Five Animals Qi Gong

Wu Qin Xi

Developed in 145 - 208, Wu Qin Xi uses imitations of animals as a basis for Qi Gong practice.  The 5 animals are; tiger, deer, bear, monkey and bird. View this webpage for a collection of youtube videos showing the Five Animal Frolics routine.

We imitate the characteristics, spirit and physical movements of each animal for mental balance and physical ease, specifically aiding respiration, digestion, circulation, flexibility of the joints, spine health, leg strength, level emotions, clarity, fatigue and nervousness and anxiety.

Five Animals Qigong

There are two movements per animal to practice, each movement helps unblock meridian channels in the body and loosen areas of contraction and tension.

Each animal also relates to one of the five elements and five yin and five yang internal organs. Outlined below are the benefits of the Five Animals Qi Gong set, looking at Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), physical and mental health with an explanation of the key poses.

 



0. Adjust the Breath

  • Opening

1. Tiger

Yin Organ: Liver
Yang Organ: Gallbladder
Element: Wood
Season: Spring
Colour: Green
Direction: East
Number: 3 (yang), 4 (yin)
Tiger Qigong

Raising the Tiger's Paws

  • Organ: Stimulates the liver by the gazing eye movements, stretching the sinews in the hand postures and when raising the arms.
  • TCM: Sanjiao (thoracic and abdominal cavities). The liver also nourishes the flow and storage of blood an strengthens the bone marrow. Strengthen the lung system through deep breathing.
  • Health: Grip and circulation.

Seizing the Prey

  • Organ: Strengthen the kidneys by stretching around the waist.
  • TCM: Nourish and balance qi in the Du mai (governor meridian) and Ren mai (conception meridian). Dredge the 12 meridians. Nourish the kidneys to balance yin yang in the body.
  • Health: Circulation, waist, spine, lumbar, suppleness, massage internal organs.

Raising the Tiger's Paws - Key Movements
Focus on the trunk as the arms raise up passed the abdomen, chest, neck and head whilst maintaining an upright spine. Look for a cycle of expansion and compression in the abdomen and chest as you flow through the movement.

Seizing the Prey - Key Movements
Focus on the stability of the lower body, progressing from a horse stance to an empty stance with changes in your centre of gravity. Focus on the waist driving the movement of the arms, creating two vertical circles as you lift the arms up overhead.


2. Deer

Yin Organ: Kidneys
Yang Organ: Bladder
Element: Water
Season:
Winter
Colour:
Blue or black
Direction:
North
Number:
1
Deer Qigong

Colliding the Antlers

  • Organ: Strengthen the kidneys by stretching around the waist.
  • TCM: Nourish and balance qi in the Du mai (governor meridian) and Ren mai (conception meridian) and activate yang qi.
  • Health: Waist, spine and lumbar muscles and joints.

Running like a Deer

  • Organ: Strengthen the kidneys by stretching around the waist.
  • TCM: Open Ming Men (DU-4). Dredge the Du mai (governor meridian) and activate yang qi. Stimulate qi in the 3 yin and 3 yang meridian channels in the wrist/hand to aid the neck and shoulders.
  • Health: Neck, shoulder, waist, back, spine and frozen shoulder.

Colliding the Antlers - Key Movements
Focus on the waist, kidneys, lumbar and the coccyx. The movement is driven from the waist, the shoulders are relaxed and connected to the waist. A mistake is to let the shoulders lead the movement. The secondary focus is to compress and expand the side waist.

Running like a Deer - Key Movements
Focus on the waist, kidneys, lumbar and the coccyx. Create two bow shapes, one horizontal (arms) and one vertical (spine) as you progress to the height of the movement. This flexes the spine stimulating the muscles and connective tissue in the waist, back, lower back and sacrum area.


3. Bear

Yin Organ: Spleen
Yang Organ:
Stomach
Element:
Earth
Season: n/a
Colour: Brown or beige
Direction: Centre, South West, North East
Number: 2, 5, 8
Bear Qigong

Rotate Waist like a Bear

  • Organ: Stimulates the stomach, pancreas and spleen through the hand postures and massaging body movements.
  • TCM: Qi circulation in abdomen, spleen and stomach. Strengthen the kidneys by stretching around the waist.
  • Health: Waist and lower back muscles, lumbar suppleness, digestion, appetite, constipation and elimination.

Swaying like a Bear

  • Organ: Stimulates the stomach, pancreas and spleen through swaying movements.
  • TCM: Qi circulation, nourish and stimulate the liver and kidneys, regulate emotions and strengthen bone marrow.
  • Health: Balance, waist and lower back muscles, help strengthen/relax the hip joints, strengthen the leg muscles, and upper and lower abdomen.

Rotate Waist like a Bear - Key Movements
Focus on creating a vertical circle that is driven by the waist, with the hands, arms, shoulders and head all following your waist movement. Through the rotation, the trunk follows an expansion and compression movement. The lower body is relaxed and centred.

Swaying like a Bear - Key Movements
Focus on creating fluid stability in the lower body, moving your centre of gravity forwards and backwards in a squatting stance. The waist drives the rotation of the body, which creates the swaying arms, helping to expand and compress the internal organs.


4. Monkey

Yin Organ: Heart
Yang Organ:
Small Intestines
Element:
Fire
Season: Summer
Colour: Red, orange, pink, purple
Direction: South
Number: 9
Monkey Qigong

Raising Monkey Paws

  • Organ: Stimulates the heart through compression and expansion movements.
  • TCM: Nourishes blood flow, strengthen the blood vessels governed by the heart, massages the heart and stimulates blood and qi circulation to the brain. The changing hand postures stimulate qi in the 3 yin and 3 yang meridian channels in the wrist/hand.
  • Health: Balance, neuromuscular response, respiration and lung health.

Picking Fruit

  • Organ: To regulate the heart mind.
  • TCM: The head movements help boost blood flow to the brain.
  • Health: Level emotions, settle the central nervous system, reduce depression and anxiety.

Raising Monkey Paws - Key Movements

Focus on creating a rooted posture when lifting the heels and maintaining an upright spine and head as you progress towards the height of the movement. As you raise the arms up, the abdomen and anus are pulled in and released when you lower down, following an expand and compress motion. The arms follow with an even paced movement.

Picking Fruit - Key Movements
Focus on the lower body creating a stable base that co-ordinates smoothly with the upper body. The choreography of the arms is complex with a variety of movements, stretches, expansion and compress that are all repeated symmetrically on each side of the body.


5. Crane

Yin Organ: Lungs
Yang Organ:
Large Intestines
Element:
Metal
Season: Autumn
Colour: White and metallic
Direction: West and North West
Number: 6 (yang), 7 (yin)
Crane Qigong

Crane stretching Upwards

  • Organ: Stimulates the lungs and lung meridian through the arms raising and lower and the hand postures.
  • TCM: Stimulate qi and blood in all of the meridians. Nourish and balance qi in the Du mai (governor meridian) and Ren mai (conception meridian). Balance yin yang in the body.
  • Health: mobility, respiration, lung capacity, bronchitis, pulmonary emphysema

Flying like a Crane

  • Organ: Stimulates the lungs and lung meridian through massaging movements and the hand postures.
  • TCM: Massage the heart muscle. Strengthen overall blood and qi flow.
  • Health: Balance, leg strength, respiration, lung capacity and oxygen supply.

Crane stretching Upwards - Key Movements
Focus on the lower body creating stability to co-ordinate with the opening movements of the arms, changing from the beak hand posture to open flying wings. The arms progress from a triangle posture to an arc posture, whilst the trunk goes through a coordinated expand and compress motion.

Flying like a Crane - Key Movements
Focus on creating stability to enable standing on one leg with ease and grounding. A stable base will ensure the upper body movements maintain an even flow of motion. The arm movement flows through the joints relaxing the shoulders and elbows as you raise the wrists, then by relaxing the shoulder, elbows and wrist as the arms lower.


6. Convey Qi to Dantian

  • Closing breaths and body rubbing.
  • TCM: Gather qi and into the dantian. Remove excess qi.

Share