How to think about eight pieces of brocade

Eight Pieces of Brocade drawing
Image of Separate Heaven and Earth posture from a Qing Dynasty text

Eight pieces of brocade (ba duan jin) is an ancient Qigong that incorporates powerstretching, spiraling, open/close, up/down, left/right and energetic realignment. It seems to be a physical exercise at first, but it is more. It is a medical qigong, since each move positively affects an organ, such as liver, heart, lungs, stomach, kidneys, and central nervous system. It is an energy qigong because as you learn to do the postures through practice you relax the muscles and allow energy to travel in previously unused channels. It is a martial qigong because it incorporates many, if not most, of the essential  configurations of tai chi internal movements.

Eight pieces of brocade is ultimately a path of becoming aware of qi (energy) and learning to move it, and directing it at will. This healing aspect of this qigong is its true power.

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