The eight silk brocade ( Ba Duan Jin) known as the eight essential exercises have been a series of ancient Taoist exercises that cultivate and nourish life. Yang sheng is a term used is Chinese that translates to nourishing life. This series of exercises cultivates what is known as the three treasures, Jing, Qi and Shen which will be expanded on in a future blog, but for now Jing tranlates to life essence, Qi our vital energy and Shen our spirit. These exercises are the earliest regime of Qigong.
I have been using the eight silk brocade for years now and the effects are incredible. It makes the body feel soft and supple, calms the mind, enables greater concentration, sharpens thoughts, enhances greater sensitivity and is essential for psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety. In fact in clinic anyone deeply suffering from these conditions I encourage my patients to enroll in our five week program on these exercises. It is essential to do this as it is important to have proper guidance while doing these exercises.
There are a few ways the exercises can be done. They can be done standing in a more martial arts series. Preferably I like the sitting meditative exercise even though I always do both. The Sitting exercise series is the one I prescribe to patients who suffer from anxiety and depression. It is important in chronic health conditions that patients meet you 50/50 to obtain greater clinical results. This series of exercises on top of treatment plan is second to none in terms of obtaining excellent clinical results.
The basic intention of the exercises is to stimulate and mobilize internal energy (Qi) throughout the body. Many people ask about the concept of Qi which is a common term used in Chinese medicine and in exercise therapy. It not a subject to be intellectualised, it needs to be experienced which brings us to another subject the Taoist and martial artist term "no mind." Once in this state the experience of Qi will be understood from experience.
As the famous Taoist Lao-tzu states; "the entire secret of self-cultivation lies in subtraction, not in addition." In other words we need to deconstruct our habits, lifestyle, the way we see the world and ourselves in it. These exercises can gives us the keys of understanding who we really are our authentic selves and this is what true enlightenment is. The freedom to know who we really are.
The greatest gift these exercises give is inner peace. Classes run for a five week program held in Warrandyte.