Ba duan jin literally means the eight pieces of silk brocade. These are attributed
in Daoist tradition to one of the Eight Immortals, Chong Li-quan and were first described
in the 8th century in the text Xiu Zhen Shi Shu (The Ten Treatises on Restoring the
Original Vitality). Nowadays, there are many variations of this set. The Eight
Brocades are designed to stretch the muscles and tendons and to stimulate the meridians
and internal organs.
There is a standing set of eight brocades and a sitting set. This is an External
Elixir form which uses both tensing and relaxing the muscles of the limbs and stretching
the tissues around the internal organs to produce its effects.
The eight brocades are a good way to start a qigong session because they stretch
the muscles and warm up the body.