Ba Duan Jin: Eight Golden Treasure Brocade
Ba Duan Jin
The Ba Duan Jin (8 Pieces of Silk/8 Strands of the Brocade), is a dynamic Qigong practice having the characteristics of both Qigong and health-strengthening exercises. It is derived from one of the oldest health-strengthening (folk) exercises in China which was created 800 years ago (although some would argue that it was created several thousand years ago).
Based on the theory of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the eight exercises focus on strengthening the bones, tendons and muscles, and regulating respiration and Qi circulation. Although there is some overlap of
benefit amongst the 8 movements, each exercise works on different internal organs i.e. the Lungs/Large Intestine, Stomach/Spleen, Heart/Small Intestine, Kidney/Bladder, and Liver/Gall Bladder, and may be practised in whole or part to focus on the prevention and treatment of specific medical problems. The 4th exercise also works on the Central Nervous System, and the mobility/flexibility of the spine.
Benefits are also said to include:
Increasing muscular strength and developing pectoral muscles to improve the figure.
Prevention and treatment of kyphosis* and scoliosis**.
Prevention and treatment of some common chronic diseases such as cervical spondylopathy***, pain in the lower back and legs, and stomachache.
It is said that with persistent practice, this set of exercises can also tone the brain(!), strengthen health and prolong life.
The Eight Golden Treasure Brocade is simple and easy to learn, and may be varied in intensity to suit the individual. Once you have learnt it, it is best practised in the morning or evening in fresh air, for 15-30 minutes each time.
*Kyphosis is an abnormal outward curving of the spine in the chest area, causing your back to appear even more rounded than usual; this makes your back appear hunched.
**Scoliosis is an abnormal curvature of the spine to one side.
***Spondylopathy is disease of the vertebrae or of the spinal column; associated with compression of peripheral nerve roots and spinal cord, causing pain and stiffness of the part.