The following is an excerpt from the book The Shaolin Workout
by Sifu Shi Yan Ming
Published by Rodale; May 2006;$29.95US/$39.95CAN; 1-59486-400-4
Copyright 2006 Sifu Shi Yan Ming
My heart is in harmony with my mind. My mind is in harmony with my chi. My chi is in harmony with my power.
There are intrinsic harmonies between certain parts of the body. Your hands are in harmony with your feet. Your elbows are in harmony with your knees. And your shoulders are in harmony with your hips. As you continue to train the warrior's way, you will begin to find all the muscles and joints in your body working in harmony, giving you a strength and endurance you've probably never felt before. The Shaolin Workout trains your body from head to toe. No single muscle or limb can be anywhere near as strong as when all your muscles work together.
These physical harmonies reflect spiritual and mental harmonies: Your heart is in harmony with your mind. Your mind is in harmony with your chi. Your chi is in harmony with your power.
These are inseparable relationships. You can't separate your heart from your mind, or your mind from your body. The physical and the mental are linked. When your body is weak and tired, so is your mind. When your body falls asleep, your mind stops working, too. And by the same token, if you exhaust your mind, your body will be exhausted, too. If you're thinking and worrying so much at night that you can't rest, the next day your body will have no chi. You'll be doing your workout Sleeping Style!
That is why we relax both our bodies and our minds. We want flexible minds in flexible bodies.
If you find yourself getting stressed-out today -- at your desk at work, in a long line at the supermarket, wherever it is -- take a moment to relax. If your mind is stressed, your body tenses. You feel the muscles in your neck tighten, and your shoulders hunching. Your chest constricts, and you can't breathe right. You can give yourself a headache or stomachache.
When you're tense, you can't celebrate your beautiful life. Loosen up. Relax your body and your mind. Stand up from your desk and do your neck stretches and shoulder rotations. Or do them standing right there in that supermarket line. Who cares if other people are watching? Untense those muscles, and you'll relieve some of the mental stress as well. It's not magic or mumbo jumbo. It's your body and mind working in harmony. And now that you're relaxed, you'll see how much easier it is to get through the task at hand. A relaxed mind in a relaxed body allows the chi to flow and releases your power.
Try it today. You'll see.
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 www.rodalestore.com.
Sifu Shi Yan Ming, a 34th-generation Shaolin warrior monk, is respected not only in the martial arts world but also in the entertainment world by stars like Jet Li, Jackie Chan, Wesley Snipes, and the Wu-Tang Clan. His kung fu classes have been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, New York Daily News, and Entertainment Weekly. Brian Gray of Inside Kung Fu magazine has called him a "living treasure of China." He has also appeared on the Discovery Channel, MTV, and CNBC, among other major networks. Sifu Shi Yan Ming lives in New York City.