Crane Qigong of Five Animals Qigong= Fire-Heart-Joy
This is one of my favorite Qigong forms from the Five Animal Qigong.
It is the last Qigong form of the Winter Road, which is also called Level IV, although you can do it at any level. The way the Five Animal Qigong was designed was to be done either as part of the complete form or each individual Qigong exercise could be practiced on its own or as part of a prescription of exercises as is common in Medical Qigong.
Check below the video for instructions and benefits of this Qigong.
CRANE LEVEL IV: 长飞鹤 ZHANG FEI HE—CRANE SOARS AND DESCENDS
Body: Bring your left leg forward (foot faces forward) and put all your weight on it while bending at the knee and bringing your back foot directly behind the front foot.
Just touch your toes of the back foot to the ground. The arms are crossed and in front of your body. Use the same finger position from the other Crane levels. Now bring your back leg behind you, straightening the knee of the back leg and pointing your toes behind you. Bring the leg as high as it can go while maintaining a crouched position.
At the same time, raise the arms outwards with the hands slightly in front of the shoulders.
Spread the arms as far and as high as they can go. You should now feel a stretch in the chest and shoulders. Then step with the back leg in front of you and begin the same sequence on the right foot.
On the 9th repetition (or 2nd to last) hold it for 20 seconds and on the 10th (or last) repetition hold it for 30 seconds. Keep the breath natural in this phase.
Qigong Breathing Instructions: Exhale as you spread your wings and inhale as you bring your arms in.
Spirit: As you open your wings, feel as if you are soaring. As you bring your arms in, feel as if you are descending.
Anatomical and Physiological Benefits: Fascia/Anatomy
This promotes forward/backward balance on the standing leg while the body is in a horizontal alignment. This indicates we are toning and holding all the muscles along the back, which includes the neck, along the spine and the legs and along the arms. Everything is held up against gravity.
© Copyright Anatomy Trains, Thomas Meyers
It is therefore a back of the body toning exercise, which keeps the fascia on the back of the body strong and engaged to balance all of the forward movement.
To learn more about Fascia and Qigong see the book Five Animal Qigong
Chinese Medicine Relationship:
The Crane is associated with the element of Fire, which is related to the organ of the Heart. Joy is the emotion of the heart and as Chinese Medicine teaches us, excess anything even joy can be detrimental. Thus, the Crane helps relieve excess and brings peace.
Particular to this animal, as you stretch out, the Qi goes through the meridians of the arms and legs.
Other activities this is beneficial for is:
- Stiff shoulders, neck and back from working at a desk
- Tight chest
- Leg strength and balance
- Stretches the biceps
- Stretches the psoas which affects the entire body
Try doing at least 3-9 repetitions on each side of the body.
You can also see it live in the Five Animal Qigong Online Course
Find out more about White Tiger Qigong teacher training programmes on our Qigong blog.