In over 3 decades of researching and practicing the ancient world’s top systems of spiritual life, health maintenance and martial arts, one of the more interesting questions that I’ve had the privilege of unraveling is the secrets of longevity and anti-aging.
Naturally, the older I get, the more interesting it becomes!
1. Taoist Longevity “Stats”
There’s no doubt that the most advanced longevity / anti-aging science ever developed in the ancient world comes from Chinese Taoist tradition. Although no hard and fast “statistics” in the modern sense have been preserved, it’s quite certain that Taoists developed a holistic approach to longevity that regularly and predictably allowed its practitioners to sail past their 100th birthdays in great health.
The mysterious case of Li Ching Yun, who passed away in the mid-1930s at the reputed age of 250 is a case in point. The Chinese Government had sent Li congratulatory telegrams every 50 years since he turned 100. Could they have made a mistake? Possibly. But even if the authorities were off in their calculations by a full century, Li Ching Yun would still have been an outstanding testimonial for the science of longevity.
2. Taoist Longevity Secrets
This naturally gives rise to the question of what exactly brings about this extraordinary and predictable longevity we see in Taoist practitioners. Is it their diet? Is it their meditation-induced calm? While these may be important contributing factors, they really don’t explain much. After all, the often wandering life-style of Taoists throughout history is not the basis for a stable and predictable diet. And if meditation were the key, we’d expect to see consistent longevity among Japanese Zen masters and Tibetan Lamas, but we definitely do not.
So what did the Taoists do that others didn’t? The only factor left is the careful and detailed cultivation of the Qi or life-force. While it’s true that you find Qi Gong or “energy exercises” also in Chinese Buddhist tradition, with some roots in India and Tibet, it was clearly in Taoist circles that Qi Gong underwent its highest development and was fully integrated into a deliberate system of longevity and anti-aging.
Once you’ve learned about the 7 spirals of disease that develop in every person (you can use the reference link below to do so), you’ll realize that no matter how beneficial a good diet and consistent meditation are, neither one will prevent or reverse these disease spirals. Only proper energy work can do that.
3. Circulating and Refining Your Qi for Health and Longevity
What we now call Qi Gong or “energy skill” is a huge family of exercises that’s grown up over the past 2-3 millennia. Taoists consider it more varied and more effective than most of what passes for Indian Hatha Yoga and, in fact, sometimes express reservations about some of Yoga’s breathing and energy manipulation methods.
The big question for me decades ago as a complete newbie to this was, “what should I practice?” Eventually I realized that not all of what passed for Qi Gong is either authentic or useful. I’ve been taught some Qi Gong methods by people who had clearly not received the “whole enchilada” and were missing vital aspects to their exercises. Other systems claim to produce this or that benefit when it simply isn’t true. The existence of so many mediocre systems and so many systems using the same venerable names makes it well-nigh impossible for the uninitiated to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Then, of course, there are advanced systems you can’t possibly learn without mastering the basics.
4. So, What Qi Gong Will Get Me to 100 in Great Health?
Sorting out all this took me years and years. In the end, though, I verified there are 5 Qi Gong systems that are critically important, both because of their incredible health benefits and because you can’t progress further without them. And they are:
The Self-Massage Set
Bone Marrow Cleansing
Energy Circulation (the Micro-Cosmic Orbit)
Of course, there are numerous versions of each, and not all are equally effective. Some are plain fraudulent. Others are artificially and needlessly complex. And a lot has to do with exactly how you perform the exercises. Do them right and you’ll enjoy great health. Do them wrong and you’re just waving your arms.
So if you’re seriously interested in cultivating longevity and enjoying suppleness of body and mind into deep old age, these are the 5 Qi Gong systems that deserve your attention. To learn more about how these systems work and how they reverse the 7 spirals of disease, you can visit the link below.
~ Dr. Symeon Rodger