“5 Elements – 5 Animals” is an approach I have developed, inspired by the customs and traditions from the East. It focuses on the dominant movement patterns that are essential for leading a healthy and fit life.
Qi Gong has the “Five Animal Frolics” which are thousands of years old and represent each of the five elements in traditional Chinese medicine, astrology and metaphysics.
The five elements are- Fire, Earth, Metal, Water, Wood. The theory of the five elements describes movement and the relationships between different phenomena in nature.
The Five Animal Frolics can be traced back to the earliest form of Medical Qi Gong.
Physical exercises were recommended as a method of rehabilitation, recovery and prevention of illness and injury. This aspect of prevention is key part of the theory and is often overlooked.
The Tiger, Deer, Bear, Monkey and Bird were animals which inspired deep breathing and deep stretching exercises. Based on the actions, movements and habits of these animals, Qi Gong developed a series of movements and exercises.
In today’s modern world, many different cultures have drawn inspiration from the 5 Elements and 5 Animals approach. Even Dreamworks has their own “famous five” in their amazing movie, Kung Fu Panda!
Not all provinces or traditions have the same animal for the same element. We have the Tiger, Dragon, Bear, Crane and Monkey in our own methodology as we feel these best depict the movement patterns we wish to express.
Of our five, the Dragon arguably is “mythical”- in ancient Chinese culture, the Dragon was exclusively the domain of the the Yellow Emperor as that animal was believed to have had magical powers!
5 Animal Fitness
I have developed the “5 Animal Fitness” program which expresses the fundamental movement patterns through different animals!
- The TIGER represents the squat movement pattern.
- The DRAGON represents the twist / rotation movement.
- The BEAR represents the bend movement.
- The CRANE represents the push and lunge movement patterns.
- The MONKEY represents the pull and lunge movement patterns.
This is what I term “The Journey Of Man’s Movement“. It is moving in the way our bodies were designed to move.
We can find our path to health and fitness, and ultimately through to improved performance, by understanding and correcting our imbalances, and returning to these key dominant movement patterns.
The human body was made to crawl, to run, to jump; to squat, lunge, bend, and twist; to push and pull!