Kamis, 06 Desember 2012

formed abdominal muscles quickly

Sixpack Abdominal does not come just like that. But that does not mean you have to do hundreds of crunches every day that you get a sixpack stomach immediately. Not enough with regular practice, you also need to implement the lifestyle and habits that will support the creation of your sixpack stomach. 

4 The following habits are good habits that will help you have a sixpack stomach craving more quickly.
 Start Your Morning With Water. Drink water after you wake up at least 2 glasses of water. A recent study found that drinking water after waking up can increase your metabolism by 24% for the next 90 minutes. Moreover, muscle cells grow faster when they are well hydrated. Consumption of water every day is recommended to help shape your sixpack stomach.

Combining Protein and Carbs Although carbohydrates can be stored so fat that can cover your abdominal muscles, your body needs carbohydrates remain as an energy source. When combined with protein, carbohydrates can help build muscle, especially if you combine both before and after exercise. More muscle the more fat is lost.

Healthy Lunch Avoid fast food and soft drinks. This food will only make you grow fat and inhibits the formation of your sixpack stomach. For a healthier menu you can try some of the following menu:
An apple and cheese for your morning snack.

Eat complex carbohydrates, such as whole wheat bread, wheat pasta, oatmeal, brown rice. These foods contain more fiber and may delay your hunger longer. And is equipped with high-protein foods such as chicken, tuna, beans or processed soybeans.
You can add a protein shake into your afternoon snack.Lunch with a healthy menu every day will make you much more full and satisfied. In addition, you also get the nutrients your body enough to move. 
Sleep Enough. Apply enough sleep habits to get your sixpack abdominal. The body needs 7-8 hours of sleep for the phase formation and muscle recovery. The study mentions, if you lack sleep for 3 days in a row can cause your muscle cells become resistant to the hormone insulin. This causes the accumulation of fat around your stomach with slow metabolism, increases appetite and decreases the amount of calories burned.With a slight change to healthier habits, you can get a sixpack abdominal more quickly and optimally. So, immediately apply a healthy lifestyle today!

Selasa, 27 November 2012

True Freedom: You Already Have Everything You Need

Martial Arts is a way of being in life. It's very difficult in the beginning to make your practice into a habit and even when you've been doing it for many years, there can still be a struggle. But this is good because it shows your practice is constantly challenging you. The key to rising to the challenge is to make a strong commitment to your martial arts practice from the very beginning. This commitment automatically makes you practice, and any thoughts that go against your practice can be more easily dismissed.

In order to gain something you have to give up something. For example, you can't eat chocolate cake every day and lose weight. It's true that a martial artist does not have as much "freedom" as a non-martial artist because so much of your time is taken up with the practice. But what exactly is freedom?

Martial Arts helps us to be. If you can just be then you don't have so much desire for external things. If you can be, the Buddha says, all of your good qualities are already there. You don't need to try to do something to make yourself happy because your happiness will manifest by itself. This to me, is true freedom.

Shifu Yan Lei is a 34th generation fighting disciple form The Shaolin Temple in China, he offers a graded path in Qigong and Kung Fu:

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Kamis, 25 Oktober 2012

Just Do It - How To Achieve Your Dream

When I was seven years old, my mother asked me if I had dream? I said, "Yes, I want to become a martial artist." Then she asked me, "Do you know which is the highest part of your body?" I said, "My head and my hair." My mum said, "No, it's your hands." She told me, "Your mind make your dream happen but your mind cannot make your dream come true, only your hands can do that. This means, you can't just think, you need to do."

 Life is about doing, not thinking. Action not words.

I'm a martial artist. A martial artist doesn't just teach people, he also trains. If you only teach and never train then you never learn new things and you can't grow as a teacher. I want my students to make a decision: know what you want to do, make a strong plan and challenge yourself to make your body healthier and healthier. 

Take action today. 

Shifu Yan Lei teaches a graded path of Shaolin Kung Fu & Qigong. For more details of how you can learn in your home click here

Kamis, 30 Agustus 2012

Get Out Of Your Head - The Mindful Way

Researchers are finding out that mindfulness has been shown to increase happiness. Originally a Buddhist term, the word mindfulness  is now becoming as ubiquitous as the word Zen. But what exactly is it? Going to the gym and running on the running machine while watching TV is not being mindful. Going through a Qigong or Kung Fu form while concentrating on the breath and the movement is. I’m not judging the person on the running machine. It’s okay to be mindless every now and again, but if our goal is to be happy then factoring in more sessions of mindfulness and less sessions of mindlessness will help us to achieve this. 

A student came to me the other day and said that she’d been meditating for 20 minutes every morning but she didn’t feel any different. For true transformation to occur, we need to integrate mindfulness into our day to day life. The Zen master, Thich Nhat Hanh, advises us to use a ringing phone or a red traffic light as a tool to remind us to come back to ourselves and breath three times. What are we doing with our time now? Are we happy? If not, why not? Willpower is like the groceries we buy at the supermarket, it runs out. This is why we need to integrate our practice into our daily life so it’s no longer about willpower, it is a habit to us and this habit then becomes a way of life.

For true transformation to occur we need to get out of our heads. What I mean by this is we need to give our mind a break and ground ourselves in our body. Since coming to the UK, I have seen many people on a Friday night going to a pub and drinking lots of beer and wine. My students have told me that they are getting out of their heads. In China we don’t have this culture, so at first I couldn’t understand why people stand up all evening in a crowded room and drink a lot and don’t eat anything. But now I understand. These people feel stress and this is the only way they know to get away from their stress. But their way is mindless rather than mindful and it will only give them temporary relief and a headache in the morning. A Qigong or Kung Fu Workout is a mindful and positive way to deal with stress. 
Our body is a miniature universe and our Qi is the inexhaustible energy of the universe which underpins our existence. It’s always there for us, just as a waterfall is always flowing regardless of whether we are there to look at it or not. Going through a Qigong or Kung Fu form helps us to be mindful. It shifts our energy and focus from our small mind with its endless circle of thoughts, plans and worries to our universal mind. It stimulate brain chemicals in our mind that are linked to happiness. If our mind and body are in harmony then peace naturally occurs without us having to work at it. Tapping into the universal mind gives us a happiness that no one can take away from us. Happiness is our most natural state of being. We deserve it.

Selasa, 31 Juli 2012

Feeling Burnt Out? Five Steps To Unleash Your Energy

1) Get Moving

The more that you sit in front of a computer, the less you will want to workout. At the end of your working day your body will tell you that it's tired and give you another excuse to skip your workout. But if you can motivate yourself to push through your tiredness, once you begin to move, you will be surprised to find that you feel energized. This is because movement and exercise unleash your body's energy. We are born to move. We are not born to sit down all day. The Shaolin Temple movements help us to bring our body and mind in harmony. It's only when our body and mind are working in harmony that we can feel truly energized and happy.

2) Use Your Shaolin Workout As A Refuge

We are so goal focused and driven in our work that I think it's good to take the pressure off when we do our workouts. Use this as a time to tune out of your daily life and tune into your body. Each of your workouts gives your body a different experience. There is the challenging anaerobic training from the Kung Fu Workouts, the aerobic training of running, and the internal balancing Qigong Workout. As you move through these different workouts try to be aware of the different energy-producing states and what effect they have on your mind and body. What do you feel when starting the workout? How do you feel when you've finished?

3) Become Your Best Friend

The Buddha said that it is our mind which makes the world. When I was young boy at the temple I had the arrogance to disagree with the Buddha and think he was wrong! But now I realize that he is exactly right. We can be in the most beautiful place in the world but if our minds are angry or depressed then we can't appreciate it. Our life is created by our thoughts. Thoughts can be trained just like muscles. Thoughts are energy so be aware of whether your thoughts are bringing you positive Qi or negative Qi. Tune into the positive and let go of the negative.

4) Wear Jade

If you spend most of your time in front of the computer then balance this out by going for a walk or doing some Qigong in the park. You can also wear Jade. Alongside Qigong, jade has been used for thousands of years in China as a powerful longevity tool. I know that the West doesn't have this tradition but the Chinese believe that jade is a living thing that can give us positive Qi. Not only the stone itself but also the carving. When I'm not training I wear a jade Guan Yin. I don't understand why people in the West wear jewellery made from man made material. I believe we should use every tool we have to increase our health and longevity.

5) Take One Step Today

These are four simple steps to increase your energy. I suggest you take one step a week and then by the end of the month you will have taken all of the steps. Remember, when you improve a little each day, eventually big things occur.

Jumat, 27 Juli 2012

3 Essential Ingredients For Powerful Kicks - Part 2

In last week's post I wrote about the 3 essential ingredients, here I show how to make these ingredients work for you. 

People sometimes think if you want to make your shin and feet strong you need to kick hard things all the time but this is  wrong. If you want to make your leg hard then the first thing you need to do is have good stamina, if you don’t have stamina it’s not possible for your leg to be strong as you won’t have energy. It’s like a car without petrol, it simply can’t move, you won’t be able to lift your leg up or kick therefore you have lost everything.

This is the reason why stamina is so important. After you have gained stamina you then work on your flexibility and then you can work on your speed and power and then you can start on the conditioning training for your leg.

Iron Leg
The best way to warm up is to do the Si Bi Quan form from my Workout One DVD. This form consists of two ingredients: stamp and punch, the more power you can use with the stamp, the more you will build the power of your leg muscles and bone.  This movement is simple and useful. After doing this form you can then start to do bag work.

Kick Bags
It’s best to kick different bags, some hard and some soft so that your body can get used to kicking different weights. Soft bags eat energy and if you have a powerful kick then you have to hold your power otherwise you may get an injury. This is all part of the training.  When you go in the ring, people’s bodies are different, people move differently so it’s best to be as adaptable as you can when you train. Keep changing your combinations and the bags that you work on.
Kick Bamboo
After we have kicked bags we then kick bamboo. Bamboo is better than wood because it is both soft and hard at the same time. If you have ever been into a bamboo forest, then you will have seen the trees bending with the direction of the wind and this is why  they are  incredibly strong.

When you embark on kicking bamboo you have to be careful. Never try this alone but always train under a qualified teacher. You need to have a good understanding of your body, take the training step by step and keep listening to your body.

When we do this hard training we also practice Qigong to look after our bodies and our legs. One of our Qigongs is called Bone Marrow Cleansing Qigong because it literally cleans our bone marrow. We use an Instant Health Massage brush to massage ourselves. This is the first step to body conditioning and it is a powerful way to open our meridian channels.

After we have finished our body conditioning we then use traditional medicine. I make my medicine every two years. It comes from a traditional recipe from the Shaolin Temple but there may be slight variations depending on the Shaolin Master's  personal experience and the type of body conditioning that they do. It is very different from fight oil that many fighters use. Fight oil only penetrates the skin where as the body conditioning tincture goes right into the bones and helps to strengthen the bones, helps the blood to flow and protects the skin.
How To Use
All of these ingredients make your leg into a weapon but this doesn’t mean that you know how to use this weapon or that you are a good fighter, it just means that you have a sharp weapon. So the first thing you need to do is link your punch and kick together and learn how to trick people so that you can get through their defenses. How do you fight with different people? Some people have good kicks, others good knee, other good elbows. At the Shaolin Temple we usually choose one good traditional technique and combine that with our fighting punches and kicks. We then spar against many different opponents to test ourselves and hone our skill.

Mind Control
When we fight in the ring, the judge says start and no one knows what will happen. This is why we practice our fighting kicks over and over again and we imagine many different opponents so that we can be ready for anything and even though we have no control of the outcome, in our mind all of our training gives us an inner confidence and this gives us the control.

Fore more information visit: http://www.shifuyanlei.co.uk/

Rabu, 18 Juli 2012

3 Essential Ingredients For Powerful Kicks - Part 1

In China there were originally two Shaolin Temples, one in the south and one in the north. It is said that the Southern Shaolin Temple was famous for their punches and the Northern Shaolin Temple was famous for their kicks. But hundreds of years ago the Northern Shaolin Temple was burned down and the only record of it today is in history books. The skills from both temples have now merged, and the knowledge that has been passed down through the ancient books shares with us three vital ingredients we need in order to have powerful kicks. In this article I will share with you the first two and in next week's post, the third ingredient and also how to use these ingredients effectively.

1) Flexibility - If you want to kick with power and speed then you need to train it to have as much flexibility and dexterity as your arm. 
2) Speed and power - Flexibility doesn’t lead to speed and power so the next thing you have to concentrate on is gaining speed and power.
3) Strength - In Shaolin we have seventy-two different styles and one of these styles in called Iron leg. The purpose of training in iron leg is to literally to make the leg as hard as iron.  

If you can combine these three essential ingredients successfully then your leg will be a weapon and you can then progress to the fourth element, which is.
4) How to use your weapon.

I am always advising martial artists to add running to their training. No boxer would ever go into the ring without stamina training and as everyone knows, all boxers include running as part of their stamina training. At the Shaolin Temple it’s the same, we always begin our training with a run, this not only helps us with our stamina but it also makes our body hot. Once our body is hot we then stretch our arms and our legs. Once we have stretched out our muscles we then begin to do The Five Fundamental Kicks, which are taught in Shaolin Workout One DVD. The five different angles of these kicks increases our flexibility much more than stretching ever can 

Mixing traditional with modern

Once we can do the five fundamental kicks we can then mix them, for example we can perform the inside kick with the outside kick and link them together. We can increase the number of kicks in the combination. We can use the five fundamental kicks as a warm up before our fighting kicks. 

Speed and Power

All traditions of fighters use footwork to link the link the kicks together and practice various fighting combinations. At Shaolin we link fighting kicks with traditional training. The purpose of this is to strengthen our legs. 

We may stay in Ma Bu (horse stance) for five minutes and then we will do the fighting kicks as quickly as we can for one - three minutes. This combination of stance and kick links power with speed. Or we may run up a hill and when we come back we kick bags as quickly as we can. We will make a goal to kick one hundred or two hundred times. Our legs will feel so tired that it’s hard to lift them off the ground but we will not stop until we’ve completed our target. 

Optimize The Power 

If you want to kick with speed then you need to make your leg tired, once your leg is tired, you have to train your body to relax. Once you are relaxed you have to learn how to get maximum power from your kicks. When you kick, ask yourself, which part of my body am I using? Once you know the answer then you will save energy, as you will only be using the parts of your body that you really need. 

This dramatically optimizes your power and energy. This is the reason if you want a powerful swift kick then the only way to achieve this is through kicking a lot. Through kicking a lot your body will understand. In martial arts we can never understand with our head, we always have to be led by our body’s inherent wisdom.

Selasa, 10 Juli 2012

A Beginner's Guide To Transforming Yourself Into A Shaolin Warrior

I've had many enquiries from people who haven't done any fitness or martial art's training for many years and have asked me how they can use the Shaolin Workout DVDs to get back into shape. This month I share with you a programme based on Shaolin Workout Volume 1. If you're in okay shape or you want to move up a volume then you can use the same principles for Volume 2 and 3. Please note, that these are guidelines only and you shouldn't undertake a new workout regime without checking with your doctor first. 

The Shaolin Workout - A physical and spiritual overhaul

The Shaolin Workout is designed for the martial artist but it can also be used as an exciting fitness regime. The beauty of Shaolin Kung Fu is that it carries us through each phase of our life, boosting our metabolism, helping our heart and increasing our flexibility and coordination.

Welcome To The Class

The DVD is designed exactly the same as the beginner's class so it's perfectly normal if you struggle to follow it. If you come to my class, you wouldn't be able to follow it either and neither would I expect you to. I also don't slow the class down for you. I advise you to do what you can and do a little bit more each time until you can follow the whole class in one go.

If you're seriously unfit then before you undertake the Workout I advise you to do Qigong and combine this with walking then jogging. Only when you can jog for a full twenty minutes would I say it's okay for you to join my class. And remember, you should always check with your doctor first before beginning any workout programme to make sure that it is suitable for you. These instructions are for guidance only. If you experience any pain or dizziness then stop immediately and seek professional advice. 

The instructions below are meant to be used with the Shaolin Workout Volume 1 DVD so press play and let's get started.

Stamina Training

Your class with me begins with Shaolin Circuit Training. This anaerobic training consists of short bursts of intense exercise. It's very demanding but research has shown that it's one of the most effective ways to build fitness levels and lose weight. 

We begin with press ups. The quality of the press up is more important than the amount of press ups. In the time it takes us to do 10 press ups you do 3. It's the same with the horse stance squats. Keep your back straight and make sure your alignment is correct ( see p128 of my book Instant Health for details of alignment). As we do ten, you do five. Same applies for running. Keep your stomach muscles engaged and instead of doing 100 do 10 or 25. You will get out of breath, you will sweat, your face may get a little red but keep your body relaxed. One of the things we tend to do when the going gets tough is tense up. But this uses more energy. Think of yourself as relaxed as a great boxer or an Olympic runner. 

Stance Training

If you're totally new to martial arts then I recommend you go through the stances in my Instant Health book first. Correct alignment is crucial. If you are older, have back problems or you haven't exercised in a while then keep the stances much much higher than myself and my students. You will still gain the benefit of the stance. These stances build strength, flexibility and coordination. Getting the stances correct is the secret to getting the Shaolin forms perfect so follow them at your own pace. Speed is not important. Getting them right is.

Combination Training

If you are totally new to training then skip this chapter and move onto stretching. As you begin to find the class easier and easier then you can factor in the combination training later on. 


Pause the DVD for each section and take more time for each part of the stretching. This is a time to listen to your body rather than my instruction. Breathe into your stretch and tune into your body to see how far you can go. Please don't be put off by the splits. The splits not only stretches the legs but it also opens the hips too so it's good to aim for the splits and not to worry if you are miles away from the floor. 

Five Basic Kicks

The kicks are another way of increasing flexibility and opening the hips. The Shaolin Way To Flexibility is to use stretching first then power afterwards. This gives a different quality to our stretch. A person who practices yoga may be flexible and able to kick high but their kick will have no speed or power. If you are a martial artist then speed and power are vital. The muscles enjoy being used in different ways. It is good for them.  Do five of each kick rather than ten of each. Take your time and keep your kicks low but straight rather than high with a bent leg.
Maximize Your Power

One of the secrets to retaining energy and having powerful kicks and punches is to stay relaxed and only use power at the end of the kick or the end of the punch. Another trick is to imagine that there's an opponent in the room with you. You don't want to show them how tired or out of breath you are so you need to find ways to control yourself. 

Mixed Level Training

This is another chapter you can leave out until you are able to do the rest of the DVD. Go straight to Qigong. If you have time then run through the whole Eight Treasures Form from Instant Health or The Way Of Qigong Volume 1 then finish with the Instant Health self-massage. This will calm your body down, help your Qi to flow properly, oxygenate your internal organs and you make you feel energized and relaxed. 

Track Your Progress

It's a good idea to make a note of how many press ups, squats and runs you do each time so that you can see how much progress you made.  You'll be surprised at how quickly you progress. And it's not all about the external, it's about the changes that you are making internally. Alongside your growing fitness, you'll find your confidence growing too. I've had many students who have made changes in their life that they've always wanted and their regular Shaolin Workout has helped them to make them.

How Many Times A Week?

If you're training as a martial artist then you need to train 6 days a week, for health and fitness, four times a week is fine. Make sure you keep surprising your body, read my blog post: Are You In A Workout Rut to find out more, and add in some kung fu running from my  youtube video.

When are you ready to move up a class?

Don't get too comfortable. It's good to vary your routine. Once you know the moves and can go through the DVD then you can start to work with Volume 2 and alternate the workouts.

The key to stay motivated is to keep a regular routine.  There has to be a very good reason for you not to do it. Tiredness and not enough time are excuses not valid reasons. Track your progress, stay relaxed and enjoy your training. This is time for you. Forget life and family pressures. By taking time out, you will be able to handle the stress in your life in a much calmer way. You are transforming yourself into a Shaolin Warrior. And rememeber, Shaolin Warriors come in all shapes and sizes.

The Shaolin Workout Bundle: Volume, 1,2 & 3 

Senin, 02 Juli 2012

The Shaolin Way To Happiness

The Buddha said the one thing we all seek is happiness. And my martial art's practice is one of my greatest sources of happiness. The ancient movements of Qigong and Kung Fu that were practiced by monks and nuns thousands of years ago on the mountains of China, give me a feeling of calm and happiness. And I can see that my students feel the same way so I have been interested to read some research that may help us understand why we feel so happy when we practice.

Aerobic exercise triggers brain growth

Recent research by Cambridge University scientists have shown that aerobic exercise stimulates the growth of new brain cells and improves the memory and ability to learn. The study was conducted on two groups of mice, one which had unlimited access to a running machine and the other which did not. The mice were put through a series of memory tests, and the mice that had been running were almost twice as successful as the sedentary mice, which got steadily worse as the tests progressed. Researchers are not yet clear on exactly why exercise triggers the growth of brain cells, but speculate it may be because exercise increases blood flow, or because it elevates certain hormone levels. Exercise has long been known to reduce stress and help with alleviating depressions and this may be because it reduces the level of the hormone cortisol. 

Martial Art’s gives us greater aerobic ability

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.

Meditation has a positive effect on mental health 

On-going research on the brain demonstrates that it can learn, adapt and re-sculpture itself on the basis of experience and training. Just as London cab drivers' grey matter enlarges and adapts to help them store a detailed mental map of the city, a meditator's brains change and adapt. Scientists are starting to become aware of what Shaolin Monks have known for centuries – meditation has a positive effect on mental health. Several neuroscientists in the US have stated that meditation increases brain activity in the areas of the brain controlling emotion, happiness and enthusiasm. Meditation can help us to feel calmer and happier and more understanding of other people.

Martial Arts Is Not Just For Martial Artists

Meditation used to be only practiced by those engaged on a strict religious path, yoga used to be practiced only by Indian Yogis but today, people from all walks of life practice, and more and more people will take up the practice of martial arts. Shaolin martial arts combines aerobic exercise with Qigong and meditation in one fully combined unit, targeting the mind as well as the body. It not only gives us an aerobic workout but it also helps us to relax, focus and maintain balance. 

Yin and Yang Training 

The Shaolin Temple have always emphasized the importance of Yang training (aerobic) which Yin training (Qigong). If a person only does one then they will not gain full benefit of the health they can achieve. Yin and Yang are like the two wings of a bird; we need both so we can fly. 

Qigong not only increases the potency of our martial arts or aerobic activity, it also lengthens our martial art’s life. Of course, an older person doesn't need to train as hard as a young person but they still need to train. It’s down to the crucial percentage factor. How much Yin training and how much Yang training. And I explain this in more detail in my book Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity.

So if you ever feel you don't have enough time to exercise, remind yourself that taking time out for your workout gives you more time. And make sure you do Yin and Yang training to get the most out of your workout. 

The best time to start training? NOW!

Rabu, 27 Juni 2012

Five Fundamental Stances - Gong Bu

The most commonly used Shaolin stance is mabu or horse stance which I wrote about here. In this blog post, I focus on the second most commonly used stance which is: Gong Bu. 

Strengthens the legs.
Strengthens the spine.
Is the key to unlocking the Shaolin forms.
Centers and grounds the mind and body.

Step by Step:
1) Stand straight. Draw your fists to your waist and turn your head to the left.
2) Step your left leg out to the side so your feet are wider than your shoulders and slowly squat into Ma Bu.
2) Turn both legs and bend your left leg as much as you can , keeping your right leg straight. Turn your body to face the left.
3) Remain here for six breaths.

Check list:
It's a good idea to check your stance in the mirror.
Your back foot should be slightly turned in, it shouldn't be completely straight.
Your back foot needs to be in line with your left foot.
Your front knee should be over your front foot.
Is your neck tucked in and your shoulders relaxed?
Are you knees slightly pushed out so they are over your feet?
Are your eyes strong?
Are you gently grabbing the floor with your feet. 
Don't tip the body but keep it straight.

If you have knee or back problems then you need to keep your stance high. If you find the stance is aggravating the problem then you need to stop. There should be no pain when you do this stance.

How to deepen your Gong Bu
Move between Ma Bu and Gong Bu making sure that your head does not lift but your body stays at the same level. Practice the traditional punching techniques that I teach in Shaolin Workout 1 then stop the DVD and practice the punches slowly and with precision.  

It's a good idea for Qigong and Kung Fu students to spend some time working on this stance in the same way that yoga students spend time working on their poses. Our body's tend to be lazy and want to find an easy way out but regular check ups will keep us on the right path. 

Shaolin Stances look easy but they are hard on the legs. If you find them easy then you are not in the stance low enough! The Shaolin stances help us to get in touch with the strength that is already within us. Runners often find that they have more stamina when they practice the Shaolin stances alongside their regular running workout.

Want to learn more?

I teach the Five Fundamental Shaolin Stances in my Rou Quan DVD and in my book - Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity

Rabu, 20 Juni 2012

A Simple Method To Stop Anxiety & Stress

At The Beijing College of Traditional Chinese Medicine & Institute of Qigong Science, EEG results on Qigong practioners showed a predominance of alpha brain waves indicating that Qigong induces a relaxed and focused mind. After just three or four minutes there was a measurable shift of alpha and theta concentration from the rear occipital regions to the frontal lobes. This corresponds to a union of the mind and body from which feelings of peace and harmony arise. 

If you can, it's good to do some of your Qigong training outside. If you live in the city then get up early and go to the park, preferably a place where there are some trees.

Just as we spring clean our house we can also spring clean our body, being outside helps us to clear our stagnant energy and breathe in fresh air. It also reinvigorates our practice. The important thing is to be awake to the practice. It is important not to do Qigong by rote but say to yourself: For these next twenty minutes I'm going to dedicate myself completely to this practice, I'm going to let go of my worries and my thoughts and just do it.
A practice free from doubt and worry is what we mean by heart mind practice. If the mind and heart are dispersed then our Qi will be, and there won't be as much power in the practice. Because we are so used to thinking all the time, at first this may be difficult but the more we practice, the more we will find that our mind and body remembers, and concentration and letting go will come easily. Ironically it is when we are feeling most stressed and tired that we resist the practice, and this is when we need to do the practice most.

You can do your own experiment; measure how much you are thinking at the beginning of the practice and how much you are thinking at the end. Thinking is necessary but if we can't stop then who is the Emperor of our mind? Our thinking or ourselves?

A relaxed mind is a happy and creative mind, we have our best ideas, and are more functional in our day to day life when we are relaxed. 

Want to learn more about Qigong? Visit: http://www.qigongworkout.com/

Rabu, 23 Mei 2012

Live Young

Most Western doctors and researchers describe the ageing of the human body as being similar to the ageing of man-made machines. The damage can be periodically repaired leading to an extension of the machine's functional lifetime, just as is routinely done with cars.  But what if we could postpone the effects of ageing before any damage occurred? 

Aerobic exercise has been shown to prevent memory loss, heart disease, diabetes, depression and obesity. Weight training stops our muscles from shrinking as we get older. But what about our internal organs? Because we can't see them, we tend to only think of them when something goes wrong with them. But it's the internal organs that govern the body. They are the key to living young and having excellent health.

There is only one way of exercising the internal organs and that is through the practice of Qigong and Qigong self-massage.  Qigong is quite literally exercise for the internal organs. Not only does it protect the internal organs, it stimulates them and gets rid of energy blockages  which could lead to illness. The immediate effect is an increase in energy. The long term effect is a slowing down of the ageing process of the body together with prevention of injury and disease.
The Qigong forms I teach in my book and DVDs are the original Buddhist forms from the Shaolin Temple of Zen in China. These are Zen forms and they are practiced with this in mind. There is no need to understand any complicated Qi theory or to concentrate on one particular part of the body. The only instruction is to concentrate on the movement and the breath. That is all. The wisdom of the body knows what to do.  If the mind is too full up with ideas and theory then the wisdom of the body can never manifest.  

The Instant Health self-massage plays a crucial part in exercising the internal organs. It works on many different levels. The bamboo brush works on the surface level, helping to detoxify the body by cleaning out the lymphatic system, softening the skin, removing blockages,  acting as a natural battery charger for the body, and making the Qigong more effective through helping to open the meridian channels.

I have a new improved bamboo brush available from my website, if your brush has Shaolin Temple in black Chinese writing written on the handle then you have this new brush. This new brush is a  stronger design than the last brush and should last for many years. Most people are happy to keep using the bamboo brush. But to go to a deeper level in our Qigong, we need to use a metal brush.

The metal brush is nearly 2kg and if looked after properly will last a lifetime. It took me many years to find someone who could make  this specialised equipment to my specific specifications. The weight, length and number of metal rods needs to be correct so it can work effectively. But how does it work?

Before washing machines were invented, the way to wash our clothes was to beat them against a rock. Some people still clean rugs this way, they hang them on the line and beat the dust out of them. The metal brush works in a similar way. Not only does it detoxify the body, and work on the internal organs like the bamboo brush but the vibrations from the brush go into the very marrow of our bone; cleansing and detoxifying it.  Why is it important to cleanse the bone marrow?

As we get older, the production of  red blood cells start to slow down. This is a major factor in the ageing process. I have no evidence for this but I believe that use of the metal brush, reinvigorates the marrow of our bone so that the production of red blood cells continue at a similar speed as when we were younger.  
Most people who do intensive exercise, for example professional footballers, age quite rapidly and burn out when their in their thirties. Shaolin monks and disciples do as much exercise but do not age or burnout in the same way. This is because we practice Qigong and Qigong self-massage.

I know that many Western people have massage from other people when they need something fixing like an injury or they feel stress or tired. There's nothing wrong with this kind of massage but self-massage aims to prevent the body getting run down, the aim is to prevent disease before it happens.

Many people associate The Shaolin Temple with body conditioning for combat but the temple have a long tradition of self-massage. Here in the West, I know some people find self -massage strange.  All I  can say is that if you haven't tasted coca cola, I can write volumes about the taste but you will never understand until you have actually tasted it for yourself. Self-massage is a vital key to keep your body balanced, healthy and well. Try it and you will see.

Good health not only benefits ourselves but also our family and the rest of society.  It's easy to forget the importance of health when we are healthy. It's only when it's taken away from us do we realise that without we cannot have a rich and fulfilled life without it. So appreciate your health and invest in it by practicing Qigong and Qigong massage for a long and healthy life. 

Selasa, 01 Mei 2012

How To Be Your Own Light

On my daily run, I pass a church which has a notice on the wall : Everything We Do Is A Prayer. Even though this is a Christian church, for me this is a very Zen statement and it reminds me to come back to myself. We tend to put our life into boxes; this is my meditation practice, this is my work, this is my workout... but really it is all the same. It is all an expression of Zen.

It can be hard to keep this awareness. And sometimes people believe that if only they could have a great master who would show them the way, or if only they could go and train in a temple, then they could find true peace and everything would be alright. But this is a fantasy which has nothing to do with Zen. A temple is an organization like any other and it has its own problems. You only have to read the Hui Neng Sutra to understand this. The Buddha said: Don't rely on others. Be your own lamp.

As a young boy at the temple, I soon understood that whatever teaching or philosophy I followed could only work if I put in the work. The teacher gives us the seed and shows us what our potential is but it's only us that can nurture it on a daily basis. We have to find the temple within us and learn how to be our own lamp.

When I teach, I give a minimal amount of instruction - just as my masters gave to me - because I want you to taste the real experience. I don't want to put ideas into your head because then your ego would interfere and get in the way. The ego can be very demanding. It  wants to have an experience in Qigong, it wants to have a beautiful body, it wants to be powerful or win a fight. But this isn't a true or lasting experience therefore it can't lead to true happiness.

The great Japanese swordsman Yagyi Tajima said:

Turn yourself into a doll made of wood; it has no ego, it thinks nothing. Let the body work itself with the discipline it has undergone. This is the way to win.

If we could get out of our own way then we would find that our bodies are naturally wise, we would find that we already have the mind of the Buddha or the Universe and ironically we would then have more chance of gaining the things our ego demands. If we turn everything we do into a prayer then this is one of the ways we can light our own lamp and be a lamp to others.

Shifu Yan Lei teaches a graded path of Shaolin Qigong & Kung Fu. For more information please visit his website: shifuyanlei.com

Senin, 16 April 2012

The Ultimate Health Prescription: 3 Ways To Awaken Your Potential

1) Stop Making Excuses

The most common excuses I hear for not exercising are: I haven't got enough time or I can't afford it.  Exercise gives us more time because it has the potential to give us a longer and healthier life. Not only that, recent research shows that higher earners exercise more. The choice to exercise benefits not only you but your family.

"I can't afford it" is another self-defeating excuse. When I was at the temple, we couldn't afford to eat good quality food so we had to eat a lot of steamed bread so we could have enough energy to train. We never used lack of food as an excuse to stop us training. Ask yourself, what is required as a start up health and fitness investment? You don't need to pay the hefty price of a gym membership. For the price of a few Shaolin Warrior DVDs you get my twenty five years of martial art's experience giving you a lifetime of training.

2) Give Up Waiting For Tomorrow

You already possess the tools for great health, peace and fitness. You don't need to go to the Shaolin Temple or a mountain to gain them. This idea is just a fantasy or a distraction. You can train anywhere and everywhere. All the resources are within you now. You just have to get out of our own way and walk on the path. Making full effort in each moment is enough.

3) Train Like A Newborn Child

The Western world puts a lot of focus on effort and hard work. But nature creates without effort. It's action without action. The Shaolin Qigong and Kung Fu Forms give us access to that state of effortless action. It helps us to tap into the  flow so that we train like a newborn child. This then follows us into our day to day life and our life becomes naturally effortless and harmonious.

For more information on The Shaolin Path To Health, Power And Longevity please visit: shifuyanlei

Rabu, 11 April 2012


When you are training for a fight, it is vitally important that you build up your stamina. A marathon runner has very good stamina but they would never have the stamina to fight in the ring because a fighter’s stamina is totally different. In this article I will concentrate on the first part of a fighter’s stamina training; running. In future articles I will concentrate on bag work, pad work, sparring and body conditioning so that whatever fighting art you practice you can be totally confident that your stamina will really work for you when you go to fight in the ring.


As a fighter you need to vary the way that you run, some days do a short thirty minute aerobic road run, other days do some hill running. Sprint running is also very important, do ten repetitions of 100 or 200 metres twice a week. Other times you should start with a five minutes slow run then one minute slightly faster then four minutes slightly faster again then back to one minute slow again. Continue this three or four times, but start to change the way you run, use footwork, bigger steps, run backwards and then forwards, pretend that you are dodging an opponent, but keep an eye on your stopwatch – 5 - 1 – 4 – 1. Control your breathing. When you want to give up, keep reminding yourself that this strong stamina training is excellent training for the ring, imagine your opponent is here, don’t let him or her beat you, you have to make yourself as strong as you can be.

A journey of a thousand miles

Keep reinvigorating your mind with positive thoughts. Don’t think about the pain or tiredness you are feeling and don’t think about the whole training that lies ahead of you, just focus on this one single step, concentrate on your pacing, your technique, and on doing this one step the best you can.
Remember the famous Tao saying – “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a footstep.” This rings just as true with training as it does with life. And focusing on that one footstep makes a huge difference when you are training. We are so used to our mind going everywhere and being very busy, it is a bad habit that we have got into it, but be strict with your mind, train it to keep coming back, keep coming back to this one step, this one step, and before you know it you have completed your run.

Making friends with the enemy

An important factor to remember when you are doing this training is to keep relaxing your body and letting go of the fatigue. If your muscles start to tense up, find a way to use your mind to relax them. You could use a visualisation technique, for example imagining your muscles are like ice and they are being melted by the sun or another way of dealing with the fatigue is by detaching yourself from yourself, and checking yourself from outside; how are you doing? What do you look like? Find the technique that works for you. Tiredness is something you will have to conqueror on a daily basis, so instead of it being an enemy, you may as well make it your friend.

Kung Fu Journey

In my DVD ‘Kung Fu Journey’, my director Marek Budzynski, insisted on showing what the training was really like on a typical day for a Shaolin disciple. Many people have dreams of being good at fighting or kung fu, but he wanted this DVD not to be like an advert but to show the real grit and hard slog of my training. One morning I went for my usual run at 5.30 am, and there he was with his film crew, filming me running up Parliament Hill in London. While I ran back to the temple, they raced back in their car and were waiting for me in the training hall.

Marek wanted to show real exertion and sweat so the viewer could get a feel for the training. And since watching this DVD, a lot of people have emailed and asked me why I use this weighted jacket when I run and how much it weighs.

Kung Fu Flying

It is 20 kg, and, as you can imagine, it makes running very difficult. When I take it off my body feels so light I feel like I can fly. I then start to do kicks or punches and they are much faster because I have been weighed down with this jacket. It is similar to runners training in higher altitudes, when they come back to a normal altitude it is much easier for them.
The reason they do this is to make the training physically harder than the competition. You need to make your training hard. As hard as you can. But find a coach or teacher so that you are pacing yourself properly. You must only use a weighted jacket when your stamina is at a certain level. This level of training is certainly not for beginners; if your body is not strong enough it can put too much strain on your muscles and potentially damage your joints.


I have done this training since I was fourteen years old. This kind of stamina training is very simple, hard, and boring but I can’t emphasise enough how important it is. Can you imagine if your kicking was like your sprint running? No one would be able to block your kicks. I’ve seen fighters do a lot of pad work and bag work but they never run and when they are kicked their legs can’t take it. As well as building your stamina, it also makes your legs very strong. This along with the circuit training I teach on my kung fu DVDs will keep you fighting fit and youthfully flexible. 

Never press the snooze button

This combination of stamina training is the so-called ‘secret’ behind the Shaolin martial arts. But I think it is the ‘secret’ of success. Hard work and perseverance. Training through boredom, injury, and tiredness. Put your clock on the other side of the bedroom so you can’t reach the snooze button and as soon as you hear the bell, don’t think, get up immediately. Remind yourself why you are doing this training; re-affirm your belief in yourself.

Those who lack belief in themselves will not in turn be believed

I will give you another quote from the Tao; ‘Those who lack belief in themselves will not in turn be believed.’ Believe in yourself. Don’t put limits on yourself. You can achieve much more than you think. And each day do a little bit more and a little bit more, remember don’t think of the journey, just take the steps, and take the steps, and before you know it you will be there.

Rabu, 04 April 2012

Heaven Is Now Or Never

 “Heaven is right where you are standing, and that is the place to train.”
Morihei Ueshiba

Whether we are fat, thin, old, young, healthy or unhealthy, we all share a mind and body that can be trained. If we step onto the path of Shaolin with intellligence and determination, I am confident that we can bring to our life the health and wholeness that we all seek.

Being healthy and whole means we take care of our minds at the same time as we take care of our bodies. Our mind plays a vital part in keeping us healthy. A happy mind makes a healthy body, and the key to happiness or unhappiness is in how we use our mind.

Most of us have minds that roam about like untrained puppies. Our martial arts practice -  whether it’s Qigong, Kung Fu or both - acts as an anchor and tethers our mind.  Once you start to workout with my DVDs, let this become a  refuge from your daily activities. A time to let go of the small self and allow the big self to concentrate on the posture and breathing.

This act of surrender creates an enormous freedom.  We just have to learn how to get out of our own way and once we can do that, we begin to harmonize with the universal life. Through our workout, we come back to ourselves. When our training session is finished and we go back to our daily life, we find that mind is clear and calm. But this clarity and calmness is just a by product. It is always important that we remind ourselves to do our workout without any goal or desire for profit.

 In the West there is a very strong emphasis on the individual and personal choice. But for all of us, our life is not just inside our body but it is a constant exchange with the life of the universe. We continually take in air, food, water, thoughts, energy, ideas, pictures. So where does the individual begin and end?

One thing that we all have in common is we want to be happy. Thich Nhaht Hanh, the great Zen master said that we can only find  heaven in the hear and now. There is no better place or better time or anywhere else to be.  The Qigong and Kung Fu that I teach on my DVDs are the Shaolin Way to Zen. Make this the year where you expect more from yourself and expect nothing. 

Rabu, 28 Maret 2012


At the Shaolin Temple, we get up every morning at five-thirty, and go for a run up the mountain. This is like putting money into a saving’s account. If we do not have the stamina then we will not be able to practice the skill. When we come back from the mountain, we practice five basic stances, five basic kicks and stretching.

Learning martial arts is no different from learning maths or English, if we cannot add two plus two then we cannot progress to algebra, if we cannot read the alphabet then we can never read Shakespeare. This is the reason we study these very basic skills. Only when our body is getting stronger do we then start to learn some internal and external forms, and only when our master feels we are ready do we progress to studying fighting punches and kicks and then start to fight in the ring.

We also practice body conditioning. I specialise in Shaolin Steel Jacket. The reason I specialise in Shaolin Steel Jacket is because I am small – not much taller than 5ft 6 – so when I fight, I have to go into my opponent, and they are nearly always taller and heavier than me, which - without my body conditioning skill - would give them an advantage over me.

 I know it is difficult for many Western people to believe in Qi. Science still has not found a way to prove or disprove it. Excluding the Western understanding of the bodies anatomical system such as the nervous and respiratory system, within the human body there are a network of pathways which we call meridians, they carry Qi through out the body. They are like small rivers which when the body becomes stressed or ill become blocked. The Chinese believe in preventing illness rather than waiting for it to happen so we practice Qi Gong to keep a healthy flow of Qi running through our bodies. Sometimes I think we look after our cars, better than we look after ourselves. We don’t wait for it to break down before we give it gasoline, water, oil, or take it to the garage for a check up, so why do so many of us do that with our bodies?

If we only want to keep healthy, then we will continue to practice healthy forms of Qi Gong all our lives, but if we want to be fighters then we learn to master the Qi and direct it into different parts of our body. The analogy I use is to compare it with the wheels on a car, they are useless without Qi – air – but by pumping simple air into its tyres the car is transformed from a vehicle with a powerful engine that can go nowhere to a vehicle with a powerful engine that can go everywhere.
Body conditioning gives us the confidence to come up against our opponent even if he looks bigger or stronger than us. With the Shaolin Steel jacket technique I put my Qi into my back and my torso and then I am confident that I will be protected from blows. My back and torso is like steel. It is my armour.

All of this training is the planting of the seed. You plant an apple seed you get an apple tree. We plant a fighter’s seed, this means we set our motivation; we want to become an excellent fighter. We train hard - this is the cultivation - and then, after years of training, we start to become the fighter we always wanted to be.

But usually when we first go to fight, we are disappointed in ourselves. Training and fighting are very different. We may be good at training but that doesn’t make us good fighters. As Bruce Lee said, if you can’t hit your target, then what does it mean? And in the beginning, you may find it hard to hit this target who is no longer a pad, a bag or a fellow sparring partner but a determined fighter who wants to win as much as you
Nothing can prepare you for your first fight. But if you have trained consistently then you will know you are strong. You know you did everything to be the best. Doesn’t mean you will win but you will have the confidence to win. If you don’t have confidence then you can never win.

We all want to win. It feels good. But we must remember it is just a stopping point on the way, it is not our ultimate destination. And the Shaolin fighting skills are not a dream, and they are not a film, they are a life. So ask yourself, do you love the Shaolin Martial Arts? If you do then you must continue to train. Through hard training you will begin to understand that you are much more than you thought, through Qi Gong you will have health and energy, through meditation you will develop control over your mind. You will ultimately win the war over your ego. This is the highest martial arts of all, and one, which may take you many lifetimes to achieve.
Shifu Yan Lei offers a graded path of Shaolin Training for health, martial art, self-defence and fighting. For more details visit: