As gyms and sports facilities are closed during this circuit breaker period, some of us are constantly finding ways to keep fit at home. Here, we introduce a simple workout called “Ba Duan Jin (八段锦)” or “Eight Pieces of Brocade” based on TCM principles that you can do at home without any equipment.
What is Ba Duan Jin?
The Eight Sections of Brocade is an ancient practice of Daoyin that has been used for many centuries in China. Daoyin (导引) means guiding energy (气) and stretching the body. The practice of Daoyin was a precursor of Qigong and was aimed for health and spiritual cultivation. The Brocade exercise incorporates many of the principles of Taiji Quan (太极拳) but in a more basic form. It combines the internal with the external, invigorating the organs and soothing the nervous system, while strengthening and toning muscles and tendons.
How to do Ba Duan Jin?
There are a total of 8 steps in this workout – you may refer to the videos available in the internet for detailed demonstration.
Before you start Ba Duan Jin, find a quiet space and play your favourite slow relaxing music. Remember to take deep breaths throughout the exercise and enjoy it at your own pace.
Video credits to QQFamily
1. Two Hands hold up the Heavens （双手托天理三焦）
Movement: Straighten arms and press towards the sky with both palms.
Benefits: Balances energy in all the internal organs.
2. Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Hawk （左右开弓似射雕）
Movement: Open arms as if pulling on the string of a bow in horse stance.
Benefits: Realigns the back muscles and the spine and strengthens the muscles of the arms abdomen, back and legs. Promotes overall good health and vitality.
3. Raise One Hand and Press the other （调理脾胃须单举）
Movement: Stretch one arm to push palm up and press the other down.
Benefits: Invigorates the torso with energy from the heavens and from the earth. Opens the chest for deeper breathing
4. Turn Body and Look Back (五劳七伤往后瞧)
Movement: Keep body straight and upright while twisting spine and looking over shoulder
Benefits: Exercises the neck and eyes muscles, releases tension. Nourishes the internal organs with vital energy and freshly oxygenated blood.
5. Sway the Head and Shake the Tail （摇头摆尾去心火）
Movement: Bend and turn body to look up in horse stance.
Benefits: Expels Fire Energy from the system by drawing it out through the lungs and energy gates.
6. Two Hands Hold the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist（两手攀足固肾腰）
Movement: Bend body to massage back muscles and stretch legs.
Benefits: Stretches and tones the entire spinal column. Promotes the circulation of freshly oxygenated blood to the brain. Balances energy flow between the front and back and the upper and lower parts of the body.
7. Clench Fists with Blazing Eyes （攒拳怒目增气力）
Movement: Punch fist with an intent gaze in horse stance.
Benefits: Angry and tense feelings are dispelled. Additional oxygen is supplied to the blood.
8. Bouncing on the Toes（背后七颠百病消）
Movement: Rise up on toes and bounce down.
Benefits: Stimulate Du meridian（督脉）and acupoints on the bottom of feet to boost circulation and enhance immune system.