Yi Jin Jing: Tendon-Muscle Strengthening Qigong Exercises compiled by the Chinese
Health Qigong Association
Singing Dragon, London and Philadelphia, 2008
ISBN: 978 1 84819 008 5
The Chinese Health Qigong Association is an organization which promotes and researches
health qigong and is a group member of the All-China Sports Federation. CHQA promotes
four particular classical qigong practices, of which this is one, both in China and
abroad. The Health Qigong Federation UK is the organisation recognised by CHQA in
UK. CHQA sends teams of health qigong masters to various countries to teach people.
They also set standards for these forms.
Yi jin jing is a classical qigong with a long history. It is said to have been created
by the fifth century Buddhist sage, Bodhidharma who reputedly introduced Chan Buddhism
(Zen) to China. In any case, it is certainly around 2000 years old. It is a very
popular qigong practice in China and in martial arts circles.
This practice is particularly beneficial in strengthening bones, muscles and tendons
but also has general health benefits. The practice comprises twelve exercises.
This practice is a little more demanding and involved than ba duan jin and liu zi
jue, requiring squatting down and bending with hands reaching the feet in some exercises.
The text reads as if you can naturally accomplish these positions. But this is clearly
not the case in the West and you should be advised to be careful and not go further
than you feel comfortable with in any position.
After introducing the history of yi jin jing, some principles of the practice are
explained and some practice tips are given. Then, the book goes through a step-by-step
description of each of the twelve practices. After each practice, the key points
are highlighted, common mistakes are given and how to correct them and the benefits
of the practice is explained.
The movements that accompany the sounds are simple and could easily be followed by
anyone with any level of fitness. Along with ba duan jin, this practice would be
the easiest to begin with of the four qigong exercises being promoted by CHQA.
One slight drawback to the book is that being produced by a Chinese team and is written
like a textbook. Personally, I like to read books which give the personal background
and experiences of the author and that are written in a more chatty style.
The DVD is very professionally and beautifully done and is one of the best that I
have seen. The practitioners demonstrating the forms are clearly very experienced
and are excellent models to follow.
On the DVD, after an introduction, the whole form is demonstrated. Then the function
and benefit of each exercise is explained and the exercise is demonstrated step by
step, and common mistakes are shown along with their corrections. My recommendation
would be to watch and learn each form from the DVD and to just use the book for reference
once you’ve learned the forms.
This book and DVD are a reliable and thorough guide to the practice of yi jin jing.
CHQA have done a great job researching and updating this ancient practice. Since
the book includes a DVD, this is a great bargain.
Yi jin jing is definitely a great exercise for general health. If you aren’t already
familiar with the principles and methods of qigong, I would strongly recommend that
you also get a good general book on qigong and I have no hesitation in recommending
Ken Cohen’s “The Way of Qigong”.