This purpose of our Shaolin Arts Online project has been to give people an introduction to the martial arts of the Shaolin temples in China from the comfort of their homes. This series, however, is taking a slightly new direction, but with the same origin.
We have to remember that the people who designed and practiced these martial arts were not warriors; they were monks. Their training, all the way through, was to promote longevity and to strengthen the body and mind for a spiritual practice. For Strength and Focus, we’re stripping away the martial aspects to make these teachings more accessible to the general public as a health practice.
Strength and Focus is a 4-week program designed to help you:
- calm your nervous system
- manage stress
- focus your energy
- connect your strength
- build mindfulness
How It Works
Our emotional reaction to stress, rather than the cause of it, is often the origin of many uncomfortable physical and mental states, i.e. suffering. If we could improve our management of these reactions, we would be better able to focus on issues under our control and let go of the ones that are not.
This video series aims to train these healthy responses by purposefully introducing manageable, self-induced stress and offering guidance on maintaining equanimity through them.
The “manageable stress” takes several forms. First, it’s the physical pain of stationary stance training, which sets the ground work of this practice by stressing and thus strengthening our legs. Next, it’s meditation, where we move through the more mental stresses of boredom, inability to focus, and the uncomfortable turmoil of thinking of the past or future. Then, through slow, controlled movement through the stances we originally learned. Finally, we introduce the I Chin Ching, which are a series of challenging full-body postures that comprise the original kung fu training of the Shaolin temples.
Introducing stress to your body or mind usually causes one of two responses:
- Flight – you want to get away from the pain as fast as possible. This feels like an anxiety to be done with what you’re doing.
- Fight – your nervous system kicks into overdrive and you create a lot of tension as a way to get through. This is much like the expression “grit your teeth and bear it.”
By noticing what reactions manifest during these different stressful practices, we can begin to calmly let go of them before they overtake us; reprograming our our body’s natural fight or flight instincts.
This is a 4-week video program with the goal of helping you develop your own practice to keep yourself grounded when you need it most.
- Staying Present – By practicing relaxing through uncomfortable sensations, and let go of the feelings of wanting to run away from them, we are actually training the mind to stay present. The benefits to your everyday life of being able to withstand more pain or discomfort while maintaining equanimity should be immediately apparent.
- Calm Strength – Training your mind in this way creates a feedback loop into your life because when you’re getting agitated, you rely on the mind being in charge and you stay calm, which makes you stronger and healthier and further strengthens the mind’s resolve.
- Resiliency – By feeling and working through prescribed stress, we gain confidence in our resiliency. We can begin to see outside pressure as a teacher, rather than a threat, which opens up a whole new, exciting way of living. This way of life is ultimately beneficial to the world, because as we become calmer, we give off less stress to others, thus promoting peace in the world around us.
Enjoy your training!