Monday, May 27, 2013

Eight Animals Frolic Chi Kung Exercises

Eight Animals' Frolics Chi Kung Exercises
A webpage by Michael P. Garofalo

Five Animal Frolics Qigong (Wu Qin Xi)

Valley Spirit Qigong in Red Bluff, California

""Breathing in and out in various manners, spitting out the old and taking in the new, walking like a bear and stretching their neck like a bird to achieve longevity - this is what such practitioners of Daoyin, cultivators of the body and all those searching for long life like Ancestor Peng, enjoy."
-   Chuang-tzu, circa 300 BCE. (1)

There was a feudal lord, the Marquis of Dai (King Ma), who lived around 160 BCE during the Western Han Dynasty.  When the Marquis of Dai, his wife, and his son died, there were many objects placed in their family tomb as part of funeral rites and customs.  In 1973, archeologists in China excavated the family tomb of the Dai family on the outskirts of the city of Changsha in Hunan Province.  In the son's tomb they discovered a lacquered box containing medical manuals, documents, and a silk scroll on which were drawn 44 humans in various poses or postures.  Under each pose was a caption with the name of an animal or the name of a disease that the posture might help prevent or cure.  The chart or diagram (Tu) on this scroll shows Daoyin (Guiding/Leading Energy and Stretching/Pulling Out) exercises or poses.  A number of the postures shown on this Daoyin Tu closely resemble some in the Eight Section Brocade and in the Five Animal Frolics (i.e., the bear, monkey, and bird).  (2)

Improved artistic rendition of the Daoyin Tu, circa 160 BCE.

Another medical manuscript with Daoyin methods, the Yinshu (Stretch Book), dated at 186 BCE, related to the Daoyin Tu, describes 100 exercises, and gives advice on seasonal health regimens, hygiene, diet, disease prevention, sleep, and sexual behavior. (2)   We have ample evidence that Chinese physicians, and the aristocratic and wealthy classes of ancient Chinese society, had access to therapeutic and holistic exercise and massage methods (Daoyin) well before the advent of the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 CE)."

Eight Animals' Frolics Chi Kung Exercises
Introduction to Animal Frolics by Michael P. Garofalo

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