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Showing posts from March, 2010

Seven Tips To Maximize Your Flexibility

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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…

Powerful Tools For Peace And Longevity

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“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 t…

How To Use Failure As A Pathway To Wisdom

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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. …

Simple Steps To Relieve Stress and Uncertainty

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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…

What is Shaolin Kung Fu?

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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…

What is Qigong Chi Gong?

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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.

Qigong History

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 a…

New To My Blog? Start Here

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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…