January 3, 2013

Qigong Health, Youth and Longevity Routines: 5 Animals Play or Wu Qin Xi

Qigong routine 5 Animals Play/ Wu Qin Xi is analysed in terms of its history, structure and underlying principles.. Physician Hua Tuo's study of 5 Animals led him to design this life-extending and health-improving exercise routine which is suited to old and young alike and conveys tremendous benefits if practised regularly.

Wu Qin Xi

Towards the end of China's Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE) Physician Hua Tuo had become greatly concerned about the adverse effects of extreme Continental weather-patterns on inhabitants' health across China's vast Central Plains. This was particularly severe during the prolonged, hard winters regularly affecting this region.

Wu Qin Xi was designed by Hua Tuo to remedy this state of affairs.This Qigong routine, practised for almost 2,000 years, is still as popular as ever in the People's Republic and is becoming increasingly so in the West.

Hua Tou (145-208 CE)

Country folks needed to stay indoors during extended periods of deep snow-fall and prolonged cold. This caused the Qi (vital energy) flow within their bodies to stagnate and many ailments and much suffering ensued. Hua Toh had noted, however, that activity within the animal kingdom, amongst the region's many creatures, continued unabated all-year-round.

Five Animals

Hua Tuo's studies identified 5 particular animals whose movements form the basis of this Qigong routine. Hua Tuo considered each of these ideal examples of vigorous natural health and thus the movements of the Crane, Deer, Tiger, Monkey and Bear are performed in 5 individual sequences comprising this routine.

Crane, Deer, Tiger, Monkey and Bear

These 'Famous Five' appear in what we now call '5 Animals Play'. Regular performance of this routine, Hua Tuo concluded, would enable people to adjust and align themselves naturally with changing environmental conditions, just as these 5 Animals did so well every year. Performing Wu Qin Xi, in fact, increased health and extended the lifespans of those doing so regularly.

Historical Background

The exercise's history is grounded in ancient health-giving activities from China's Yangzhao culture, 5,000 Years BCE. Yangzhao Pottery fragments clearly depict figures practicing related Qigong routines. 'Wu Qin Xi' is also the oldest written record of a complete Qigong sequence-- pictorial silk Qigong wall-charts, however, discovered preserved in ancient tombs represent older records still.

The writings of successive generations of Daoist sages have transmitted the details of Wu Qin Xi to subsequent Chinese generations. Recent Chinese medical scientific research confirms the benefits of regularly performing 5 Animals Play (1) and the 5 key sub-routines comprising the whole.


The vigour and balance of the Crane, the stability of the ponderous bear, the monkey's agility and nimbleness, the Tiger's strength and courage and the deer's grace and virility must be understood individually (physically, mentally and spiritually) to 'fine-tune' one's performance. Once this is accomplished, one sub routine at a time, the whole sequence can be performed.

Experienced Qigong enthusiasts wishing to extend their knowledge of Qigong routines might be intrigued by Wu Qin Xi's 5 Animal focus. Beginners and first-timers wishing to try out Chinese health preserving and life-extending exercises requiring a user-friendly training package to suit all ages and fitness should consider the one below.

Article Source: EzineArticles

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