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Medical Qigong Education Centre

Wu Qin Xi: Five-Animal Qigong Exercises by  the Chinese Health Qigong Association


Singing Dragon, London and Philadelphia, 2008

ISBN:  978 1 84310 007 8


The Chinese Health Qigong Association is an organization which promotes and researches health qigong and is a group member of the All-China Sports Federation. CHQA promotes four particular classical qigong practices, of which this is one, both in China and abroad. The Health Qigong Federation UK is the organisation recognised by CHQA in UK.  CHQA sends teams of health qigong masters to various countries to teach people. They also set standards for these forms.





Wu qin xi is a classical qigong that was designed by Hua Tuo (110-207A.D.), known as the Father of Chinese Medicine. The exercises are also known as Five Animal Frolics or Five Animal Play. The five exercises correspond to the five yin and five yang internal organs in Chinese Medicine. This is the earliest set of qigong exercises mentioned in a written work.


Hua Tuo watched the movements of animals in creating these exercises to promote health and longevity. Two of his disciples lived to the ages of 90 and 100.


The five animals are tiger, deer, bear, monkey and bird. In this particular version of  five animal qigong, there are two exercises for each animal.


Of the four practices promoted by CHQA, I think that this is the most demanding. Some of the postures require balancing on one leg and the movements are more complex. It would definitely be impossible to learn correctly without a DVD to follow. I would recommend starting qigong practice by learningh ba duan jin or liu zi jue before moving on to yi jin jing and wu qin xi.


In the book, after introducing the history of wu qin xi, some of the characteristics of the animal movements are explained and  some practice tips are given. Then, the book goes through a step-by-step description of each of the ten practices (two for each animal). After each practice, the key points are highlighted, common mistakes are given, how to correct them and the benefits of the practice is explained.


One slight drawback to the book is that being produced by a Chinese team and is written like a textbook. Personally, I like to read books which give the personal background and experiences of the author and that are written in a more chatty style.  


The DVD is very professionally and beautifully done and is one of the best that I have seen. The practitioners demonstrating the forms are clearly very experienced and are excellent models to follow.


On the DVD, after an introduction, the  forms are demonstrated step by step. Then the exercises are demonstrated step by step, including corrections for  some common mistakes. My recommendation would be to watch and learn each form from the DVD and to just use the book for reference once you’ve learned the forms.


This book and DVD are a reliable and thorough guide to the practice of wu qin xi. CHQA have done a great job researching and updating this ancient practice. Since the book includes a DVD, this is a great bargain.


Wu qin xi is definitely a great exercise for general health. If you aren’t already familiar with the principles and methods of qigong, I would strongly recommend that you also get a good general book on qigong and I have no hesitation in recommending Ken Cohen’s “The Way of Qigong”.


Read my web page about Five Animal Frolics.