Author: Jie Kong
Longevity-nurturing Qigong (changshou qigong), or Eight pieces of brocade (baduanjin qigong) is a famous practical complex, enshrined today in the minds of not only every Chinese, but also all qigong adherents around the world, as, perhaps, the most essential practice for maintaining health and cultivating longevity. This practice is aimed at cultivating the nature of qi. It teaches us how to fill with and how to control the qi energy. Yet in spite of this seeming external simplicity, Baduanjin Qigong contains the idea of internal harmonization.
This type of qigong can be fully attributed to both the Buddhist and Taoist lineages. Despite the fact that ideological preferences periodically changed in China, belief in longevity has always been present. During the Sun Dynasty (960–1279), the practice of Baduanjin flourished again as, thanks to Emperor Huizong (1100–1125), interest in Taoist alchemy increased. And during this period, the complex of Еight pieces of brocade was actively used to prepare for alchemical work. It was also associated with trigrams and was allegorically represented as travelling backwards on a bull.
Travelling backwards on a bull is a common concept associated with the idea of cheating time. After all, when you ride backwards, you need to balance, align your body so as not to fall, as well as to maintain visibility of the path. Anyway, the prosperity of qigong as a means of nourishing longevity should be associated with the period of the Sun dynasty.
In general, the practice of nourishing longevity provides the necessary inner alignment for the Great Journey into your consciousness and your body. Reaching this understanding, we also achieve the sacred knowledge of qigong. The Eight pieces of brocade practice can be used for both restoring health and for creating an additional internal resource. It helps to prolong life while maintaining mental clarity, maintaining body tone and preserving the potential for further development.
From the standpoint of the sacred aspect of qigong, this direction allows you to tune your breathing and regulate the circulation of the energy in your body, which creates an opportunity for your body to be filled with energy. The proper position, the correct breathing, as well as focusing on different parts of the body as well as on the circulation of qi allows you to regulate and strengthen various mechanisms within the body, prompting the forces hidden in the body to unfold.
All this has a healing and restorative effect, contributes to the prevention of diseases and promotes longevity. At the same time, it is important to understand that longevity in ancient China was understood not in terms of life expectancy, but as an opportunity to continue self-improvement till old age and live without fading. In addition, the practice of nourishing longevity was also a fundamental prerequisite for alchemical work, allowing the person, thanks to longevity, to have enough time to master more complex practical schemes.