Overseas students from Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine practice Wuqinxi, or Five-Animal Exercises, a traditional Chinese activity believed to prevent and cure illnesses and prolong life. [Photo provided to study-shanghai.org]
Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine recently introduced a group of overseas students to Wuqinxi, or Five-Animal Exercises, to help them balance internal energy and keep good health.
The traditional exercise is primarily characterized by a set of medical qigong (breathing exercises) and requires the participants to imitate the movements and manners of animals.
The regular practicing of Wuqinxi can help dredge the main and collateral channels, regulate breath and blood, nourish the viscera, strengthen muscle and bones, and thus achieve the purpose of disease prevention and prolonging life.
Following the instructo's guidance, the students immersed themselves in the exercise and mimicked the behaviors of tigers, deers, bears, apes and birds.
For example, they put their hands and feet on the ground, moved back and forth, and made their faces toward the sky to imitate tigers; while the bird exercise required them to put one foot on the floor, lift another one, and open their arms as if they were flying.
Through following the instructions and patiently practicing the movements, the students were able to relax and embrace the ancient practice.
The Five-Animal Exercises dates back more than 1,800 years and was created by Hua Tuo, a highly-skilled doctor who lived in the late Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220).