易筋经 Yijinjing, Classic of Muscles and Tendons

易筋经 Yijinjing – or Classic of Muscles and Tendons – is a series of exercises created with the aim of strengthening our muscles and tendons. In Chinese Yi means “change”, jin means “tendons and sinews” and Jing means “classic”. Hence, Yijinjing might be translated as the “Classic of tendons and muscles” – I let the “changing” aspect of “Yi” aside here. The benefits of a daily practice are plentiful and I am not going to enumerate them here but will only show you the different moves with a description below so as to help you put the theory into practice and grasp the meaning behind each exercise.

It goes like this picture below.

易筋经 – Yijinjing

Here is a nice video from a Shaolin monk:

易筋经 – 少林式 – Shaolin style

List of moves for the Yijinjing – 易筋经

韦驮献杵势Weituo xian chu shi: Weituo (Skanda) presents the pestle

This move is the first of the whole series. As a result, you should calm down, and adjust your breathing accordingly. It’s time you for you to relax and gear up mentally for the whole series. This moves help improve the nervous system and the bold circulation.

横担降魔杵 hengdan jiangmo chu shi: The horizontality of the pestle gets rid of the demons

This move might also be known as 韦驮献杵第二式(Weituo xian chu 底er shi) which means it is the second form of Weituo presents the pestle. Depending of the forms, some introduce the first 3 moves under the same name. I haven’t done so here because it is quite subjective to me, but whatever floats your boat… I don’t think it’s very useful to be too prescriptive on that… Anyway, the move enhances the muscles of the shoulders and the arms and improves the mobility of the Qi.

掌托天门 zhang tuo tian men shi: The palms of both hands hold up the skies

As previously said, that move might also be known as 韦驮献杵第三式(Weituo xian chu 底er shi) which means it is the third part of Weituo presents the pestle. This move aims at invigorating for the blood circulation and resembles the first move of the Baduanjin.

摘星换斗势zhai xing huan dou shi: Plucking a star on each side

The correct translation of such move should be “Plucking a start and spinning it around the North Star/Polaris (which is fixed)” but is a more famous as “Plucking a star on each side” so I kept it that way. I like that move. Moreover, the metaphor is truly poetic. Hence, you should gaze the center of your palm while spinning. It strengthens the waist and kidneys and prevents aging.

倒拽九牛尾势 daozhuai jiu niuwei shi: Pulling 9 cows by their tails

Turning the waist and shoulder stimulates various points and is good for the heart and the lungs. I noticed this move improves core strength.

出爪亮翅势 chu zhao liangchi shi: Showing one’s claws and revealing one’s wings

Make a circular move with your arms and push forward. Do it thrice and try to go a little bit further each time. It’s a great move for the lungs, considered as the mother of Qi.

九鬼拔马刀势 jiu gui ba ma dao shi: The nine ghosts draw their swords

Both sides are stretched and as a result, the spleen and stomach are massaged. Morever the kidneys are strengthened by such a move.

三盘落地势 san pan luodi shi: Sinking on the tree bodily zones

I would translate 落地 as landing down because the moves refers to a sort of landing or rather an exploration of the three layers or levels of the body. I found it would be a good equivalent to the Chinese term 落地. It’s quite a subjective translation though. As for its effects, it enables to strengthen the waist, the kidneys, the abdomen as well as the Qi of the dantian.

青龙探爪势 Qinglong tan zhao shi: The green Dragon displaying its his claws

Given the move, I would have translated it as “the green dragon putting his claws to good use” or “putting his claws to the test” ^^. Well, you get the picture… Very interesting move indeed, which is good for stretching, hence improves your flexibility, smooths the mind and has many benefits for the liver as well. I truly love doing it. It looks like you pick up something from the ground.

卧虎扑食势 wuHu pushi shi: The crouched tiger pounces on its prey

Get your claws out and pounce on an invisible prey! Grr !!! Then, keep with your claws fixed into the ground and lift your head gently. Remain in this position just a bit and go back to your original position without losing balance. There are many ways of getting back to the original position, like lifting one leg before the other (or some lift it very high, like a scorpion) but I won’t go into details about that here. As long as you keep your balance, you should be fine. According to what I read somewhere, the tilting backward of the body and the flexing of the chest and abdominal cavities help to dredge the Ren Mai meridian.

打躬击鼓势 dagong jigu shi: Bowing for salutation and beating the drums

Place both hands near the ears (you don’t need to touch them) and tilt forward slowly. While doing so, try to keep your legs and your back straight. You don’t need to go too low. Do as you see fit. If the move is well done, you may feel some sort of gentle drumbeats around your kidneys when bending. That’s a good name for such a move indeed. It increases the hearing capacity and reduce brain fatigue by refreshing it with good enery.

工尾势 gongwei shi: Swinging the tail

Finally, this last move enables the body to relax completely. The description of this move is quite explicit. Tilt foward once more and move your butt as if you had a tail that you wanted to move on both sides while following suit with your head (watching left or right, I mean). I find this move quite funny.

That’s about it ! Don’t forget to relax when practicing the Yijinjing! Enjoy and get your fill of good energy ! 😉

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