Li Ching Yuen is a man who lived 256 years! It’s true – according to a 1930 New York Times article, Wu Chung-Chieh, a professor at the Chengdu University of China, found Imperial Chinese government records from 1827 congratulating Mr. Yuen on his 150th birthday, and other documents dated 50 years later congratulating him on his 200th birthday! In 1928, a New York Times correspondent wrote that people from Mr. Yuen’s neighborhood stated that their grandfathers knew Li when they were only boys.

Li Ching Yuen is a herbalist who started his career at the age of 10, when he started gathering herbs in the mountain ranges close to his village. For about 40 years, he lived on a diet consisting of lingzhi, goji berry, wild ginseng, he shoowu, gotu kola and rice wine. At 71, Mr. Yuen joined the Chinese army as a teacher of martial arts. He was married an incredible 23 times and fathered over 200 children.

According to tales from his place of origin, Li was able to read and write as a child and traveled to many places to gather herbs at the age of 10. He continued gathering herbs until he was 100, then started selling them.

According to one of his disciples, he met a man who was over 500 years old who taught him Qigong exercises and gave him diet tips which would extend his longevity far beyond the limits.

On his death bed, Li said: “I have done all that I have to do in this world.” Could Mr. Yuen’s last words hint at one of the biggest secrets to long life? In the West, aging is seen as something that should be “beaten” with high tech devices and drugs, but maybe we’ve been wrong the whole time.

Li’s secret for longevity

When asked what’s the secret behind his longevity, Li gave the following answer to Wu Pei-fu, a warlord who took him home to learn from him: “Keep a quiet heart, sit like a tortoise, walk sprightly like a pigeon and sleep like a dog.” As he often said, keeping calm and having a peace of mind combined with breathing techniques and his diet were the key for his longevity. It’s fascinating how the oldest man on Earth claims that his state of mind is responsible for his long life.

Why is this hard to believe?

Why is living over 100 or 200 so hard to believe? Before asking yourself what’s the secret, you have to consider the fact that these people don’t have a 9-to-5 working schedule, they don’t have any debts or experience stress, they are living in clean environments and exercise regularly. They don’t eat refined sugar, flour, processed meat or foods sprayed with pesticides, which are common in the Western world.

They don’t know anything about junk food and they constantly eat herbs and superfoods which improve our overall health. They spend time in nature breathing fresh, unpolluted air and keep things simple. These people are on constant “vacation” – if we could be as well, we’re sure that the average lifespan will quickly rise. When we treat our bodies right, who knows how long can we live?