An excerpt of lessons to long life from a 256 year old...
According to legend, Mr. Li Qing Yun (1677–1933) was a Chinese medicine physician, herbal expert, qigong master, and tactical consultant. He was said to have lived through nine emperors in the Qing Dynasty to be 256 years old.
His May 1933 obituary in Time Magazine, titled “Tortoise-Pigeon-Dog,” revealed Li’s secrets of longevity: “Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog.”
Mr. Li is said to have had quite unusual habits in his daily living. He did not drink hard liquor or smoke and ate his meals at regular times. He was a vegetarian and frequently drank wolfberry (also known as goji berry) tea.
He slept early and got up early. When he had time, he sat up straight with his eyes closed and hands in his lap, at times not moving at all for a few hours.
In his spare time, Li played cards, managing to lose enough money every time for his opponent’s meals for that day. Because of his generosity and levelheaded demeanor, everyone liked to be with him.
Mr. Li spent his whole life studying Chinese herbs and discovering the secrets of longevity, traveling through provinces of China and as far as Thailand to gather herbs and treat illnesses.
Dan Buettner, author of “The Blue Zones: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest,” researches the science of longevity.
All of these groups—Californian Adventists, Okinawans, Sardinians, and Costa Ricans—live to be over 100 years of age at a far greater rate than most people, or they live a dozen years longer than average. He calls the places where these groups live “blue zones.”
According to Buettner’s research, all blue-zone groups eat a vegetable-based diet. The group of Adventists in Loma Linda, California, eat plenty of legumes and greens as mentioned in the Bible. Herders living the in the highlands of Sardinia eat an unleavened whole grain bread, cheese from grass-fed animals, and a special wine.
Researchers have also foud proven effects from meditation:
They found that the meditators “showed a pronounced shift in activity to the left frontal lobe,” reads a 2003 Psychology Today article. “This mental shift decreases the negative effects of stress, mild depression, and anxiety. There is also less activity in the amygdala, where the brain processes fear.”
Also, many cultures have no concept of sentient retirement and yet, remain healthy into their later years via lives that involve physical activity, social bonding, chore work and even neccisary gardening:
Interestingly, none of these centenarians exercise purposely as we Westerners who go to the gym do. “They simply live active lives that warrant physical activity,” Buettner said. They all walk, cook, and do chores manually, and many of them garden.
Meanwhile Western civilization is still taking it's time on Qi Gong, a practice that has shown proven effects and is still mainly most popular in most eastern countries. Qi Gong excells as a method of fostering basic awareness of body and breath, coordinated with simple movements, with the aim of cultivating smooth flow of qi to promote health.
Qi Gong practice has a long way to go before it becomes as mainstream as other traditional methods of health cultivation. It will have to adapt, just as yoga has, to meet some of the expectations of our fitness-oriented culture. I'm confident that if we can lead our students and patients to the gateway of feeling-awareness, we can preserve what is unique to these time-tested methods. As the baby-boomers age and the gym-going culture realizes that peak fitness is not a viable (or even desirable) goal, Qi Gong will become an increasingly attractive alternative.