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Yi Jin Jing (YJJ) is a Chinese qigong exercise also known as the “muscle-tendon changing classic”. Qigong, very simply defined, is a series of Chinese physical movement exercises that emphasize breath control, vital energy, movement, and improved health*.
This routine is said to strengthen muscles and tendons, changing them and thereby changing and strengthening the body. One might experience increased strength and range of motion, flexibility, balance, and coordination. Along with this, various internal organs and systems may also be strengthened. These benefits are not instant, to be sure, but are cultivated slowly through correct and consistent practice.
As with any new exercise program, consult your healthcare provider prior to beginning the program. While it is best to learn from an experience instructor, in the absence of such a teacher, it is possible to learn YJJ from books and videos. Once the external movements are learned, it is important to continue research and exploration in order to get the utmost from the routine.
About three years ago, one of my former karate instructors mentioned YJJ during a reunion conversation. He didn’t go too deep into the practice but what he said sparked my imagination, and after picking his brain via email over the weeks that followed, I purchased the following book (instructional DVD included):
Once I received the book, I wanted a until Christmas vacation before diving into it. At first glance, the routine appeared rather challenging, but it wasn’t as difficult as I’d thought. I divided it into three sections, learning the first well enough to do it on my own before moving on to the second and then the third. The DVD was very helpful and within three days of starting, I had the external movements memorized (mostly) and I was ready to begin exploring this amazing exercise on a consistent basis.
It took about a year-and-a-half before I started to notice the first hints of YJJ’s deeper benefits. I have to say that I didn’t follow a pure scientific / experimental method or approach with this routine; I didn’t measure my tendon’s thicknesses or my muscle strength, or my various ranges of motion prior to adopting YJJ, so my results could be, and probably are, totally subjective. Even so, I know how I feel, and I clearly do experience greater suppleness and an expanded range of motion, and I am noticing a different type of strength. Without a doubt, this is one of the most important exercises that I do.
Click the link above, take a look at the book, or find a good teacher and give it a go. You and your body will be glad you did!
You can also find other YJJ books and resources on our Yi Jin Jing page.
Wishing you the good, better, best of what’s possible!
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