In the 5 Elements, the Tiger is related with the Metal Element of the 5 Element Theory of Chinese Medicine. The metal element is related to the organ system of the Lungs. The related emotion is grief. Deep breathing is an integral part of the Tiger. There are several levels which serve to open up the Lung Meridian quite deeply, Level I and Level III being the deepest.
Tiger Level I: 上山虎 Shan Shang Hu—Tiger Climbs the Mountaintop
Empty Stance (Xu Bu 虚步): Ensure that 99% of the weight is on the back foot, which is turned outwards to a 45-degree angle. The front knee is straight and the front foot is directly in front of you. By keeping the knee of the front leg straight and the foot flat, the leg is stretched. The knees are also in alignment.
Anatomical and Physiological Benefits – Empty Stance (Xu Bu 虚步): During the Tiger, the spleen and liver are compressed and squeezed out.
Tiger Claw (虎爪 Hu Zhua): Hold 30% tension in the hand as you curl the first and second interphalangeal joints of the fingers and thumb. Keep the tension throughout the exercise. The main tension point is across the middle Lao Gong Point. When practicing Tiger, it is important to always hold tension in the Tiger Claw. Do not let go of the tension. This builds pressure in the meridians and acupuncture points in the hand and in the Lao Gong point.
Read more about benefits of holding the Tiger Claw in Five Animal Qigong book.
Begin with Opening 3 times.
Body: With the left palm facing up in a tiger claw in front of the body, step out with the left foot while the right foot is turned out to a 45-degree angle. The right hand is at the waist level facing down.
Bring the right arm around in a circle until the hand is parallel with your shoulder and the ground. From here, try to lift it higher until you reach your maximum stretch. Simultaneously let the left hand and arm circle behind you in the opposite direction, going to your maximum stretch in that direction. The head is facing down; bring the body down so that the back is straight. You should feel a stretch in the kidneys and compression of the spleen.
Turn the right arm from the shoulder to the hand to the right to get a maximum twist. At the same time, rotate the left arm to the left from the shoulder to the hand to get the maximum twist.
Then rotate the left arm back to the original position and turn the left foot in a 45-degree angle to the left.
Step out in front with the right foot, at the same time circling your arms in the opposite direction so that the right arm goes behind you and the left arm is now in front of you.
The eyes should always be looking down at the ground. With each repetition feel as if you are climbing a mountain. Do 6-10 repetitions.
Breath: Breathe in when you swing the arms and breathe out as you twist them. Breathe naturally. Learn the advanced breathing technique from a teacher under supervision, otherwise it can be dangerous.
Spirit: The feeling is as if you are a tiger climbing to the top of a mountain. In China, the tiger is revered as the king of the animal world.
The spirit of the tiger is powerful, strong, confident, and can be fierce if needed. Feel all these feelings coming through each movement. Become the tiger.
Anatomical and Physiological Benefits: Fascia/Anatomy
- Stretches the visceral fascia that surrounds and holds the kidneys
- Compresses and squeezes the visceral fascia around the spleen and liver
- The arms move in opposite directions so you get a dynamic cross stretch along the back of the body.
© Copyright Anatomy Trains, Thomas Meyers
To learn more about Fascia and Tiger Qigong see the book Five Animal Qigong
Chinese Medicine Relationship:
This motion is a metal-like movement – chopping and descending. Practitioners should also be aware that beyond all physical extension and contraction of the movements, it is the internal impact of these movements that brings the long-term healing benefits. In particular, the bending and flexing movement on the Spinal Column will help to activate the meridians along the Du Mai (governing channel), which extends along the posterior midline, and Ren Mai (conception channel), which extends along the anterior midline, which keeps it blockage free, ensures the smooth flow of Qi and blood and promotes the balance of Yin and Yang.
Meridians/Acupuncture Points Targeted: All Meridians of the Arms
- How it works – the twisting of the arms dilates the meridians in the arms. The secret breathing technique helps further intensify the dilation for further pumping and opening.
- Dilates the meridians of the arms (lungs, heart, pericardium, triple burner small intestines, large intestines). Opens up the Ren and Du Mai (Governing and Conception Vessels).
- The flat-footed empty stance stretches the Stomach Meridian particularly at the ST-41 (Jie Xi) point, which is the point that activates this meridian and calms the spirit. This point is also good for problems in the lower leg and ankle.
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 about the upcoming Five Animal Qigong live training at whitetigerqigong.com/event