Senin, 26 September 2011

Your Personal Diet And Training Plan

Most people who want to lose weight, usually start by going to the gym or getting a personal trainer. These things can help but without controlling their diet, they will find it hard to lose weight.

The first thing that you need to do if you want to lose weight, get fit, improve your martial arts or look younger is check your life. Which of your habits are good and which are bad? Where are your weaknesses? Also, what about the weaknesses of your environment? You need to be aware of them so you can deal with them and not become a victim of them.  For example, if a person smokes or drinks and at the same time they want to lose weight and train, the first thing they need to do is stop smoking and drinking then they need to start training lightly to detoxify their body. 

Someone who eats a lot of junk food or cakes or drinks a lot of sugar drinks like Coca Cola needs to stop. A  person who has a very stressful job with a lot of responsibility, has to tell themselves worry can not change anything. They have to train themselves to be relaxed. Shaolin training helps us to relax and let go. It effortlessly shifts us into a positive frame of mind.

People are always searching for the best diet for health or to lose weight. They do the same with a training programme, how can I get maximum benefit for minimum effort? They spend hours on the internet researching but they don't realise that no one can give them an exact diet or training programme because everybody's mind and body is different.

For me, I listen to my body and follow what it says. If it tells me I need to eat apples today then I eat apples. Each person needs to try and find their own diet and their own training programme. I eat a high carbohydrate diet, this works for me, but for other people, low carbohydrate and high protein works better. Neither is right or wrong, they have found out what works for their body and I have found out what works for mine. 

The one thing I would say is that everyone should cut out sugar. This has no nutritious value and is not good for blood sugar levels.  The other rule is, always eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast tend to eat less throughout the rest of the day. Also, drink green tea. Green tea doesn't contain enough caffeine to spike cortisone levels but research has shown it helps boost metabolism.   

My advice when you embark upon a training , diet or health plan is don't be too ambitious. Start with a small step that is achievable then build on that small success. A diet and training programme is not just for eight weeks or 28 days, it is for the rest of your life so make sure it's one that is right for you and you can stick with it so it can become a part of you, enriching your life experience.  

For information on Shifu Yan Lei's training DVDs and books please visit

Selasa, 20 September 2011

Instant Buddha: Progressions On The Path Of The Warrior

It is vitally important that we train intelligently and with awareness, always keeping our beginner's mind. 

When you walk to your training hall or go home to practice your martial arts, do walking meditation. Walk at your normal pace and be aware of  your steps and your breathing. When thoughts come up, simply let them go. This walking meditation helps to ground and prepare you for your training.

When you start to do the Qigong and Kung Fu forms, you repeat them over and over again for years and years until they become a habit.  In the beginning, you have to think: where should I breathe? What is the next movement? Is my posture correct? This is a process we all go through. Then, as you progress, you forget about your practice and move into non-thinking. 

As martial artists, we use our body to abandon our body. We let go, forget the ego and follow nothing but the wisdom of the universe. Then the thinking comes from the body and no longer comes from the mind. When you experience this you experience freedom. 

If you open your hand you can take hold of anything, if you close your hand, nothing can enter. You need to open your hand and allow the practice to enter you. 

To enable this you need to have the confidence to commit fully and get out of your comfort zone. Stop saving energy for a future time. Only when you are empty can you be re-filled. 

You must concentrate 100% on your movement and your breathing. If you do that, your practice will remain fresh and not go stale. You must practice not only in your training but in your day to day life.

This is why the meditation aids I brought back from China are every day items like tea and key rings and Buddha bags. When I was at the Shaolin Temple, the environment was a constant reminder that I was on the path of the warrior but here in London, I can easily forget and I need reminders to come back to the now. Now never returns to us, now is all we have. The Warriors appointment with life is in the present moment.

When you practice in this way, your practice becomes The Way. Only then can it penetrate the marrow of your life. 

Kamis, 15 September 2011

Flowering Green Tea - Instructions On How To Use

Part of traditional Chinese medicine is the drinking of green tea, modern science has discovered that green tea is rich in antioxidants, aiding our path to longevity. Green tea also balances the metabolism, boost the immune system, and has anti-ageing benefits for the skin. 
If we drink our green tea mindfully then this has even more of a beneficial effect. Click here to learn  how to have a Zen Tea Ceremony in your own home. 

How To Use Flowering Green Tea
1) Put the tea ball in a glass cup or tea pot.
2) Pour boiling water into the cup.
3) Watch the flower blossom and release its fragrance. It usually takes about five minutes.

4) Drink and enjoy.

Do not throw away. As with all high quality green teas,  the tea can be used at least four times. Simply pour water over the blossomed flower and continue to enjoy.

A Zen Tea Ceremony

At the Shaolin Temple, novice monks are taught to be present in everything they do. In our fast paced modern life this is impossible.  If  we are always fully present then our mind will overload so we need to perform some actions automatically. But if we are always mindless and our mind is always on the run we will become increasingly burnt out, stressed and unhappy.
We rest and look after our body, so why do we not take as much care with our mind as we do our body? 
Bringing our heart and mind into the present moment is the Zen Masters secret to real happiness. There are many ways we can do this. And one way is to have a simple Zen Tea Ceremony.

Zen Tea Ceremonies, alongside calligraphy and martial arts are tools that Shaolin Temple disciples use to hone, focus, and sharpen their mind.

The Art of Tea was born in the Zen Temples of China. But you don't need to be a Buddhist or go to a temple to experience this profound art, you can have a Zen Tea Ceremony in your home.

It's good to do a drinking tea meditation on a daily or weekly basis. You can do it on your own or with other people.  If you do it with other people then practice in silence.

Six Simple Steps To Having A Zen Tea Ceremony In Your Home

Put aside a set time
If you're doing it every day then let's say fifteen minutes. Switch off or silence your phone so you will have no distractions.

Set your motivation

Tell yourself: For the next fifteen minutes every time I get distracted I'm going to bring myself back to the present moment.

Boil the kettle

You can use English tea but I use Flowering Green Tea. This is the tea we use in our tea ceremonies at The Shaolin Temple and the fragrance immediately invokes a feeling of well-being and wisdom.

Watch The Lotus Flower Bloom

Pour the water over the tea ball and sit with the tea in front of you.
As I watch the tea ball unfurl, I think of the lotus flower and the inner potential we all have to be peaceful urban warriors.
It takes about five minutes for the flower to unfurl, during that time, sit and watch your breathing.
Drink Your Tea Not Your Thoughts

Once the flower has blossomed, cup both hands around the cup, and drink your tea slowly.
Inhale the tea, taste the tea, feel the sensation of  the tea and what effect it has on your mind and body.
If you drink tea while thinking about your worries then you are not drinking tea, you are drinking your worries. Live only for this moment.

Once you've finished, as with any good quality green tea, you can continue to make at least four cups.
I always feel refreshed and at peace after performing this simple tea ceremony. I feel more connected to myself , the Shaolin Temple and the great Zen masters who even though I may never have met, I take as my masters, and hope they accept me as their disciple.

Try it and let me know how you feel. 

It's great to do at the end or beginning of your Qigong session.  
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