Search Books:

Join our mailing list:

Bookmark and Share

New Articles

The Mystery Murder Case of the Century
by Robert Tanenbaum

Which Brass Ring for You: Popularity or Success?
by JV Venable

Autistic Students: Are We Asking Them to Do Their Best While They Feel Their Worst?
by Janet Lintala

The Enemy Within
by Jason Riley

by Anna Godbersen

view more>>

Recent Placements

Ross W. Greene
Boston Globe
How to raise human beings who are ready for the real world

Paul Smith
Sell With A Story review

Paul Smith
Read to Lead
How to Capture Attention, Build Trust & Close the Sale

Ross W. Greene
Washington Post
Child psychologist: This is how to raise human beings who are ready for the real world

Leland Faust
A Capitalist's Lament: How Wall Street Is Fleecing You and Ruining America

view more>>

The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior's Way Excerpt from The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior's Way

by Sifu Shi Yan Ming

Bookmark and Share


As I go through my day today, I will remind myself to relax. Stay loose. 
Be flexible in my body and mind.

It's most important to stay loose and relaxed in mind and body. To enjoy your life, you must be relaxed. When we were children, our bodies were loose, relaxed, and flexible. We could do splits, flips, jumps, and twists without thinking about it. We were pure mind in babies' bodies.

But you're never too old -- we just get too tense, too stiff. We think too much. One of the most important lessons you can learn doing the Shaolin Workout is how to get back that childlike relaxation and flexibility -- to be at home in your body again. It makes no difference if you are in your twenties, fifties, or eighties. Relax. Never feel old. Tell yourself you're not getting older every year -- you're getting younger!

Sifu explains that there are two kinds of meditation: action meditation and no-action meditation. In the West, we're most familiar with the no-action kind. We can all form images of Buddhist monks sitting with their legs crossed and their eyes closed, still and silent, for hours and hours, as they strive to achieve enlightenment.

The only problem is that too much no-action meditation can be as bad for your joints, your back, your neck, as sitting at a computer all day. This is what Da Mo saw happening to the monks at Shaolin. They spent so much time sitting in meditation that their bodies were as stiff as wooden dolls. He saw that Ba Tuo had not given them the proper tools to adapt Buddhism to Chinese life. Why do we meditate? To cleanse our minds and open our hearts. But if we burden our bodies with tension and pain, our minds and hearts can't be cleansed. Your mind and your heart and your body are inseparable.

Kung fu is action meditation. The goal of kung fu is to relax your body and your mind, to extend your body and your mind, to cleanse your body and your mind. To be relaxed in your body, and relaxed in your life, is how you live fully in the present, experiencing this moment, here and now.

In our modern world, there's another benefit to action meditation. We all have lives, jobs, families. We have wonderful things coming into our lives every day. Who among us has the time to sit and meditate for hours a day, like monks in a monastery? As you'll find out, a half-hour of action meditation can be as liberating, for your body and your mind and your heart, as several hours of no-action meditation.

Kung fu and martial arts represent a refined form of action meditation. But any exercise program can be a form of action meditation -- running, swimming, playing tennis, riding a bike. In the West, we speak of that point in an exercise routine where we "get in the zone," where we "release endorphins," where we achieve "the runner's high." Those are all Western ways of approaching the same concept: action meditation. A relaxed mind in a relaxed body.

As you go through your day today, relax. Stay loose. Be flexible in your body and in your mind. Enjoy your beautiful life every minute of the day. 

Reprinted from: The Shaolin Workout: 28 Days to Transforming Your Body and Soul the Warrior's Way by Sifu Shi Yan Ming 2006 Rodale Inc. Permission granted by Rodale, Inc., Emmaus, PA 18098. Available wherever books are sold or directly from the publisher by calling (800) 848-4735 or visit their website at