This set is based on an original Yi Jin Jing set that dates back to a description of the exercises in the Bibliographic Treatise: History of the Han Dynasty almost 2000 years ago. A Brocade painting named Illustration of Qi Conduction was unearthed in the 1970s - containing over 40 illustrations of exercises.
This newer version of the set put together by the Chinese Health QiGong Association has absorbed the best from the set while applying modern scientific principles.
There are 12 movements in all, focusing on tendon stretching and bone flexing, combining softness with strength. The set relies heavily on the Chinese traditional medicine theory of the 5 elements - Wood, Fire, Earth, Metal and Water.
There is a focus on Spine Turning and flexing - stimulating the nerve cords, and exercising the internal organs as well as the limbs.
There are some nice exotic hand postures such as Lotus leaf palm;, willow leaf palm, Dragon's claw and Tiger's paw.
The routine itself is a smooth blend of gradual warming up and stilling the mind movements, to some very unusual twists and turns that really stretch the upper body and neck. There is also plenty of lower limb stretching in this routine as well. All done in an upright position. Applying common sense to some of the deeper stretches, this routine is achievable for all ages. In fact I teach it seated in care homes and some abled-bodied elderly groups, as well as younger groups - who all comment on how much they enjoy the routine.
I was looking for a routine that had some good deep stretching in it but was achieved in a very smooth and flowing manner. This routine really offers that. I think its unique enough to be added into any existing Qi Gong program or just as a single routine of daily practice.
Having played with the routine a while now I would add a few words about over-enthusiasm. Stick to the recommended number of repetitions in the beginning. If you have any form of a lower back problem - don't be tempted to do more in the beginning. I overdid 'three plates falling to the floor' on top of 3 straight days of long hours at the Computer, along with a heavy weights workout and - surprise surprise - pulled my lower back, which lasted 5 days. Some will never learn! The lower back is a sensitive place. It responds extremely well to moderate exercise and can give you back great flexibility. Do nothing and it ceases up - overdo it and it ceases up. Responds best to moderation and a gradual increase in a stretching and strengthening workout.
If you like this check out my reviews on Xing Yi Nei Gong which is another Tendon-Muscle Strengthening Qigong Routine. Also the companion to Yi Jin Jing - Wu Xing Xi the 5 animal qi-gong exercises.
Also most importantly, this book comes with a very useful DVD that is in English.