Wayist Karman Meditation has its roots in first century Gandhara, in Wayist and Hindu monasteries of North Eastern India. It was developed to help Buddhist monks who were suffering physical and emotional ailments resulting from their sedentary, privileged lifestyles
During the 4th - 5th century, an enigmatic Wayist monk by the name of Bodhidharma traveled to China. There, he taught many things showing the differences in Wayist thinking as alternative to normative Buddhist and Daoist studies.
Upon a question from a powerful ruler as to which of the hundreds of Buddhist Suttas was the right one, or the best. He said the typical Wayist answer, not any one of them -they all fall short- the truth is within (as Jesus said, the Kingdom of the Father is in our Anahata chakras).
Bodhidharma taught a lot. His Wayist ways and teaching were considered controversial and upsetting. Wayism is different, it is a higher teaching than the standard Mahayana Buddhism and Daoism of the time. However, the Chinese were ready for it. They embraced the teaching in different ways which resulted in Pure Land Buddhism, Chen Buddhism and Zen Buddhism. He also made contributions to Kung Fu martial arts when he taught Karman Meditation to the monks of Shaolin.
He taught the Shaolin monks the skills of Karman Meditation. Stripped of its religious/spiritual connotations (for reasons of training KungFu fighters), in China it took the name Yijin Jing, which denotes a muscle and tendon strengthening exercise regime. In later years, Wayists could still practice Karman Meditation when religious persecution took place. The adoption of Karman Meditation by Shaolin schools allowed devotees to do their meditations without fear of reprisal from authorities who did not approve of its underlying philosophy.
See the Karman Yoga Active Meditation website for more information, learning and instructor certification.
Tradition has it (that is our way of saying we always believed this but never tried to verify the story because it is of no consequence to us whether it is indeed a verifiable historical fact) that senior monks who labored day and night in cramped drafty places over manuscripts, reproduction of books and teaching initiates, developed this regime to maintain their physical bodies in spite of their otherwise sedentary lifestyle. The exceptional health of aging monks became notable and it did not take long before kings and noblemen requested the services of the holy personal trainers. This proved to be a good source of income for monasteries.
Karman Meditation started with twelve basic movements that are still popular all over the world. Regular practitioners of Karman Meditation sometimes advance to include all three styles, to add additional psychonousomatic (soul, mind and body) benefits.