There are already many morning qigong exercises available on the Internet. Why do I come out with another one?
First of all, it is for its simplicity. As a qigong sequence, the Five Elements is easy to pick up. You can learn it in half an hour. After that, just five minutes a day for the practice.
It is useful, especially for beginners. You want a qigong exercise that is simple to get started. If it works for you, you continue to practice. You may even try something more complex to enjoy more of the benefits of the exercise.
Another reason for me to pick this exercise is that it works on the Five Elements.
For those of you who are new to qigong, you may wonder what the Five Elements are. In the views of traditional Chinese cosmology, everything in the universe belongs to at least one of the five elements.
It is a big topic and clearly beyond the scope of this article. However, it is useful if you know what each element refers to when you are performing the exercise.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, each element relates to a pair of internal organs in a body, as shown in the diagram below.
In this qigong exercise, each movement focuses on an element. We begin with Earth, followed by Metal, Water, Wood, and Fire. When we follow the sequence, we exercise the five pairs of Internal organs, one at a time.
When we are doing Earth, for example, we’re exercising our spleen and stomach. When we are doing Wood, we are exercising our liver and gallbladder.
As you can see, although the exercise takes only five minutes a session, it systematically exercises each of our internal organs. If you feel like doing more, you can always repeat the exercise. Two times? Three times? Up to you.
To help you derive more from the qigong exercise, I have introduced two additional things to work on.
The first of them is incorporating movements of animals into the practice.
I got the inspiration from a qigong sequence developed by the renowned second-century surgeon Hua Tuo, with help from my colleague Wu Yilong, who is familiar with the exercise.
We associate an element to the movements of an animal and exercise the associated organs in the process. For example, when we imitate monkeys, we are exercising our spleen and stomach. When we are imitating a tiger, we are exercising our lungs and big intestine. It makes the exercise a lot more interesting.
Just do whatever you like, so long as you follow the characteristics of the original movements. Remember, we are imitating the animals, not for their movements but their impact.
The second thing that I’d like you to look at when performing the exercise is breathing.
Breathing is an essential aspect of qigong.
Although breathing is vital to our life, we often take it for granted. Many of us don’t breathe long and deep enough. Regular breathing is also easily disrupted by distractions around us, from anxiety and fear to worries.
The Five Elements not only gets us to breathe long and deep; it allows us to breathe with our entire body.
The vital internal organs that help us with our breathing are the heart and the lungs. From the perspective of Five Elements, the heart is Fire, and the lungs are Metal. The heart is in control of the lung.
For us to breathe effectively, the heart’s rhythm must be in line with that of the lungs. They, however, may not be in tandem. When this happens, the quality of breathing is compromised.
The Five Elements qigong exercise gets us to breathe long, relaxed, and deep. Thanks to the movements that we are performing, breathing with the entire body allows us to ensure this is done. It reduces the incidents of rhythmic disruption and improves the quality of our breathing. When the quality of breathing is good, it is beneficial to our health.
Now, let’s see how we can perform the exercise more effectively.
Breathing with the entire body
Table of Contents
Qigong exercise for every internal organ
It gets you to exercises on the Five Elements. Information to be updated soon.
Movements of the five animals
They make the exercise more interesting. Information to be updated soon.
Breathe with the whole body
It goes beyond deep breathing. It gets your entire body to breathe. Information to be updated soon.