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