What is Ba Duan Jin (八段錦)?
Ba Duan Jin (or Eight Section Brocade in English) is an excellent traditional Chinese health maintenance Chi Kung. It was formed in the 12th century and has subsequently developed into many different styles and schools, each with its own characteristics. The movements are simple and easy to do, and the effects are significant.
The ancient people likened this set of movements to “Jin”, meaning that the movements are as graceful and supple as brocade. Because there are eight sections of the form, that’s why it is called “Ba Duan Jin”. The entire set of movements is smooth and continuous and has both tension and relaxation. It promotes smooth Chi and strong bones and tendons.
- Stand with your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Slowly raise your arms from your sides above your head, crossing your fingers and flipping your palms upwards as you do so, stretch your arms fully, but do not tense them. It should look like you are stretching your back. At the same time, slowly lift your head and look upwards with a majestic posture. Inhale slowly at this point.
- Flip your palms downwards and lower them in front of you to chest height. Flip your palms upwards again, slightly lower your head, and move your eyes with your hands. Exhale slowly.
- Stand with your feet parallel and slightly wider than shoulder-width apart in a horse stance. Keep your upper body straight and bend your arms in front of your chest, with your left arm on top and your right arm on bottom.
- Make a fist with each hand, with your index and thumb fingers forming an “八” shape. Slowly push your left hand to the left and straighten your left arm, while pulling your right elbow back to the right and stopping your right fist in front of your right ribcage, with your fist facing upwards as if you are pulling back a bow. Look at your left hand.
- Repeat the same movements as in steps 1 and 2, but switch the left and right sides. Repeat this sequence of opening the bow on both sides 4 to 8 times.
- Raise your left hand in front of you with your palm facing upwards, making a vertical fist. Flip your palm upwards and support it with your fingers pointing to the right, while pressing your right palm downwards with your fingers pointing forward.
- Lower your left hand in front of you and inhale as you do so, relaxing your body and returning to a natural standing position.
- Repeat the same movements as in steps 1 and 2, but switch the left and right sides. Repeat this sequence of raising both hands alternately 4 to 8 times.
- Stand with your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart. Let your arms hang naturally by your sides or cross them at your waist. Slowly twist your head and neck to the left, looking behind you, and inhale.
- Slowly twist your head and neck to the right, returning to a forward-facing position, and exhale, relaxing your body.
- Repeat the same movements as in steps 1 and 2, but switch the left and right sides. Repeat this sequence of looking behind you on both sides 4 to 8 times.
- Stand in a horse riding stance, with your hands crossed at your waist. Exhale slowly and twist your waist to the left, bending your body downwards and exhaling the rest of your breath. Continue the movement by bringing your head from the lower left side, in front of your body, to the lower right side, as if scooping water with a spoon, and slowly raising your head to the right side while inhaling. Twist your waist to the left and return to the horse stance, exhaling deeply and slowly as you relax your body. At the end of your exhale, perform several rhythmic abdominal squeezing movements with your hands.
- Repeat the same movements as in step 1, but switch the left and right sides.
- Repeat this sequence of alternating between steps 1 and 2 4 to 8 times.
- Stand with your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart, with your palms pressing on either side of your navel.
- Push your palms backwards along your waistline.
- Slowly lean forward, keeping your knees straight, and massage your tailbone and lower back with your palms, moving downwards to your heels. Massage the outer sides of your feet and then the inner sides.
- Straighten your upper body and massage the inside of your thighs with your hands, moving to the sides of your navel. Repeat this sequence of leaning forward and backward 4 to 8 times.
Preparatory position: stand with your feet in a horse riding stance, holding fists with your palms facing upwards in front of your waist, and open your eyes wide.
- Slowly punch forward with your left fist, either in a vertical or a downward position. When punching, twist your waist slightly to the right and extend your left shoulder as you rotate your arm outward and retract your fist, forming an overhead fist position at your waist.
- Repeat the same movements as in step 1, but switch the left and right sides. Alternate between punching with both sides 4 to 8 times.
Preparatory position: stand with your feet parallel and shoulder-width apart, or with your feet together.
- Raise your arms from your sides above your head, lifting your heels as you inhale. Lower your arms in front of you and lower your heels as you exhale, relaxing your body. Repeat this sequence of raising and lowering your arms and heels 4 to 8 times.