MandarinMorning ChineseSchool
021-5213 9379
About us
【Learn Chinese】Baduanjin (八段锦): Eight Steps to Heal
Baduanjin (八段锦 bā duàn jǐn), also known as Eight Pieces of Brocade, doesn’t demand much space or time and uses special breathing and concentration techniques to improve both physical and mental well-being.
Let’s take a closer look at these Chinese exercises that have been helping people stay healthy for centuries.
八段锦 (bā duàn jǐn), or Eight Pieces of Brocade, is one of the most ancient forms of Chinese qigong 气功 (qì gōng, a system of deep-breathing exercises). It is renowned for its health benefits, combining gentle movements with breath control. 
It originated in the Bei Song Dynasty and has a history of more than 800 years, was initially developed as a way to enhance the physical health of soldiers. Over time, it evolved into a comprehensive system of exercises practiced by both martial artists and common people.
Heath Benefits
Regular practice of Baduanjin is believed to bring numerous health benefits, such as:
增强体质 (zēnɡqiánɡ tǐzhì) - enhance physical fitness
改善睡眠 (gǎishàn shuìmián) - improve sleep
提高精神状态 (tíɡāo jīnɡshen zhuànɡtài) - improve mental state
缓解压力 (huǎnjiě yālì) - relieve stress
Baduanjin Moves
There are a total of eight movements in Baduanjin, each with its specific focus. The Eight Pieces of Brocade has been handed down through the centuries as eight short, simple sentences.
Let’s go through them one by one:
第一式 (Dì yī shì) – 1st posture
The first movement benefits the shoulders, arms, and upper back, enhancing flexibility and circulation in these areas. It also opens up the chest, improving lung capacity and promoting deeper breathing.
两手托天理三焦 (Liǎng shǒu tuō tiān lǐ sānjiāo) - Holding Up the Sky with Both Hands to Regulate the Sanjiao (Triple Burner)
第二式 (Dì èr shì) – 2nd posture
This movement stretches the spine and improves flexibility in the waist and lower back. It can alleviate stiffness in the lumbar region and promote better posture.
左右开弓似射雕 (Zuǒyòu kāigōng shì shè diāo) - Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Hawk
第三式 (Dì sān shì) – 3rd posture
This posture stretches the sides of the torso, promotes spinal flexibility, and improves circulation to the internal organs, aiding digestion and detoxification.
调理脾胃臂单举 (Tiáolǐ píwèi bì dān jǔ) - Lifting the Arms to Regulate the Spleen and Stomach
第四式 (Dì sì shì) – 4th posture
Turning the head to look over the shoulder, this movement enhances neck flexibility and relieves tension in the cervical spine.
五劳七伤向后瞧 (Wǔ láo qī shāng xiàng hòu qiáo) - Looking Backwards to Relieve the Five Fatigues and Seven Injuries
第五式 (Dì wǔ shì) – 5th posture
This movement involves gently swaying the torso from side to side while bending forward slightly, resembling the movement of a shaking tail. It stretches the spine, releases tension in the lower back, and massages the internal organs.
攒拳怒目增气力 (Cuán quán nùmù zēng qìlì) - Punching with a Fierce Gaze
第六式 (Dì liù shì) – 6th posture
Bending forward to touch the toes, this movement stretches the hamstrings, calves, and lower back, improving flexibility and relieving tension in the lumbar region. It also stimulates the kidneys and promotes vitality.
两手攀足固肾腰 (Liǎng shǒu pān zú gù shèn yāo) - Holding the Feet with Two hands to Strengthen the Kidney and Lumbar Area
第七式 (Dì qī shì) – 7th posture
In this movement, the fists are pulled towards the chest, accompanied by a fierce glare. It strengthens the arms, wrists, and fingers, promoting circulation in the upper body and releasing tension in the shoulders and arms.
摇头摆尾去心火 (Yáotóubǎiwěi qù xīn huǒ) - Clearing the Heart Fire by Shaking the Head and Wagging the Tail
第八式 (Dì bā shì) – 8th posture
This final movement involves bouncing gently on the toes while shaking the body, promoting circulation and releasing tension throughout the body. It invigorates the legs and feet, strengthens the lower body, and boosts overall energy levels.
背后七颠诸病消 (Bèihòu qī diān zhū bìng xiāo) - Standing on the tip-toes Eliminates Illnesses