Baduanjin, Eight Set Brocade or Eight Treasures Qigong can transform a person. It increases flexibility, strength and produces a surplus of Qi when practiced consistently. The set has many variants. There is the Northern moving set and Southern sitting set. It could also be broken down into Daoist, Confucian or Buddhist styles which add a distinct flavor to the set. Baduanjin is comprised of eight movements.
Understanding the Names
As with all Qigong forms, each form has different names depending on its use & goals. The names broken down for this article are going be the standard ones.
What are the Names of the Baduanjin?
Two Hands Hold up the Heavens
This is the starting movement in the form. Yin and Yang are represented when the hands are separated. Therefore, when the hands connect they represent Taiji. Heaven represents Wuji (Ultimate Nothingness).
Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Eagle / Hawk / Vulture
The form makes the allusion to the Fire element being fueled by Wood (bow) & controlling Metal (arrowhead). Like archery, this form is used to gain better clarity or aim
Separate Heaven and Earth
Suspending Heaven and Earth, Man is a bridge between both. Each hand represents both Heaven and Earth depending on the position. Through moving the hands, Yin and Yang become balanced.
Wise Owl Gazes Backwards or Look Back
The wisdom of Yin is embodied by being still. Through observation, knowledge & wisdom is gained turning side to side. Through relaxing the upper body, one can stop overthinking and be present.
Sway the Head and Shake the Tail
This form represents being animalistic & enlightened at the same time. By swaying the head, one lets go of higher thought processes to be in the flow. Shaking the tail awakens the Qi at the base of the spine.
Two Hands Hold the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist
The Kidneys and Waist balance Yin & Yang. Water constantly fluxes between Yin (stillness, softness) to Yang (moving, hard). Also, it can switch states (ice, water, steam) with relative ease. By holding the feet and being extreme Yin, one also is transformed in Yang.
Clench the Fists and Glare Fiercely (or Angrily)
The five fingers represent the five elements. The eyes connect to wood and consciousness. Anger is momentum like energy. Combining all three, one is dissolving blocks in all five elements and becomes aware of one’s direction in life.
Bouncing on the Toes
Finally the last movement! This form moves Qi back to Heaven. As the heels lift and the drop to the ground, Earth (Yin) energy bounces up the legs through the spine to the head Heaven (Yang).
Results May Vary
Remember, this is only one view on how these names engage the Qi. Different styles having different goals will have variant names on these movements and their uses. Although all Baduanjin’s are similar in movements, the purpose of each form can vary depending upon the style which then can drastically change the results.
Interested in learning more?
Stayed tuned for upcoming Baduanjin: Eight Set Brocade Part 2, where we talk about the movements in relation to their uses. If you like the article or have additional topics you like to learn about, leave us a comment below. Don’t forget to share this with your friends!