Five Animal Frolics is the most ancient moving qigong system created by the famous
Chinese Medicine practitioner, Hua Tou (110-207 A.D.). Hua Tou is known as the Father
of Chinese Medicine. His works are still referred to today. There is a Daoist legend
that Hua Tou actually received this practice from two Daoist hermits living in a
cave on Mount Gong Yi.
The exercises are sometimes known as Five Animal Play. The five animals are the fierce
and untamed tiger, the graceful deer, the steady and lumbering bear, the agile monkey
and the flying crane. There is a set of qigong exercises based upon each of these
five animals, mimicking not only the movements but also the attitude and bearing
of the animal. The complete system develops grace and flexibility, strength and
balance. The exercises promote the circulation of qi.
There is a correspondence between the Five Animal Frolics and the Five Elements of
Chinese Medicine. The Five Elements correspond to the internal organs and Hua Tou
designed the exercises so they are preventative and prescriptive for the internal
organs as follows:
In Chinese Medicine, the Yin Organs are thought of as being deeper and are generally
more important than the Yang Organs. In general, the Yang Organs receive, break down
and absorb the parts of food that are transformed into substances useful to the body
and the remainder is excreted.