It's better to do five minutes of focused practice than thirty minutes of unfocused practice. This is why I've created my free 5-minute Shaolin Zen Workout. When you're traveling or immensely busy, you can easily slot this into your life. While this workout isn't going to make you a great martial artist, it will help connect your mind and body and calm your thoughts so you can have a focused, flowing day.
The Buddha compared our mind to a wild elephant. We tether it through our Qigong and Kung Fu practice. Even with five minutes a day you can train like a Shaolin Monk if you follow these four steps.
1. Turn off your phones and computers.
Switch off your phone or turn it to aeroplane mode It's not enough to switch it to silent as you'll still be interrupted by the vibration. You can't focus on your workout with distractions from a phone.
2. Check your state of mind and see what's going on.
You don't need to get too involved with the emotional state of your mind but be aware of the energy and texture of the mind. Is it sluggish? Distracted? Stressed or anxious? Don't judge it and don't get involved, simply be aware then begin your workout.
3. When you first begin your practice, check your state of mind and see what's going on.
This is advice the Buddha gave to his disciples about the level of concentration needed to meditate. You're not the limited, person you think you are. The natural mind is the voice of stillness. Many people think that being still means being sleepy but this is not true! Your mind needs to be sharp, wide awake and aware of every thought that arises and every movement your body does. When your mind starts thinking of something else very gently bring it back. Don't try to stop what is going on in your mind but merely observe it.
4. Once you've finished your practice, check in again.
Shaolin training offers access to the true power of your mind. The quality of your mind will have shifted - even a little - to clarity and spaciousness. As you continue on your Shaolin Zen journey, pain, sadness, stress and anxiety will no longer disrupt your life as forcefully as they used to. From a spacious and relaxed state of well-being you will be able to see your problems more clearly.
We tend to complicate our life but really Shaolin is that simple. All we do is link breath and movement together and train like a warrior as if there is no tomorrow. There is no future time. We have no energy left in reserve! Your Shaolin Skill can't grow unless you're fully present. The Buddha said it is your mind which makes the world. A peaceful mind creates a peaceful world.
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