Starting Ba Duan

Once you begin these exercises, you should make every effort to do them regularly — and to do the full set of eight. Just a few minutes every day will be sufficient. This is the way to get the full benefit from them. Their natural life-enhancing effect will not be nearly as pronounced if you do them in bursts for a few days and then do nothing for a week or two.

Once you have learned the eight exercises, and are smoothly stretching into all the positions, you can move on to the more advanced positions shown for each exercise. These will increase the stretch and intensify the flow of Chi.

WHEN AND WHERE TO PRACTISE The ideal time to practise is in the morning, as the regular prelude to any of the standing exercises. If this is not possible, you can do these exercises later in the day, always leaving at least an hour after eating. If you do them on a full stomach, you might adversely affect your breathing and digestion. Some people do them before sleeping. This is fine, but still remember to allow an hour after dinner.

Always try to practise where the air is fresh. The Chinese way is to exercise out of doors. But if this is not possible for you or the "weather is inclement, then use a well-ventilated room.

Standing in the Wu Chi - the opening position for all the Ba Duan Jin exercises.

Standing in the Wu Chi - the opening position for all the Ba Duan Jin exercises.

Before you begin

STRETCH AND RELAX Begin slowly and gently. Relax your muscles and nerves - there is no benefit from tension. Stretch carefully and thoroughly, paying full attention to the correct positions and to the advice given with each exercise.

BREATHE NATURALLY Breathe calmly through your nose, keeping your mouth gently closed. Don't try to alter the rate of your natural breathing. Don't try to breathe more deeply or slowly. Your breathing will become fuller over time as your capacity grows. You will begin to develop natural abdominal breathing (see pp. 42-43), easing and increasing the rhythmic movement of your diaphragm. This, in turn, will have a wonderful effect on all the organs in your abdominal cavity as they begin to benefit from regular, internal massage.

You must let this process mature naturally within you. Don't interfere with it by forcing the pace. Just let every breath come and go in its own wav.

IMMEDIATE SENSATIONS You are likely to feel the natural warmth of your body increasing as you go through the eight exercises. You may perspire slightly. But do not expect to be left exhausted, with strained muscles, sweating profusely, and gasping for breath. This is a powerful system of exercise, but it is not meant to be a set of physical jerks! Ba Duan Jin is based on a completely different philosophy of health and personal growth. It emphasizes the careful development of all the body's vital systems and aims to care for you at whatever age and level of fitness you have reached, rather than impose unbearable strains on you.

Li i

Duan Jin Exercises

Supporting the Sky with Both Hands - advanced position (seep. 67).

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Heal Yourself With Qi Gong

Heal Yourself With Qi Gong

Qigong also spelled Ch'i Kung is a potent system of healing and energy medicine from China. It's the art and science of utilizing breathing methods, gentle movement, and meditation to clean, fortify, and circulate the life energy qi.

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  • Ruby
    How to breathe in ba duan?
    9 years ago

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