Sunday, November 18, 2012

Ba Duan Jin (Part 3 of 8) – Separating Heaven and Earth


This week's post is a detailed look at the Ba Duan Jin qigong exercise called Separating Heaven and Earth. It is also known as Harmonizing Spleen and Stomach by Raising Arm Separately and as Raise Each Arm to Regulate the Spleen. It is traditionally the third of the exercises.

Ba Duan Jin is a traditional qigong routine with hundreds of variations. It is variously translated as Eight Silken Brocades, Eight Pieces of Silk Brocades, Eight Section Brocade, Eight Silken Exercises, Eight Fine Exercises, or many other names.

Qigong is all about body, mind, and breath. These exercises contain specific movements that are synchronized with the breath while the mind concentrates on the movements. The exercises are intended to help develop mental focus and calm, peaceful movements. At all times, keep your knees loose and flexible.

Explanation:
This exercise increases the flow of qi in the stomach and spleen. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the stomach is known as the sea of grain and water and is responsible for digesting food. The spleen is responsible for transporting nutrients throughout the body. 

Standing Instructions:
1. Stand in wuji with your feet two shoulder widths apart. Hold your arms in front of your chest with your palms down and fingertips pointing at each other.
2. Shift your weight to your right foot, inhale, raise your right hand overhead, and turn your palm up, its fingers pointing to your left. Simultaneously, press your left hand down with its palm down and fingers pointing to the front.
3. Exhale and return both hands to the beginning position.
4. Shift your weight to your left foot, inhale and repeat Step 2, but this time raise your left hand overhead and press your right hand down.
5. Exhale and return both hands to the beginning position.
6. Do this exercise eight times.

Modification for seated form:
1. Sit in wuji with your feet flat on the floor.
2. Simultaneously, press your left hand down and forward with its palm down and fingers pointing to the front.
4. Press your right hand down and forward.

Modification for a more challenging form:
1. Start in horse stance.
2. As you stretch and extend your hands, rise from the horse stance.
3. As you relax and return to neutral, exhale and return to horse stance.
NOTE: Continue moving from horse stance and standing wuji as you alternate hands.

Benefits & Effects:
1. The alternating stretching stimulates the muscles in the front of the upper body, improves circulation to the stomach, liver, and spleen.
2. The muscles of one side of the body are stretched against the other side. This kind of exercise harmonizes and adjusts the digestive system; the energy level of the body, particularly the stomach and spleen; and the vital energy circulating through to coordinate the internal organs.
3. The internal organs, especially the stomach, spleen, liver, and gallbladder are massaged and stimulated through this exercise.
4. This exercise brings favorable effects to patients who are suffering stomach and duodenal ulcers or stomach inflammation.
5. Stimulates the digestive process and the peristaltic action of the intestines.
6. A prophylaxis and a treatment for intestinal and stomach diseases.


For the rest of this series, start with:

© 2012 Eric Borreson