This classic Qigong routine, translated as The Eight Pieces of Brocade or sometimes The Eight Fine Treasures, stimulates and harmonises the meridians and the five organs of the body. It consists of eight exercises which are repeated eight times. Gao Qian of the Ming Dynasty wrote, “practice Ba Duan Jin in the early morning, it will absorb the essence of the heaven and the earth. Following the rules of nature, the time for practice perfectly matches with the biological clock.”
The Eight-section exercises date back to the Song Dynasty (960-1279) when they were allegedly developed by Zhongli Quan and Lü Dongbin, two of the Eight Immortals. Brocade was highly prized cloth, the best, so this is thought to be the best exercise.
Several versions have appeared over the years but they will all have a variation of the following moves:
Holding up the Sky with Two Hands,
Drawing a Bow as though to Shoot a Hawk,
Separating Heaven and Earth, One Hand at a time,
Gazing Backwards, side to side,
Swaying the Head and Shaking the Tail,
Bouncing up and down on Both Toes,
Clenching the Fist and Glaring Fiercely
Two Hands Holding the Feet to strengthen the Kidneys and Waist
The exercise involves all the muscles, bones and joints and internal organs working with the outer movements of the body and limbs to improve the harmonious flow of qi.
Suitable for people with some experience of qigong or other practices such as yoga. Some flexibility and balance are required but low moves can be practised higher.