Movement 8 of the ShiBaShi is Gaze at the Moon. It is sometimes called ‘Turning to Gaze at the Moon’. This is a compound movement of the legs, waist, arms and hands. It can be a little tricky when first learning, but feels great when mastered.

Movement 8 – Gaze at the Moon


In order to perfect this movement I would suggest first sitting in a chair, placing your arms across the chest with opposite hand on the opposite shoulder. Sitting facing forward, slowly turn your waist to the left and then to the right. The shoulders should naturally track with the waist, turning as far as your waist will comfortably allow. Repeat this action from side to side with your focus on activating your waist. The aim is to get a real sense of the waist activation and to switch on the associated muscles of the waist. After a while you may experience a little fatigue in these rarely used muscles, and that is normal.

Now try this same movement standing and with the knees bent. The aim here is to keep the hips pointing straight ahead and only turning the waist. Repeat this as many times as necessary to get a good feel for it. If you find you are turning your hips then go back to practicing the exercise above seated in the chair.

Next repeat the movement in the last paragraph, but this time straighten your knees as you turn your waist. The straightening of the legs (knees off lock) should finish at the same time as you get to your waist end range. As you return to face the front, sink back down with the knees. This is where it is tricky, initially it can be hard to coordinate this compound movement and keep the hips pointing to the front while rising up. Practice makes perfect.

Now for the arms and hands; from the completion of movement 7 – Toss the Balls, the hands and arms should be at your sides. As a beginner you may find it easier to bring your hands, palms facing upward to Dantian level in front of your abdomen as your as your start position. Once more practiced you can start the hands at your side and go straight into the movement.

Beginner start position

For now, using the beginner position we start with the hands at Dantian level, palms facing up and finger tips pointing toward each other. The up turned hands should sit comfortably just out from the body.

The upper body movement is as follows; from the beginner start position, start initially turning the waist to the left, as practiced above in ‘activating’ the waist. As we do this we start lifting the hands and arms initially maintaining the position of the hands as if cradling a largish ball. Once you have reached the limit of your waist continue to take the hands up a little further. Then the right arm stops moving, but the left continues to rise up until the forearm is vertical and the upper arm approximately level with the shoulder.

Ensure the right arm is not pulled into the body but remains open and rounded. The finger tips of the right hand will be pointing toward the left elbow. The final aspect of the movement is to let the hand relax backward so it is in line with the shoulder girdle, pointing back toward the head. The eyes are looking at the hand, and the head turned, as shown below. It is important to keep the shoulders relaxed during the movement, and especially avoid hiking the left shoulder up.

We now simply reverse the entire movement back to the starting position of the hands up turned in front of Dantian.

Gaze at the Moon – 1st to the left

During this whole upper body movement we have to straighten the knees so the legs are straight with knees off lock. Most importantly the hips have to be kept pointing to the front. This is the really tricky part when first learning this movement. It is really easy to want to turn the hips toward the direction the hands are moving. The aim is to activate the waist and its associated meridians, which means keeping the hips facing straight ahead. The straightening of the legs should be done in sync with the arms, beginning and finishing at the same time. It takes practice to perfect this movement. Practicing activating your waist in the chair, as described above definitely helps.

The whole process is now repeated on the right side, exactly as you have done on the left.

Gaze at the Moon – to the right

The entire movement should be done in a flowing continuous manner. The breathing for the movement is; when moving the hands from the Dantian position, commence your in breath. Its completion should happen with the dropping back of the upper hand. The exhalation commences with the reversal of the movement back to the starting position. So breathing on the ‘up’ and out on the ‘down’

Once this movement has been learned you can modify the ‘beginner start’ with the hands in front of Dantian. From the finish of movement 7 – Toss the Ball, the hands are at your sides. From here move directly into the movement to the left side; bringing the hands towards each other, finger tips pointing to each other as you move the waist and arms to the left.

Do three repeats on each side. Remember to keep the shoulder down and relaxed when lifting the arms. Keep the hips to the front when the waist is twisting. Also remember to keep the knees off lock when straightened.


Movement 8 is said to help digestion and stimulates blood circulation. There are a number of meridians that pass through the waist and low back, as such, the acupoints in these areas are stimulated. Stimulation of the Liver and gallbladder channels, helps slim the waist and hips, encouraging flexibility in the lumbar spine and can help with weight loss. The Kidney Meridian and it’s function are also stimulated which may assist with chronic fatigue syndrome. The rotation of the waist Improves conditions related to the Stomach and Spleen. It strengthens the Spleen energy.

Mechanically, the movement strengthens and activates the waist, low back, legs, neck and shoulders. It is a great way to gently mobilize the low back and the shoulder girdles. The movement also helps with upper body co-ordination.

Final words

If you have low back issues or pain it may be necessary to reduce the amount of twist in the waist. Over time you will find that with this mobilization a reduction in pain and stiffness will come. As with all movements in Qigong, common sense needs to prevail. If it hurts then ‘back-off’ or ask your instructor for a modification that suits you.

For those with shoulder issues, such as frozen shoulder, the movement can be modified such that the arms are only lifted within the range of motion of the shoulder joint. You will see many variations of this movement on YouTube, this version has been designed to protect your joints while giving you all the benefits of this movement.

This is a wonderful movement. It takes some coordination and a little practice to master but has so many benefits.

I trust you have found this useful.

Yours in Qigong

Sifu Peter

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