‘Aging is not lost youth but a new stage of opportunity and strength’.
The famous English philosopher, Francis Bacon once said; ‘I will never be an old man. To me, old age is always 15 years older than I am’. To live longer is everybody’s ambition. More and more people around the world are becoming centenarians. China is famous for its largest percentage of centenarians. There is a famous village in China known as the ‘longevity village’. Several studies have been conducted to unravel the Chinese secrets of health and longevity.
A Chinese man who lived 256 years!
In 1930, New York Times reported in an article about a Chinese martial art expert and herbalist, Li- Ching- Yuen who was believed to have lived for more than two and a half centuries. It was in 1933 he died. He was claimed to be born in 1677, even though there was no verifiable records. Any way it was evident that he lived an extra ordinary long life, perhaps the largest period, with vitality and vigor. So it is interesting and inspiring to know more about his life and the secrets of his unusual longevity.
Li Ching Yuen led an active and enthusiastic life. He used to travel a lot for collecting rare herbs like ginseng, lingzi, gogiberry, gotukola etc from the mountain ranges of China. His vast knowledge of herbs and their medicinal properties might have helped him to use them regularly for enhancing his health and longevity. He also used to eat wild and fresh mushrooms to boost his energy level.
Li was a firm believer in exercises. He learned qigong exercise and breathing techniques from an old hermit. He believed that it was his herbal diet and regular exercise and breathing techniques which helped him to live for such an unusually long period with perfect health and well being.
It was in 1749, at the age of 71, Li joined the Chinese army as a martial art instructor. He was leading a very active and enthusiastic life even after his retirement from army. He continued his business of gathering and selling herbs of various kinds.
Li was highly respected and loved by the people in his village and community. It was reported that he married 23 times and had about 200 children. The Chinese government celebrated his 200th birthday in 1877. During the occasion of the birthday celebrations he was asked about the secret of his unbelievable longevity and health. For that he replied; ‘Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog’. Time magazine honored him by publishing a lead article about him titled ‘Tortoise Pigeon Dog’ in its 1933, may 15th issue, quoting his wise words revealing the secret of his amazing long life.
Li had disclosed that his inner peace, tranquil and stress free mind, regular physical and breathing exercise and a herbal diet might have helped him to live such a long life with vibrant health, vigor, and vitality. This reminds us the wise words of Sai Bhabha, an Indian hermit; ‘the secret of perfect health is keeping the mind always cheerful; never worried, never hurried and never bored’.
Longevity secrets from China
An American Cardiologist , John Day visited China to study about the Chinese health secrets. During his study he came to know about Bapan village which was popularly known as the Longevity village. It was a remote Chinese village without any of the modern amenities. There were not even hospitals and doctors. But the villagers were amazingly healthy, exuberant and lived longer. The village had the highest percentage of centenarians in the world.
Dr. Day conducted scientific probes about the health and longevity secrets of the villagers and the centenarians. He also co authored a book named ‘The Longevity Plan: Seven Life Transforming Lessons from Ancient China’.
Dr. Day identified seven secrets of longevity from the Bapan village of centenarians.
- A diet consisting mostly of fresh organically grown fruits and vegetables, roots, legumes and nuts. Bapan villagers eat meat rarely and fish frequently.
- Warm and strong social connections, helping and respecting each other. Social support system is very strong there.
- A positive happy and optimistic, attitude about life, believing in a better tomorrow.
- Moving without sitting still. Bapan villagers go out and do hand farming in the fields and move around regularly. They are physically active throughout the day.
- A regular and disciplined routine. They wake up early, eat and go to bed at the same time every day. They live in harmony with the natural circadian rhythm.
- Clean and pure environment. Bapan village is so isolated and free of modern contaminants like pesticides pollutants and other chemicals. They are blessed with clean air, pure water, organic fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Being passionate and interested in something meaningful, even in the old age. Everybody wakes up enthusiastically in the morning with a plan and goal in mind.
Dr. Day found that Bapan villagers were having a deep connection to nature, to earth, to family, to friends and to community. This is a great positive factor for their health and long life.
Some believe that longevity is depended on the genetic factors. But the modern researches have shown that we are not the prisoners of our D.N.A but can be the masters of our longevity. A research conducted in 3000 identical twins proved that the genetic factor in longevity is only 25% and the balance 75% depends on our life style. So your health and longevity is in your hands. As the famous Japanese artist Yok Ono aptly pointed out; ‘There is long life ahead of you and its going to be beautiful as long as you keep loving and hugging each other’.
He is a Human Resource Consultant, National Trainer, and Counselor. Formerly he was the Deputy Chief Engineer, Kerala State Electricity Board and is still working as an external faculty of HRD Programmes of KSEB. He is also a faculty of Department of Management Studies, Mar Augusthinose College, Ramapuram, under M.G.University, Kerala. He is the PG course co-ordinator of MHRM.
He is a columnist in several Magazines, like ‘Business Deepika’, ‘Creative Business’, ‘Donbosco’ etc. His articles have been published in many magazines and journals. His several speeches have been aired by All India Radio. His interviews on various subjects have been telecasted by Power Vision TV.
He is the author of five best-selling books
- ‘Stress-Manassasthra- Aathmeeya Pariharangel’. (Current Books, Thrissur) 4th Edition
- Vijayiyude Vyakthithwam (Current Books, Thrissur)
- Jeevitham Santhushtamakan, Nithya Yauvanam Nedan.(CSS, Thiruvalla)2ndEdition
- Emotional Intelligence-Jeevithavijayathinu (CSS, Thiruvalla)
- Vijayarahsyangal (Current Books, Thrissur)
As a trainer, he has conducted more than a thousand seminars and workshops for teachers, parents, students, executives and others, on several subjects like Stress Management, Time Management, Personality Development, Emotional Intelligence and Spiritual intelligence for Excellence, Communicative Skills, Assertiveness, Motivation, Study Skills, Effective Parenting, Counselling Skills etc. He is an external training faculty of Power Engineers Training and Research Centre of KSEB. He is an external faculty of IMG Cochin. He is also the Secretary of Upasana Cultural Centre, Thodupuzha.