Ba Duan Jin

I personally use the following YouTube video each morning. Mimi Kuo-Deemer explains each exercise in English.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3K-0JpiJu-o[/embedyt]The Eight-brocade Exercise (Ba Duan Jin)

This 800-year old exercise, which the ancients likened to beautiful brocade, consists of eight sections, is very popular among the Chinese people. There are different postures such as sitting or standing; each section can be practised on its own and each targets a specific organ or health need. The whole set of movements are fine and delicate with moderate intensity. The movements can vary greatly according to different schools of practice; the following is the most important and widely practised protocol.
Prepare yourself by standing naturally with feet shoulder-width apart, and the hands hanging by both sides. Be calm, focused and let the body relax and the breathing natural.

1. Hold up the hands to regulate the triple burner

Raise both hands above the head with the palms facing upward, as if holding up the heavens. The eyes should follow the hands over the head. Stretch up on the toes and hold the posture for a few seconds before gently returning to the starting position. Inhale through the nose while bringing the arms up, and exhale through the mouth when bringing the arms down. Repeat the procedure six times.

This section is said to benefit the triple burner, which is the passage for water, nutrients and fluid throughout the body. This exercise activates the fluid flowing in it and ensures proper nourishment throughout the body.

2. Draw a bow like shooting the Eagle

Separate the legs and bend the knees, with half-clenched fists in front of the chest. Draw the hands up and pull as if drawing a bow to the right; extend the limbs fully; then repeat on the left side. The eyes should follow the trajectory of the imaginary arrow at all times. Inhale through the nose while drawing the arms up, and exhale through the mouth when bringing the arms down. Repeat the whole procedure six times.
This section is said to benefit the lungs by expanding the chest and exercising the muscles of the upper body.

3. Raise one arm to regulate the spleen and stomach

Standing naturally with arms bent at the elbows, let the palms face upwards and the fingertips touch each other. Raise the hands and turn the palms downwards; then draw the right hand up with the palm facing upward; the left hand moves downward with the palm facing down. When the arms are extended, straighten the legs. Exhale through the nose when both hands are in front of the chest, and inhale through the mouth when the arms are apart. Repeat the whole procedure six times.
This section is said to regulate the spleen and stomach by the lifting and lowering actions. It contributes to the ascending of spleen-qi and the descending of stomach-qi, thus promoting the digestive functions.

4. Turn the head back to treat consumptive diseases and injuries

Inhaling while slowly turning the head to the right side as far as possible, look back as much as possible, then exhale and return to the original position. Repeat on the left side as one complete procedure and repeat six times.
This section is said to benefit those with consumptive disease and injuries by enriching the essence and blood, calming the mind and promoting organ functioning.

5. Sway the head and swing the buttocks to expel the heart-fire

Prepare by squatting down halfway with feet apart and the palms on the thighs. Look down and lean the upper trunk forward, exhaling while swinging the head to the left and swinging the buttocks to the right; inhale while returning. Switch directions and repeat the cycle six times.
It is said that swaying the head can send down heart-fire while swinging the buttocks causes the kidney-yin to ascend to meet the heart-fire; it lets both organs mutually complement each other.

6. Hold the feet by the hands to reinforce the loins and kidneys

Bend over slowly and touch your toes keeping the legs straight; keep the head up slightly. Then place the hands on the lower back and bend backward and stretch as far as you can. Inhale through the nose at the start of the bend and exhale through the mouth at the end. Repeat the whole procedure six times.
This section can reinforce the kidneys and strengthen the waist and the knees. The kidneys are the source of all energy in the body and are located near the waist; constant practice benefits the function of all the other organ systems as well.

7. Punch with anger

Take a horse-riding posture; the hands are tightly clenched with palms facing upwards at waist level. Punch with the palm side downward and draw back with alternative arms; imagine pent-up anger being released through the punch. Inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth.
This section is said to strengthen the muscles of the whole body.

8. Shake the spine to help prevent disease

Interlock the hands and put them behind the neck and extend the neck backward while the hands draw forward; stretch up on the toes and hold the posture for a few seconds before gently returning to the starting position. Exhale while lifting on both heels; inhale while returning. Repeat six times.

This section is said to enhance the protective qi and promote resistance. The Bladder Meridian, which governs the surface of the whole body, passes through the neck. The movements promote the smooth flow of protective qi and secure the striae on the body surface.

The Eight-brocade Exercise (Ba Duan Jin) is a simple sequence of movements, appropriate for almost anyone.

The complete set of movements only takes five to ten minutes to do and helps to release blockages along all twelve meridians. The movements are recommended for chronic conditions like neurasthenia, coronary heart disease, bronchitis and soreness in the lumbar region. You can choose the specific sections according your health needs, e.g. respiratory diseases are suitable for the second and fifth sections; lumbar problems are suitable for the fifth, sixth and eighth sections.