My name is Philip Deal and I am the creator of Lazy Monkey Yoga which is a Taoist form of Yoga based in Chinese Traditional Medicine and Qigong. It is a complete Yoga system that uses modern meridian theory for deep stretching, breathwork, and moving meditation. It's spiritual roots are in the Taoist and Shinto religions. Stick around and learn more!
Lazy Monkey Yoga's Origins
Chinese Traditional Medicine
One of China's great contributions to the world has been Chinese Traditional Medicine and Qigong. No matter where you travel in the world you will find a practitioner of acupuncture, cupping, acupressure, reflexology, gua sha, shiatsu, and other massage techniques. Yin and Yang theory, the meridian channels, and circulation of Qi (pronounced Chee) is the basis for diagnosing ailments and prescribing remedies for healing. The word Qigong can be used to describe a variety of exercises and meditations for the purpose of moving energy through the body. Lazy Monkey Yoga's complete system of wellness is Chinese Traditional Medicine, not something loosely based on it. Lazy Monkey Yoga is a form of Qigong that incorporates all of Chinese medicine's healing modalities much like Tai Chi.
Chinese and Japanese Martial Arts
The Shaolin style of Kung Fu is regarded as one of the first institutionalized Chinese martial arts. It's founder Bodhidharma was also the monk who introduced Buddhism into China. When Buddhist and Taoist concepts merged it gave birth to Chan Buddhism. When all things Chinese made its way into Japan, Chan Buddhism was further influenced by the Shinto religion and developed into Zen Buddhism. Lazy Monkey Yoga's physical discipline adheres to the same movement principles as Ju-Jitsu, Aikido, and Judo (the gentle way). We do not use force to practice, we allow our practice to evolve organically and in harmony with Great Nature. We believe in working smarter, not harder. There is no end goal. Lazy Monkey Yoga has unique sequencing and flows that differentiates it from other Yin Yoga styles and contains elements of the Martial Arts.
The Shinto Faith
Shinto is the indigenous religion of the people of Japan. It has no founder, no holy books, and no dogmas. It's rituals extend back to a time before written history. Shinto is both animistic and pantheistic and has been practiced continuously for at least the past 14,000 years. The ultimate goal of Shinto is to be happy, luminous, and one with Great Nature. Shinto and Zen Buddhism have co existed harmoniously with each other in Japan since the middle ages and have deeply influenced each other. The spiritual practices of Lazy Monkey Yoga are based on Shinto ritual and philosophy.
Lazy Monkey Yoga
Lazy Monkey Yoga is taught as a 60-75 minute long class, although it can be extended to two full hours of stretching, moving meditation, and breathwork. This is the Yin (passive) practice and it's primary form. There is a Yang (active) side to LMY that we just call "hand balancing" and is full of Yogic calisthenics that focus on quadrupedal movement, handstands, and core strength. Regardless of whether we are being passive or active while practicing we always adhere to the principles of natural movement and gentleness. Besides the Yoga practice we use other healing techniques such as Qigong massage and energy work as well as herbalism to stay well.
Lazy Monkey Yoga is nothing special and the sequences are easy to learn. It's easy to practice on your own and easy to teach. Hence the name Lazy Monkey. Philip's Chinese zodiac animal also happens to be the monkey! So it is appropriate in every way. Please consider studying this gentle practice. It's based on the simple principle of balance and harmony. Even though the Yoga practice is easy, the study of Chinese Traditional Medicine can last a lifetime. The philosophy and Shinto way of life can be cultivated everyday from now into eternity.