Health Qigong – Eight Pieces of Brocade Baduanjin is translated as Eight Pieces of Brocade. It is one of the most common forms of Chinese qigong used as exercise. The name refers to silken body movement. The Baduanjin is primarily designated as a form of medical qigong, meant to improve health. It doesn’t only increase flexibility, strength, improve energy flow and internal health, but also enhances organ function, prevents the chronic pain and illness caused by ageing, like arthritis, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease… Plus, studies have shown that there is nothing better for conditioning the body for fall-prevention. Billions of Chinese people now are practising this Qigong, because there is no NHS in China. 😉 The movements and functions of each session. Two Hands Hold up the Heavens. It consists of an upward movement of the hands, which are loosely joined and travel up the centre of the body. It stimulates the “Triple Heater”. It also determines the way we interact with ourselves and the world around us. The balanced triple heater means we act appropriately in any given situation. Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Eagle, while in a lower horse stance, the practitioner imitates the action of drawing a bow to either side. Lower stance is to exercise of the waist area, focusing on the kidneys and spleen, hips. The shooting action strength liver, heart and lungs. Exercises the neck, back shoulders and eyesight. 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, it especially stimulates the stomach and spleen. It also helps to reduce diabetes. Wise Owl Gazes Backwards or Look Back, this is a stretch of the neck to the left and the right in an alternating fashion. It helps to improve organ function and balance. Reduce the chance of getting sick because of life long bad habits, regulate sleep, too much alcohol… and negative emotions such as too much sadness, anger, jealousy, worry… Sway the Head and Shake the Tail, 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. It regulates the function of the heart and lungs. Its primary aim is to remove excess heat (or fire) from the heart. 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. Clench the Fists and Glare. 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 not only aimed at increasing general vitality and muscular strength, but also protect lungs. 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.