Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ba Duan Jin (Part 2 of 8) - Drawing the Bow

This week's post is a detailed look at the Ba Duan Jin qigong exercise called Drawing the Bow. It is also known as Shooting Eagle with Bow and Arrow and as Drawing the Bow and Letting Arrow Fly. It is traditionally the second 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.

This exercise places emphasis on the kidneys by increasing the flow of qi in the lower back.

Standing Instructions:
1. Stand with your feet two shoulder widths apart and your knees loose and flexible. Cross your hands in front of your chest, with your hands in fists. Place your right hand outside and left hand inside.
2. Extend your left hand out to the left with your arm parallel to the ground. Extend your index and middle fingers and the other three fingers curled (sword finger). Turn your head toward your left hand.
3. Hold your right hand at your left shoulder as if it were holding the string of a bow. Inhale slowly and bring your right hand in a fist back toward your right shoulder, with the elbow extended out and forearm parallel to the ground. As you inhale, also bend your knees slightly to assume an easy horse stance. Imagine that you are aiming at a target.
4. Exhale and release the fingers of your right hand. Imagine that you can see an arrow traveling through the air and hitting the target. Return your hands to the starting position, but with your hands reversed. Repeat to the other side.
5. Do this exercise eight times.

Modification for seated form:
1. Sit in wuji with your feet flat on the floor.
2. No change.
3. No change.
4. No change.
5. No change.

Modification for a more challenging form:
1. Start from a low horse stance with your thighs parallel to the ground. Stay in a deep horse stance for the entire exercise.
2. Tense all your muscles as you inhale and turn it into an isometric exercise.
3. No change.
4. Relax all your muscles as you exhale.
5. No change.

Benefits & Effects:
1. The horse stance and the twisting action strengthen and stretch the legs, hips, and waist.
2. The draw of the bow stretches the muscles of the upper body, opening the chest and strengthening the lungs.
Another key benefit of this exercise is an increased ability to concentrate and focus.

For the rest of this series, start with:

To continue with this series, see:

© 2012 Eric Borreson

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