways for you to learn Kung Fu with me so that you can start right now.
Kung Fu DVDs – Join The Kung Fu Class
My Shaolin Workout series of DVDs are designed exactly like a kung fu class. When you insert the disc into your DVD player you are stepping into the training hall with me and joining a tradition which is thousands of years old.
The Kung Fu Workout is suitable for the martial artist and the non-martial artist. If you are totally new to Shaolin or you haven’t exercised in a long time, then join my mailing list. My article in the archive entitled: The Shaolin Workout: A Physical and Mental Overhaul guides you step by step through the DVD at a much slower pace.
The other Kung Fu DVDs in the Shaolin Warrior Kung Fu series teach more specific kung fu techniques and are more suitable for martial artists.
Kung Fu London Kung Fu Los Angeles
I also teach privately in Los Angeles and London. And I am currently working on a book: Insant Fitness: The Shaolin Kung Fu Workout. This will be released in 2011.
Qi Gong Chi Gong For Health And Longevity
What is Qigong Chi Gong?
Qi Gong (sometimes spelt Chi Gong and pronounced Chee like cheese) is a simple, natural and powerful set of breathing exercises that originate from the Shaolin Temple of Zen in China. Qigong taps into the inner reservoir of energy and restores our body to its original programme of health
In China, Qigong is called the secret of youth and longevity because it slows the ageing process down and promotes health and longevity from the inside out. Time-tested for thousands of years, studies today have found that Qigong exercise can boost levels of one of the most important ‘anti-ageing’ enzymes in the body.
In the past Qigong was passed down secretly from generation to generation at the Shaolin Temple in China. Bodhidharma (the founder of Zen) was the 1st generation and I am one of the 34th generations. In 1985 the Chinese government granted its approval of Qigong and I now have permission to teach what I learnt at the temple.
A set of Qigong exercises is called a form. There are thousands of Qigong exercises (forms) but the Shaolin Temple believe that the most powerful Qigong exercise for health comes from the Yi Yin Jing (Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic) and Xi Sui Jing (Bone Marrow Cleansing Classic).
Muscle Tendon Changing and Bone Marrow Cleansing Classic
When the Bodhidharma came to the Shaolin Temple he found the monks were weak from sitting meditation. Just as the Buddha had realised the health of the body was as important as the health of the mind in order to gain enlightenment, the Bodhidharma developed a unique system of Qigong to energize the monks and help them gain enlightenment.
The Yi Yin Jing Xi Sui Jing taught the monks how to use Qi to clean the bone marrow and strengthen the blood and immune system, as well as how to energize the brain. This helped them to attain Buddhahood.
Eight Simple Qigong Exercises
The Eight Treasures (sometimes called Eight Pieces of Brocade and in Chinese Ba Duan Yin) are the eight most powerful movements from the Yi Yin Jing Xi Sui Jing. This form is possibly the most popular Qigong in the China. There are many different variations of this form but in The Way of Qigong Volume 1 and my Insant Health book, I teach the original Buddhist Qigong exactly as it was taught in the temple.
Eight Great Exercises: Eight Great Reasons To Do Qigong
Regulate blood pressure
Boost the immune system
Ease the stress and strain of working at a computer
Turn back the clock
Harmonize the mind and body
Help with co-ordination (therefore preventing falls later on in life)
Prevent illness and promote good health
Qigong training can be done by adults of all ages. The healing exercises can even be done in just a few minutes a day so you can easily fit them into your hectic lifestyle. Please take a minute to raise your arms to the sky, then stretch them out in front of you, and finally stretch them out to the side, this is the only space you need to begin your practice. The only equipment you need is an Insant Health Massage Brush.
An important part of the Qigong Workout Program is the self-massage with a bamboo massage brush. The 108 bamboo rods in this massage brush create vibrations which relieve stress and tension in the muscles, assist in unblocking the acupuncture channels, and help the body to detoxify through the stimulation of the lymphatic system. Students have reported that if used directly on the skin (rather than through clothing) it has helped them to reduce and prevent cellulite.
Learn Qigong Now
I provide a very simple introduction to a sitting Qigong which you can start practicing with right now. Whether you want to learn Qigong in the UK, the USA or whatever part of the world you are in, I provide three simple ways for you to learn Qigong so that you can start right now.
Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity is a step-by-step guide to increasing your health and longevity. As well as teaching The Eight Treasures Qigong, I also guide you through Qigong Breathing, Qigong Stretching, Qigong Meditation and Qigong Massage.
In The Way Of Qigong Volume 1 I teach the same form of Qigong that is taught in Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity. In The Way Of Qigong 2 & Volume 3, I teach Yi Yin Jing (Muscle/Tendon changing classic) and Xi Sui Jing.I also goes into more detail about the Qigong massage.
Both the books and the DVDs work as stand alone products on their own. It is not necessary to purchase both but students have found that they do compliment each other.
You can also do a private classes with me. I teach in London UK and Los Angeles USA. Qigong is a powerful form of self-healing which works directly with the bodies own medicine. The goal is for our body to become its own doctor. The Qigong exercises that I teach in my books and DVDs are safe and highly effective. However, there are some forms of Qigong which cannot be taught correctly or safely in a book or a DVD. These include all of the 72 styles such as Iron Shirt, Iron Leg, and also some of the more potent Healing Qigongs such as the secret Shaolin Temple Bone Marrow Qi Lifting Qigong.
Bone Marrow Qi Lifting has both a Taoist practice and a Buddhist practice. I teache the Buddhist practice which is significantly different from the Taoist practice. This can only be transmitted master to student. The female Bone Marrow Qi Lifting is taught by my female student.
Once you begin your Qigong program, you become my student and if you have any questions which aren’t answered in my books or DVDs, you can email me and someone from his team will do their best to help. If they can’t answer, your enquiry will be passed directly to me.
Frequently Asked Questions About Qigong
How many times a week should I practice?
Regular practice is necessary. Like all things, it’s best you do a little every day rather than once hour a week. The minimum is three times a week, if you can practice Qigong once a day then that is ideal. The quality of the practice is more important than the quantity. If you sign up to the newsletter you will receive monthly training tips and regular guidance from Shifu to help you stay motivated to train.
What is the difference between Tai Qi and Qigong?
Qigong is solely about internal training. It focuses on the breath with the movement. Tai Qi also includes self-defence. Tai Chi movements are flowing like water while Qigong movements use a dynamic stretch.
What is the difference between yoga and qigong?
Qigong is sometimes described as Chinese Yoga but this description is not entirely accurate. There are many yoga practioners who find that finishing of their yoga practice with Qigong helps to deepen their practice because the kind of stretching we do in Qigong is a different type to that done in yoga.
Only when sunlight is focused on a small area of glass can it start a fire. Qigong is the same. The only focus is on our Qi. This narrow focus gives Qigong a different kind of power and energy.
Is there a Qigong for women?
All of the Qigong Forms that Shifu teaches in his books and DVDs are suitable for women and men. Latest research shows that practicing Ba Duan Jin can prevent bone loss in middle-aged women.
Bone Marrow Qi Lifting is a secret Qigong from the Shaolin Temple. One of these Qigongs is specifically for women. This Qigong can only be taught privately. It is necessary to learn The Eight Treasures Qigong Form before beginning this secret Qigong practice.
How does Qigong manage stress?
Hormone levels, heart rate and blood pressure increase when a person is under stress. Researchers have found that the nervous system becomes highly active. Research has also found that Qigong reduces activity in the nervous system. The Qigong movements help to harmonize the mind and body, regulate blood pressure and reduce the level of stress hormone. Qigong helps to bring about a state of deep but alert relaxation.
Is Qigong safe to learn from a book or DVD?
There are some types of Qigong which are not safe to learn from a book or a DVD such as hard Qigongs like Iron Shirt, or some of the more potent medical Qigong's such as Qi Lifting. These Qigong Techniques can only be transmitted master to student and I only teach these on a one to one basis. The Qigong Forms that I teach in my book and DVDs are safe and effective. Once you've finished The Eight Treasures Form from Instant Health and The Way Of Qigong or any of the other Qigong Forms on my DVDs, you will feel calmer, more expansive, your face will look relaxed and more alert. As you continue, you will have more energy and your sleep will be deeper. You will feel more at peace with the world because you feel more at peace with yourself. If you listen to your body, it is wise and has its own instincts. Trust it.
Qigong Empowerment – Yin and Yang
Modern science is discovering that the mind and body are not separate from each other but interdependent, and a mind at peace with itself protects the body’s health. In order to maximize our health and longevity we need to do not only Qigong but also a form of weight bearing and cardiovascular exercise such as Kung Fu
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Instant Health and Fitness is about using what we do as a pathway to wholeness and inner peace. It's about understanding that the inner health of our body is just as important as the outer health. When I was a boy at the Shaolin Temple my master taught me that when I practiced kung fu I did kung fu meditation, when I ran I did running meditation and fighting meditation and eating meditation... This act of meditation helps us to stay calm, free and anchored to the only place of power which is the now.
My name is Shifu Yan Lei, I’m from China and I came to the UK in 2000 to help my brother open an authentic Shaolin school in London. I found that the Shaolin class not only increased my student’s health and fitness levels but also their confidence and sense of happiness. This is why I started to make Qigong and Kung Fu DVDs and books. My mission is to share with as many people as possible authentic Shaolin. Though sometimes I prefer not to call what I do Shaolin or martial arts because people can have preconceptions about what this means. Qigong and Kung Fu is just exercise Chinese style! Nothing special, nothing strange.
Of course, Shaolin is also about art and beauty and demonstration but this is not what I do. I don’t do gymnastics (though I did some when I was a boy), I don’t do weapons, and I can’t stand on my head or do somersaults. I’m a 34th generation Shaolin master who specializes in using what I learnt for fitness, fighting and longevity. Through my facebook, blog, newsletters, books and DVDs, I hope to share my twenty-five years experience with you so you can bring to your life the wholeness, health and inner satisfaction that you seek.