"The Eight Treasures" – get started with Shaolin Qi Gong (3)
- 35 mins on-demand video
- 2 articles
- Full lifetime access
- Access on mobile and TV
- Certificate of Completion
Get your team access to 4,000+ top Udemy courses anytime, anywhere.Try Udemy for Business
- getting started with (Shaolin) qi gong
- exercises in style of Shaolin
- recovery and slowing down
- how to mix activity and relaxation
- the final parts of "The Eight Treasures" qi gong form
- a certain physical fitness
- the wish to get moving, more flexible and to increase energy levels
Shaolin qi gong can
reduce stress (scientifically proven) and clear your mind.
lower blood pressure and boost your immune system (scientifically proven).
increase your energy level by getting you qi flowing.
help you to recover faster and slow down aging.
In this course, you will learn sequences four to six of the popular qi gong form Ba Duan Jin, The Eight Treasures.
It is designed for all fitness levels and for those who are curious about (Shaolin) qi gong. It requires a certain physical fitness however. If your physical ability is limited, you are welcome to practice according to the given alternatives and/or adjust the exercises to your needs. Yet, it is a course that is addressing a rather 'sporty qi gong' style and it includes a fitness part.
- athletes wishing to recover faster
- stressed people who long for balance
- those who feel easily bored by meditation because they feel the urge "to do something"
- everyone curious about Shaolin training
Ba Duan Jin
Ba = eight Duan = pieces/parts Jin = gold/treasure and also silk brocade (silk in which gold or silver threads have been sewed in).
In English, the most common translation is "The Eight Treasures" . It reflects that the Ba Duan Jin form combines the eight most valuable qi gong movements in one sequence.
Since it probably is the most popular form, countless variations have been developed by many masters and so called masters. So don't get irritated if the local qi gong group will perform it in a whole different way. Most of the times, you can still tell that different versions have the same origin.
To me there is no right or wrong way. Most important is that your practice and do your best. Watch your breath, discover bodily sensations and see what feels could for you. Enjoy and smile.
IMPORTANT: Never exercise without a proper warm up.
This might sound funny but you should never underestimate the importance of a warm up. If you train like the Shaolin, you will reach your limit. So you better be warm enough to be able to go to your own maximum. If your body is still cold, your joints and tendons get hurt easily. If you punch hard, your elbow can get dislocated. If you kick too high too soon, your hamstring might overstretch.
(Shaolin) warm up exercises help you to prepare muscles, tendons and joints to be used in fitness exercises und qi gong movements. Your body will thank you for a holistic workout that includes warm up, fitness exercises and stretching in line with qi gong.
Try to do different workouts every day, so your body can't get used to specific movements while neglecting other parts of your body.
The Five Basic Shaolin Stances
The Shaolin training has several positions or stances the occur repeatingly: in forms, squats, as a stance in a punching position and in qi gong movements. Five of them are most popular:
Ma Bu means "horse stance". It actually looks like one is sitting on a horse. Your goal is to sit as low as you can. At the same time, you need to keep your back straight, your knees out and your feet in – quite challenging, to be honest. Hence why the Ma Bu training is part of almost every workout in a Shaolin lifetime. It's a requirement to practice Ma Bu before you learn any Shaolin form. In every workout you should give your Ma Bu some time and feel how low you can go. However, always check your technique before you go low. Rather stay high and proper (straight back and knees out) than low and unstable.
Gong Bu translates to "bow stance". It is a rather long step where your back leg and your upper body shape some kind of a bow. Try to keep your back foot on the floor and make sure your feet point in the same direction. If possible, bent your hips slightly forward.
Pu Bu is called "flat stance", flat in terms of very low. Again, try to get low but only if you stand properly: Pu Bu is a long side step where one leg stretches out and you squat down on the other. Your upper body bends towards the straight leg to give way to the hip. Similar to Ma Bu, you need to watch the knee of leg you squat with. Make sure it doesn't fall in. Maybe your elbow can help pushing it out while your hand holds the ankle. You may also hold your hands up to increase the stretch or put them on the floor to spread your body weight.
"Rest stance" is one translation of Xie Bu as it looks like your are sitting down to have a break. I tell you, it's a very active break though. At first you cross your legs (Xie Bu is also called "cross stance") as in on foot steps behind the other and then you squat down. To start with you can put your hands in prayer position. When the Xie Bu is part of the five stance combination, a punch is added and you should try to bring the shoulder out as much as you can.
Even though Xu Bu means "false stance" it still is a proper stance. You squat down while your body weight is 95% on the back leg. Thus, you should be able to lift the front leg easily as it it not really standing. Again, you try to squat as low as possible but your upper body must not fall forward too much. Holding up your handy in a defense position will help you to stay stable. Xu Bu is a great way to prepare for pistol squats which ask you to lift and straighten the front leg and then to squat down on one leg.
In this video I show you the combination of the five basic stances in one flowing movement. Try to practice it as often as you can to improve your stances.
Be smart: Practice the combination of the five basic stances after an exhausting workout. As your body is hot, you will be able to perform them better and lower.
Stamp and let go
Qi gong gets you focused and therefore away from your everyday worries. Exercise 7 offers a very active way to do this.
Switch off and let go.
Bring your hands behind your back while breathing in. Your left hand grabs your right wrist. Continue to breathe in and pull your hands up along your spine. Breathe out while pushing them down towards your tailbone. Expand from head to tail. Breathe in, lift your heels to come high on your toes and bring your hands up again. Imagine a string (or a rope) attached to your head that lifts you up. Let go of everything (tension, thoughts, air...) when breathing out. You can stamp with your heels or control the movement. Listen to your body (especially to your knees) and decide for yourself what feels right. Repeat seven times.
Open your feet and bring your hand via the sides up while breathing in. The left hand comes on top of your right hand and you bring the hands down and onto your stomach when breathing out. Stroke your tummy for seven times anti-clockwise and seven times clockwise.
All in one – get into your flow
In this Ba Duan Jin course, exercise 8 combines all seven movements to one flowing form. Depending on the course or the teacher/master “The Eight Treasures” will be fairly different. It is an ancient qi gong form practices by many people. As everyone is different, everyone’s form will be different. Thus, it has changed here and there. Often exercise 3 (Pull Your Sword) is divided into two movements (expansion and looking behind you) and even in this course I give you alternatives. It’s up to you, to find your own Ba Duan Jin.
Enjoy the flow and focus on your movements and bodily sensations.
In this video I hold positions shorter than in the practice sessions (around one breaths instead of threes). Find your own length and vary according to your schedule and your current mood and condition. You can download this video and take it with you – to the gym, the park and wherever you feel like practicing. When you’re ready practice by yourself.
Sorry for the typo in the intro: It's "Ba Duan Jin"
A holistic training experience requires time to recover. In addition to qi gong meditation and stretching, massages can be of great benefit for a fast regeneration. I love to get a massage. As there isn’t always someone available and I am simply lacking the budget for frequent appointments, I came to enjoy self massages. In China many people knock the tension off with their own hands (in public) but I prefer using the bamboo and the metal brushes.
I bought mine from Shifu Yan Lei. Check his website for more information.
When I go to the gym, I massage my calves in sauna and the steam room and when I train at home, I use the brushes. To start off, use your hands for the self massage: Arch your hands (hollow hands) and tap yourself from head to toes (start with your abdominal area though). Never use the metal brush if you haven’t tried the bamboo brush before. It’s a totally different experience. Start very soft, if you use a brush.
This kind of a self massage gets your bones swinging (which hardens them over time). The movement also travels deep into the tissue and increases blood and qi flow which supplies the cells with oxygen and nutrients. As a result, you recover faster.
Fighters use the brushes to do the iron shirt training. It stands for a body that hardens like iron and can therefore take more punches. Although this isn’t what I am aiming for, I quite enjoy getting less bruisers and pain when I bang against something.
Use the brushes with great care. Start every session easy and increase the speed and the intensity of the tapping with every repetition.
If you use the metal brush, leave out sensitive parts of your body – like your head and your neck. Make sure you're well prepared and ready for the strength of the metal.
When you first completed this course, I strongly recommend you to repeat it several times. I you feel confident with the individual movement, use the demonstration video to get into a flow that links them all together. And you feel like you can do it by yourself, try it out and see how long you can hold your positions. Use your breath to guide you. Finally, move on to part 2 and 3. Try to incorporate the Ba Duan Jin form in your daily life and in your workout routine (alternate whether you do it before or after working out and find out what suits you better). On a busy or bad day, try to practice an individual moment at least. See if you feel brave enough to practice in public.
Sometimes, I schedule qi gong days to remind myself how important recovery is. I also like to insert single movements in my workout routine to calm down and get my focus back.
Let me know what works for you. I would love to see you again in one of my other classes. Also keep in touch be following me on Instagram (@smizingde), YouTube und Facebook and check my website SMIZING.de where I regularly post in English.
Keep on SMIZING.