Shaolin Forms. What's the point of them? Haven't they had their day? Aren't there more efficient ways to exercise the body? Not if you want to awaken every cell in their body.
Awaken The Body
Shaolin Forms teach the many muscle groups in our body to work together. They are the only exercise I've come across where every muscle is engaged and you're simultaneously building flexibility, strength, endurance, balance, and power. These ancient forms come from nature, they awaken the body, helping us to let go of our small self and experience a connection with the very fabric of the Universe. They then teach us how to move in our modern life, whether that's carrying our groceries home or climbing the stairs to the subway. Everything becomes part of our training: total mind-body wellness
Circuit training in the gym consists of squats with weights, press ups, and lunges. There's nothing wrong with this kind of training but it looks monotonous and doesn't have the gracefulness of the Shaolin forms. Shaolin forms work the legs as hard as any squat or lunge and there's a purpose to it, both self-defence, strength and for the health of the mind and body.
Realize Your True Potential
Shaolin challenges us physically and mentally to prepare us for the physical and mental challenges that arise as we go through our life. They help us deal with the challenges of modern life, benefiting us mentally and physically from realizing our body’s true, natural potential.
Shaolin Forms need to be practiced thousands of times for them to become really yours. They need to feel almost like you own the form, it's then that you've mastered it. Break the form down, practice a bit of it, slow it down, speed it up, do it with your eyes closed and see how it feels. Work on the stances, check them in the mirror. Listen to your breathing and forget about the movement, when you're standing in a queue, can you still remember the form?
Health is your Birthright
I've seen my students transform into alert, confident, strong, grounded people with the confidence to go after what they want. Shaolin forms re-align the body, mind and spirit. Your new normal becomes healthy, flexible, strong and centered. This, I believe, is your birthright.
Shifu teaches forms in The Way of Qigong Volume 1,2,3, Shaolin Workout, 1 & 2, Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity and Rou Quan.