Eight Pieces of Brocade (Baduanjin Qigong)
PALMS TO HEAVEN
It consists using the hands with an upward movement, loosely joined, and moving up the center of the body. The belief is that it stimulates the “Triple Warmer” meridian. The Triple Warmer meridian impacts the immune system and our ability to manage stress. It also not only transports, but also assists in transforming fluids and solids so they can be used or eliminated by the body. Additionally, it is believed to play an important role in circulating qi throughout the body.
DRAWING THE BOW
In a horse stance (commonly used in most martial arts) a practitioner imitates the action of drawing a bow to either side of the body while twisting/rotating at the waist. Focus is on the kidneys and spleen.
SEPARATE HEAVEN AND EARTH
This resembles Palms to Heaven only with the hands being pressed in opposite directions, one up and one down, in a smooth motion. Focus is on stimulating the stomach.
WISE OWL GAZES BACKWARDS
This is a stretch of the neck, alternating left and right. A twist at the waist can also be added for the kidneys and spleen, as well as the thoracic spine area.
SWAY THE HEAD AND SHAKE THE TAIL
With this movement, the practitioner squats in a horse stance, placing hands on the thighs with elbows facing out and twists; glancing backwards on each side. Focus is on regulating the heart and lungs. The primary aim is to remove excess fire/heat from the heart.
TWO HANDS HOLD THE FEET
This movement involves the practitioner stretching upwards followed by a forward bend and holding the toes, or as close as you can get until you improve. Focus is on strengthening the kidneys and waist.
CLENCH THE FISTS AND GLARE FIERCELY
This resembles Drawing the Bow but is largely a punching movement to either side of the body, or forward while holding in a horse stance. Focus is on increasing general vitality and muscular strength.
BOUNCING ON THE TOES
The practitioner pushes upwards on the toes with a small rocking motion on landing flat on their feet. The gentle shaking vibrations are believed to smooth out the Qi after practice of the other seven movements.