Category: Health & Fitness
Published on Wednesday, 26 April 2017 00:00
Written by Noel Lee
The longest a person has ever lived (besides the crazy years of biblical characters) is Li Ching Yuen who lived a fulfilling 256 years, and he isn’t a myth of a legend!
A New York Times article dating back to 1930 stated that Wu Chung-chieh, a professor of the Chengdu University, discovered Imperial Chinese government records from 1827 congratulating Li Ching-Yuen on his 150th birthday, and further documents later congratulating him again on his 200th birthday in 1877.
In 1928, a New York Times correspondent wrote that many of the old men in Li’s neighborhood vouched for him and asserted that their grandfathers knew him when they were boys, and that he at that time was a grown man.
At just 10 years old, Li Ching Yuen reportedly began dabbling in herbalism, where he gathered herbs in mountain ranges and learned of their potency for longevity. For almost 40 years, he survived on a diet of herbs such as lingzhi, goji berry, wild ginseng, he shoo wu and gotu kola and rice wine.
In 1749, at the age of 71, he joined the Chinese armies to teach martial arts. Li was said to be a much-loved figure in his community, marrying 23 times and fathering over 200 children.
According to the generally accepted tales told in his province, he was able to read and write as a child, and by his tenth birthday had traveled in Kansu, Shansi, Tibet, Annam, Siam and Manchuria gathering herbs. For the first hundred years he continued at this occupation.
Subsequently, he switched to selling herbs gathered by others. He sold lingzhi, goji berry, wild ginseng, he shou wu and gotu kola along with other Chinese herbs, and lived off a diet of these herbs and rice wine.
You may think that 256 years is a crazy amount of time to stay alive but there are others who are rumored to surpass his record. According to one of Li’s disciples, Li had once encountered an even older 500-year-old man, who taught him Qigong exercises and dietary recommendations that would extend his lifespan to superhuman proportions.
On his death bed, Li famously contently said, “I have done all that I have to do in this world”.
It is not eternal youth as Li did age, but being able to hugely prolong a lifespan is one of the biggest secrets of the universe that everyone wants to be let in on. “Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog.” These were the words of advice Li gave to Wu Pei-fu, the warlord, who gave Li residence in his home in order to learn the secret of longevity.
Li maintained that inner calm and peace of mind combined with breathing techniques were the secrets to his amazing feat. Obviously, his diet played a large role too. But it is indeed fascinating that the oldest living person in recorded history attributes his long life to his state of mind.
Our average lifespan is significantly decreasing in modern times what with the grueling 9-5 work week, stresses of everyday life, air pollution, the consumption of unnatural ingredients, the consumption of fatty and sugary foods and etc. Unless you live on a secluded farm far out from civilization and grow your own produce, it will be next to impossible to live the years that Li did. It is a different time.
With that in mind though, Li did credit inner peace and breathing exercises to play a huge role in his longevity. So perhaps we all can learn to keep things simple, get proper sleep, and spend a great deal of time in nature under the sun. After all, when we take time off to go on a relaxing vacation where we lounge under the sun and generally enjoy life, it is instantly uplifting and we do feel rejuvenated in just that short amount of time. Imagine if we applied this for everyday life, we may just get the chance of living well past our prime.