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The Breath Of The Enlightened Ones

When I was 15, I injured my back and my doctor told me I could never train again. I loved Shaolin Kung Fu so much that I didn't listen to him and - even though I was in considerable pain - I went back to the Shaolin Temple and continued with my training. Nearly thirty years later, I’m still in love with Shaolin and I'm still training. I generally workout 3 hours a day and I teach 4 - 6 hours per day. That training and teaching takes a lot of energy! The only reason I can sustain it is because of Qigong.

Don't tell anyone but Qigong is not my favorite workout. I much prefer Sanshou and Kung Fu. But I like the benefit and the feeling of calm afterwards. At the Shaolin Temple, the aim of Qigong is to make our body become its own doctor. But what does that actually mean? The body is constantly regulating itself. Ever tried to loose weight and found it hard? That's because even our body fat - frustratingly for us - regulates itself. Eat less and our metabolism slows down to compensate. The aim of Qigong is to create a more harmonious regulation of the body. Stress - one of the major causes of illness and also belly fat through the production of cortisol - melts away, breathing is calmed, and the body’s automatic wisdom takes over. 

The 8 Treasures Qigong is possibly the most famous Qigong in the world. Once the Qigong moved out of the temple - like Chinese whispers - other variations were taught. I can't testify to the effectiveness of these. The one that I refer to in this article is the original Shaolin Temple 8 Treasures Qigong.

The founder of Zen, Bodhidharma (Damo) created this Qigong because the monks were suffering from the same problems we suffer from today. They were sitting for long periods of time and this was weakening their body. Of course, they weren't sitting in offices in front of computers. They were sitting in temples in meditation in their quest to gain enlightenment.  A Shaolin Monk took 8 of the most effective movements from the longer Qigong that Damo created for the Shaolin monks and called it The 8 Treasures. It's also called 8 Brocades or Ba Buan Jin.

I teach the 8 Treasures Qigong in my streaming course Longevity Qigong.  means that you can see the movement and you can also read a break down of the movement so you can learn it effectively. I've had many students who trained online and then came to me for a private session to check it they're practicing correctly. This gives me an opportunity to see if the book and DVD are an effective teaching method and I'm pleased to say they are because my student's training is correct.

It's no different than following a recipe (my students tell me, I've never read a cookery book in my life). As long as you follow the instructions, you can learn very effectively.

The biggest challenge in learning from home is not whether you're doing it correctly but staying motivated. Can you imagine not drinking coffee? Or brushing your teeth? Or taking your clothes off before you go to bed? This is because all of these things are a habit for you.

Will power runs out but habit lasts a lifetime. The beauty of the 8 movements is that they can be broken down so if you only have 5 minutes then do 5 minutes. Do them at the same time and on the same day every week. Your body will crave your Qigong practice as if it's the most delicious food you've ever tasted. Delicious food releases endorphins in our body - which is one of the reasons many people eat when they're stressed. Qigong releases endorphins too! So next time you feel stressed, rather than reaching for that piece of chocolate cake - do Qigong!

The Instant Health Massage is an integral part of the practice but if you don't have time to do it after your Qigong practice, do it after your bath or shower either in the evening or the morning. It's also great to do after your workout. Focus on the muscles that are tight and the parts of your body that feels tender. These are meridian blockages and you can massage them for longer.

But how do you know if you're doing Longevity Qigong correctly? Your face will look younger, your eyes will be brighter, your skin will glow, you will feel grounded and calmer throughout the day, your tipping point for stress will be much lower, and you will have more energy. If this isn't happening then email me for advice. 

 If you have a recurring or nagging injury, back ache, high blood pressure, pre-menstrual tension, menopausal problems, injuries, high and low blood pressure, the 8 Treasures Qigong may help. But how can it help with all of these numerous problems? Because it taps into the body’s automatic wisdom and realigns the body so it works at its optimal level. 

Please share this article and share your experience of Qigong in the comments below. And if you haven't tried Qigong yet, then click here  to start your Qigong journey today. 



  • Jim Smith

    I have had some limited exposure to Qigong, and have seen a couple demonstrations in my life. It is definitely very powerful, mind-opening, and life changing. However, without a direct connection to the ancestors and their teachings, those of us who cannot study at the Shaolin temple are left with only guesses as to the authenticity of the information. It is truly an absolutely remarkable treasure you have given the world with your work here on this website, and the information you put out for people to benefit from. I would love to interview you at some point if possible. All relevant contact information has been sent to the contact form on your website. Thank you for your amazing work, Shifu!

  • Steve Urso

    I have consistently practiced from your Qigong book then DVD for 2 years now even though I first got the book back in 2009. I had several serious health conditions like pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, gout, arthritis and obesity. All of those conditions have gone and I’ve lost 125 lbs. Qigong, healthy food, and meditation has given me a second chance to live life fully. I’m 50 years old now but truly feel as good if not better than when I was 33.Qigong for health and longevity works! Thank you Shifu Yan Lei.

  • Susanne

    I used the book at first, and yesterday I downloaded the DVD. It is so instructive and good! Much better using them together. But, dont use only the DVD…you will love the text in the book and it will also help you to understand even more. Keep on doing your good work spreading the shaolin to us, shifu. Thank you!

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