Authentic Wu Xing Qi Gong – Five Animal Qi Gong

Original Source Notice: The original article is found in our Wudangforum

Five Animal Qi Gong (五形氣功 –  Wu Xing Qi Gong) originates from the famous Daoist Hua Tuo 華佗 (c. 140–208). He worked as a doctor during the Han Dynasty and was one of the first who implemented internal medicine according to the Bagua theory. The teachings of Hua Tuo are the foundation of today’s traditional Chinese medicine. Hua Tuo created the Five Animal Qi Gong with the concept of the “Five Element Theory” by calculating the powers of Yin and Yang into natural relations with the help of Bagua trigrams. As a concept of natural harmony Hua Tuo focused on restoring the internal balance inside the patient’s body by adjusting the Yin-Yang balance with the use of internal medicine and Qi Gong exercises. He counted as the best doctor during his period; he was executed later by Cao Cao (155-220) for deceiving him, Cao Cao deeply regretted his actions later by being unable to treat his son from a serious illness.

The concept of Five Animal Qi Gong is the relation to the five principal organs which are: Kidneys, Liver, Heart, Spleen, Lung. Each organ is responsible for physical and mental health and is a diagnostic tool in Chinese medicine. Hua Tuo’s teachings make aware of the understanding of our consciousness and the natural connection with our perception on physical and mental levels. This concept created the essential foundation for philosophical Daoism to turn into a practical way of longevity.

The Daoists continued to study the teachings of Bagua theory and Hua Tuo’s animal theory. Inspired by immortality and the internal understanding of our nature, very effective health prevention exercises were created, using all resources of our being to restore and balance the internal energy (Qi). This internal energy is the concept of our very existence on all levels.

Our Academy is certified from Wudangshan to have inherited the authentic study of traditional Daoist Wu Xing Qi Gong. There are many other dubious five animal styles, the main reason why people consider our Qi Gong is that you feel the health benefits after the first lesson. Reading this article is not enough since there is also the internal focus with coordinated breathing. You can study our Qi Gong in our academies or online via Patreon; we have many in-depth tutorials regarding this exercises.

Five Animal Qi Gong does show health benefits after only one training session and helps to restore one’s health in a very short amount of time. People who study Qi Gong for years and still have health issues, certainly do something wrong. Five Animal Qi Gong should not only restore health but strengthen the body and improve life quality; this is why our Qi Gong is a life long mission to enhance the connection of our body and mind.

The five postures (animals) are Dragon, Tiger, Leopard, Serpent (Snake) and Crane.

Note: The five animal postures work best when practiced in the listened order, specific orders may be used for TCM self-therapy but are not recommend in general practice without a master’s directions. Like the five seasons, these postures interconnect with each other.

Dragon – Water Element – Kidney Meridian (Kd1-27)

Kidney MeridianThe Dragon pose opens the meridian of the kidneys by stretching the fascia and blood vessels. The position also relieves pressure in the spine and the knee joints. The posture consists of turning the front knee 90 degrees and twisting the lower back while keeping the channels between chest and shoulder round like in Zhan Zhuang exercise. The kidney has an important function of storing energy. Stimulating the kidneys with this posture makes us feel more awake (this has an emotional effect of losing fear and may result becoming more gentle). The turning of the cervical spine while looking into your extended hand can improve one’s equilibrium capacity. Diminished hearing or ringing noises in the ear or dryness, hot flashes, night sweat and dark circles under the eyes can be a sign for weak kidney Qi.

Tiger – Metal Element – Lung Meridian (Lu1-11)

Lung MeridianThis posture uses the lung function by transporting oxygen in a state of high tension. The tiger promotes self-discipline and can help in the emotional state of grief and may result in bravery. During this exercise, the lung meridian is stimulated by stretching both arms and shoulders. The tiger can improve the “long breathing” by not losing power too fast when breathing, a longer breath results in slower heart rhythm and greater energy (Qi) efficiency. The power to last longer gives us the emotional state of being able to do anything and can ease depression. With the Tiger posture the physical body grows strong and the mental determination stable. Overly critical people or people with a higher risk of allergies, asthma and skin diseases can restore their Qi balance by stimulating the lung meridian.

Leopard – Wood Element – Liver Meridian (Lv1-14)

Liver MeridianThe leopard stance helps against too much yang energy and harmonizes the Yin-Yang balance by promoting the liver Qi. The most important part is the vertical positioning of the upper body, this helps to bring the Qi flow up to the Bai Hui 百會 (GV20) to ease headaches, migraines, eye pain, dizziness and hypertension originating from the liver fire. The posture relieves the emotional state of anger and may result in a clear vision of goals. The Leopard posture is the most important for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s prevention; patients have the feeling of easing the symptoms by practicing this stance.

Serpent (Snake) – Earth Element – Spleen Merdian (Sp1-20)

Spleen MeridianThe Serpent stimulated the spleen by relieving the hip from blockades and opening the joints. The alignment of the upper body must be the same as the legs and connect the spleen meridian in one straight line. This alignment promotes the circulation of the Shen Zhu 身柱 (GV12) and makes it an effective posture for easing the effects of epilepsy and enhances the effects of the Tiger and Leopard postures. The Serpent is necessary for intellectual people since they tend to overuse the earth Qi and may have more problems with digestion, diarrhea, bloating and food allergies. Regular practicing of the Serpent may result in more joy in life.

Crane – Fire Element – Heart Meridian (Hd1-9)

Heart MeridianThe Crane posture is effective for stressed and hectic people (ADHD syndrome). The breathing must be calm and flowing to promote a slow heartbeat and so emotional silence. The extended arms should be relaxed but remain in place without moving. People who are vulnerable to hot weather should practice the Crane posture. Practicing the Crane can help in the emotional state of hatred and may result in resolving.

Special Thanks to Bernhard, a student of the Wudang Academy Vienna for demonstrating us the postures on this rainy example videos.
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