The Baduanjin qigong(also known as Eight Pieces of Brocade) is one of the most common forms of Chinese qigong used as exercise. The Baduanjin as a whole is broken down into eight separate exercises, each focusing on a different physical area and qi meridian. The Baduanjin traditionally contains both a standing and seated set of eight postures each.
Use of calisthenics, stretching, and breathing exercises to maintain good health, fight disease, and enhance the quality of life has a long documented history in China.
1. Two Hands Hold up the Heavens (Shuang Shou Tuo Tian)
This move is said to stimulate the "Triple Burner" aka "Triple Warmer" or "Triple Heater" meridian. It consists of an upward movement of the hands, which are loosely joined and travel up the center of the body.
2. Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Hawk
While in a lower horse stance, the practitioner imitates the action of drawing a bow to either side. It is said to exercise the waist area, focusing on the kidneys and spleen.
3. Separate Heaven and Earth
This resembles a version of the first piece with the hands pressing in opposite directions, one up and one down. A smooth motion in which the hands switch positions is the main action, and it is said to especially stimulate the stomach.
4. Wise Owl Gazes Backwards or Look Back
This is a stretch of the neck to the left and the right in an alternating fashion.
5. Sway the Head and Shake the Tail
This is said to regulate the function of the heart and lungs. Its primary aim is to remove excess heat (or fire) (xin huo) from the heart. Xin huo is also associated with heart fire in traditional Chinese medicine. In performing this piece, the practitioner squats in a low horse stance, places the hands on thighs with the elbows facing out and twists to glance backwards on each side.
6. Two Hands Hold the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist
This involves a stretch upwards followed by a forward bend and a holding of the toes.
7. Clench the Fists and Glare Fiercely
This resembles the second piece, and is largely a punching movement either to the sides or forward while in horse stance. This, which is the most external of the pieces, is aimed at increasing general vitality and muscular strength.
8. Bouncing on the Toes
This is a push upward from the toes with a small rocking motion on landing. The gentle shaking vibrations of this piece is said to "smooth out" the qi after practice of the preceding seven pieces.
1. Introduction of Qigon
2. Introduction of Baduanjin and its characteristics
3. The benefits of Baduanjin
4. Dantian respiration technique
5. The effects of ready style and its requirements
6. Movement of Baduanjin
7. The breathing technique of Baduanjin and mind concentration
8. Matters needing attention