Bear

Animal Frolic
 

Animal
Frolics Qigong: The Bear
An Ancient Chinese E
xercise Regimen for Nourishing Life (Yangsheng)
For Fitness, Fun, Increased Vitality, Confidence, Strength, Good Health and Longevity
Qigong (Chi Kung) Internal Energy Cultivation Method, Chinese Yoga, Chinese Stretching and Healing Exercises (Daoyin)
Wu Qin Xi Qigong: Five Animal Frolics Qigong
Xióng Xi Qigong: Bear Frolic Qigong



Introduction     Bibliography     Links     Movement Names

Lessons     Quotations     Bears     Correspondences     Lore

Cloud Hands Blog     Valley Spirit Qigong     The Good Life

 




Research by 
Michael P. Garofalo
 

© Valley Spirit Qigong, Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California, 2003-2012
By Michael P. Garofalo, M.S., All Rights Reserved.
Disclaimer

 

 

 

 

五禽戲

 Frolics of the Five Animals


Bear     Tiger     Monkey     Deer     Crane     Dragon     Animal Frolics
 

 

 

 

 

 

Bear

 

Introduction
Bear Frolic Qigong
 

 

There are many versions and variations of the Qigong Exercise set called The Frolics of the Bear.  Over the centuries, many playful qigong practitioners have created versions of the Bear Qigong that suited their preferences and felt comfortable for their body.  In addition, all psycho-somatic movement forms are naturally modified, in private practice, to suit the individual's body type, to accommodate injuries, to cope with aliments and illnesses, to adjust to levels of physical conditioning, to match different aims of practice (relaxation, fun, fitness, health, meditation, or martial arts), to provide variety, and to just "feel right."  Consequently, if you are taught different versions of a movement called "The Bear" just enjoy yourself and play like a bear.  

In the last twenty years, we have seen an increase in the number of English language books, magazine articles, and instructional videos and DVDs about the Five Animal Frolics.  There have been increasing numbers of qigong and taijiquan masters that teach the Five Animal Frolics in the United States:  Kenneth S. Cohen, John Du Cane, Franklin Fick, Paul Gallagher, Michael Gilman, Jiao Guorui, Jesse Tsao, Xue Zhi, Yang Jwing-Ming, etc. 

Correspondences and Alchemical Associations of the Bear include strength, power, determination, stability, and a keen sense of smell. 

Introduction and History of the Five Animal Frolics Qigong

 

Return to Main Index

 

 

 

 

Bibliography, Links and Resources
Bear Frolic Qigong

 

Alphabetical Index to the Cloud Hands and Valley Spirit Qigong Websites 


Ancient Way to Keep Fit.   Compiled by Zong Wu and Li Mao.  Translated by Song Luzeng, Liu Beijian, and Liu Zhenkai.  Paintings by Zhang Ke Ren.  Foreword by Kumar Frantzis.  Bolinas, California, Shelter Publications, 1992.  211 pages, glossary.  ISBN: 0679417893.  Outstanding illustrations by Zhang Ke Ren.  The Five Animal Frolics are beautifully illustrated on pages 68-80.  


Bear Frolic.  UTube Video, 2:08 Min.  Performed by Anson Rathbone, 2007.  As taught by Deguang at NESA's Medical Qigong Class. 


The Bear Frolic: Bibliography, Research, Links, Notes, Lessons   


Bear Kung Fu, Xióng Chuan 


Breathing Techniques in Qigong and Taijiquan 


Buddhist Qigong, Luohan Chi Kung, Eighteen Buddha Hands Qigong


Chinese Healing Arts: Internal Kung Fu.  Edited by William R. Berk.  Burbank, CA, Unique Publications.  209 pages.  ISBN: 0865680833.  VSCL.  Includes numerous translations of classic works.  Five Animal Frolics, pp. 57-70.


Cloud Hands Blog


Cloud Hands Website: Qigong and Taijiquan 


The Complete Book of Chinese Health and Healing.  By Daniel Reid.  Random House, 1994.  484 pages.  ISBN: 0877739293.  


Correspondences and Alchemical Associations of the Bear


Correspondences and Alchemical Associations of the Animals of the Five Animal Frolics Qigong 


The Crane Frolic:  Bibliography, Resources, Links, Lessons, Notes


Daoist Philosophy, World View, Beliefs, Scriptures  


The Deer Frolic:  Bibliography, Lessons, Links, Resources, Notes, Lore


The Dragon Frolic: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons, Notes, Lore 


Dragon Qigong  


Drawing Silk: A Training Manual for T'ai Chi, 1988, p.9.  
Drawing Silk: Masters' Secrets for Successful Tai Chi Practice.  By Paul B. Gallagher.  Third Edition.  Fairview, North Carolina, Total Tai Chi, 2007, 1988.  245 pages.  ISBN:  9781419663127.  VSCL.  The First Edition was published as Drawing Silk: A Training Manual for T'ai Chi.  By Paul B. Gallagher.  Guilford, VT, Deer Mountain Taoist Academy, 1988.  Reading lists, lists, 128 pages.  VSCL. 


Eight Section Brocade Qigong
   By Michael P. Garofalo, M.S.  History and purpose of this popular chi kung practice.  Descriptions for each of the eight movements, health benefits, comments, variations, extensive links and bibliography, resources, quotations, animated .gif photographs of the movements, and charts.  This file is updated on a regular basis as I add new material, links, notes, and resources.  A.K.A:  Baduanjin, Pa Tuan Jin, Eight Silken Treasures, Ba Duan Jin, Pal Dan Gum, Ba Duan Gin,  Pa Tin Kam, Otto Pezzi di Tesoro, Acht Delen Brokaat, Les Huit Exercices del la Soie, Eight Silken Treasures, Brocade Qigong, Wudang Brocade Qigong, Silk Treasures Qigong, First Eight Buddha Lohan Hands. 


Ecstatic Body Postures: An Alternate Reality Workbook.  By Belinda Gore.  Foreword by Felicitas Goodman.  Santa Fe,  New Mexico, Bear and Company, 1995.  Endnotes, 284 pages.  ISBN: 1879181223.  VSCL. 


Five Animal Frolics Qigong: Bibliography, Resources, Lessons, Links, Quotations, History


Five Animal Frolics Qigong: Crane and Bear Exercises.  By Franklin Fick.  Shen Long Publishing, 2005.  120 pages.  Illustrated with b&w line drawings.  ISBN: 1411627768.  VSCL.  The Bear Frolics Qigong is explained, with illustrations, on pp. 68-113. 


Five Animal Frolics: A Form Workbook.  A Complete Qigong Program for High Energy, Vitality and Well Being.  By John Du Cane.  St. Paul, Minnesota, Dragon Door Publications, 2002.  Second Edition, 2002.  121 pages.  Spiral bound notebook.  100 photographs.  No ISBN.  John Du Cane explains and provide photographs of demonstrations of 11 Bear movements and postures, pp. 38-67.  VSCL.  "Daoism celebrates and cultivates the art of living in accord with the cyclical play of natural energies, maintaining an easy, humorous, yet commonsense approach to everyday life. Daoism cultivates our capacity to spiral from the serene and tranquil to the energetic and dynamic. In this spirit, the Daoists created refined qigong systems of meditative movement to induce harmony with nature, generate energy, and at the highest levels, to achieve spiritual illumination.  Qigong teaches us to harmonize body, mind and breath while using scientifically choreographed movements to stimulate or relax our energy. Qigong bolsters the primal, reproductive vitality, or "jing"; it potentiates the daily bioelectrical energy, or "qi"; and it refines the light of our radiant spirit, or "shen". Imagine yourself as a candle: the candle body is your jing, the flame is your qi, and the candle light your shen. These three treasures are interdependent. Cultivation of the one leads to cultivation of the others, just as neglect or dissipation of the one will adversely affect the others. Qigong divides into two main categories—the tranquil and the dynamic. But, typically of Daoist practice, tranquil qigong will have a dynamic component—motionless on the surface, yet moving the qi internally. Dynamic qigong will also cultivate tranquility, learning to move vigorously from a still core. Skillful practitioners learn to be aware of and incorporate the full spectrum of internal and external activity, equally comfortable with the tranquil or the dynamic, always cultivating the seed of one within the soil of the other.  One of the most delightful and accessible of the dynamic qigongs has to be the Five Animal Frolics. The exercises combine the internal with the external, invigorating the organs and soothing the nervous system, while strengthening and toning the external musculature. They affirm a playful, uninhibited approach to meditative movement, allowing for strong benefits without an overly serious slog for results.  The father of Chinese medicine, Hua To concluded that the single greatest secret for a healthy life lay in the practice of correct movement. His analogy became dear to the hearts of all tai ji enthusiasts: "A door’s hinge won’t get worm-eaten, if you use it." Today we would say If you oil and use the hinge." Qigong and tai ji movements, when properly performed, stimulate that internal lubrication of free-flowing qi, blood, and lymph essential to our continued health and sense of well being. Believing also that the highest healing skill is to teach others to heal themselves, Hua To set out to create a complete self-healing system that anyone could use to stay healthy or cure themselves of most ailments. Synthesizing and refining a set of exercises based on a vast body of ancient shamanic and folk healing knowledge, he created The Five Animal Frolics. The Frolics incorporate many of the principles of tai ji but in a more basic form. They are far easier to perform than tai ji, very pleasurable and relatively simple to maintain as a daily practice. Individual sequences can be used as quick, invigorating stress-buster; the full program is an exhilarating therapeutic experience. The exercises model movement from the crane, the bear, the monkey, the tiger, and the deer. These are animals with very distinctive styles of movement. The idea is not merely to mimic the external motions of the animal, but to internalize the nature of that animal as you practice. Each Frolic also emphasizes different health benefits and you can choose a specific animal for specific results. Their movements form arcs, spirals, waves and spins, in accord with the Chinese belief that circular movement underlies all mental and subtle energetic activity. To avoid imbalance, the movements are sometimes slow, sometimes fast, and are deliberately designed to alternately strengthen and soften the body."


Five Animal Sports Qigong   Instructional DVD, 180 Minutes.  Instruction by Grandmaster Yang Jwing-Ming and Kathy Yang.  ISBN: 978-1-59439-110-6.  2008. 


Great Bear Star Steps


Hatha Yoga: The Hidden Language; Symbols, Secrets and Metaphor.  By Swami Sivananda Radha.  Foreward by B.K.S. Iyengar.  Spokane, Washington, Timeless Books, 1987, 1995.  Index, 308 pages.  ISBN:  0931454743.  MGC.  A wonderful book filled with lore, myths, symbols, stories, and metaphors about various yoga postures. Yoga postures that embody aspects of birds (pp. 180-225) include the Swan (Hamsasana), Crane (Bakasana), Eagle (Garudasana), Peacock (Mayurasana), and Cock (Kukkutasana).  


The Healing Promise of Qi: Creating Extraordinary Wellness Through Qigong and Tai Chi.  By Roger Jahnke, O.M.D..  Chicago, Contemporary Books, 2002.   Index, notes, extensive recommended reading list, 316 pages.  ISBN: 0809295288.
  VSCL. 


Health Qigong Federation UK   Five Animal Frolics 


The Jade Emperor's Mind Seal Classic.  The Taoist Guide to Health, Longevity, and Immortality.  Translated with commentary by Stuart Alve Olson.  Rochester, Vermont, 2003.  Index, bibliography, 216 pages.  ISBN: 0892811358.  Inculdes translations of "The Immortals" by Ko Hung, and "The Three Treasures of Immortality" by T'ien Hsin Chien.  This work was added to the Taoist Canon between 912 and 1116 CE.  
VSCL. 


Lifestyle Advice for Wise Persons  


Massage - Self-Massage, Patting 


The Monkey Frolic: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons, Notes, Lore 


Nature Spirits: How to Create Relationships the Nature Spirits of Animals


Power Qigong: The Bear and Tiger Frolics
.   Instructional DVD, 41 Minutes, by John Du Cane.  St. Paul, Minnesota, Dragon Door Publications, 1999.   Anti-Aging Series.  ISBN: 0938045210.  VSCL.  "The Bear is a great winter exercise. Slow, ponderous, but very strong, it warms the body, strengthens the spleen, and builds vitality. The Bear's twisting waist movements massage and invigorate the kidneys. The Bear is an excellent preventive against osteoporosis, as it is known to fortify the bones. The dynamic Tiger builds great power, strengthening your waist, sinews, and kidneys and developing you internally.  John DuCane presents proven qigong techniques in a slow, follow-along format designed to optimize learning, without having to constantly rewind and review. Improve your metabolism, digestion, and elimination - for weight control, more youthful appearance, and higher, longer-lasting energy.   Stimulate the lymph sytem - for a stronger immune system. Be less susceptible to the flu or colds and recover faster if you do get sick. Improve your circulation - alleviating conditions such as arthritis and chronic fatigue. Build stronger, more durable bones. Give your internal organs an inner massage - retarding the aging process by restoring your organs to peak efficiency. Increase oxygen in the tissues - reducing tensions, blocks and stagnant energy. Lubricate the joints - for pain free movement and greater flexibility. Soothe the nervous system - for feelings of contentment and serenity."


Protect Your Knees in Bear Movements    Instruction by Al Simon, 2009.  UTube Video, 3:54 pm. 


Qigong Essentials for Health Promotion.  By Jiao Guorui.  Translated by Jiao Tielan.  Beijing, China Reconstructs Press, 1988.  ISBN: 750720100.  ASIN: B000B6TA54.  The Animal Frolics are discussed and explained on 190-236.  The text includes illustrations (line drawings).  VSCL. 


Relaxation (Sung, Song, Shoong), Effortless Action, and Qigong    Links, bibliography, quotes, and notes.  By Mike Garofalo. 


Ripening Peaches:  Daoist Studies and Practices.  Taoist scriptures, bibliography, Quanzhen Daoism, Neidan, gardening, tea, history, qigong/daoyin, readings, etc. 


Sacred Circles  


Six Taoist Healing Sounds   Research by Mike Garofalo. 


Standing Bear: Valley Spirit T'ai Chi Ch'uan Level 1 Ranking Requirements 


Standing Meditation (Zhan Zhuang) 


Subject Index to the Cloud Hands Website 


Sun Style Taijiquan


Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) and Qigong 


The Taoist Body.  By Kristofer Schipper.  Translated by Karen C. Duval.  Foreword by Norman Girardot.  Berkeley, California, University of California Press, 1993.  Originally published in French in 1982 as Le Corps Taoiste.  Notes, bibliography, index, xx, 273 pages.  ISBN: 0520082249.  VSCL. 


Taoist Classics.  The Collected Translations of Thomas Cleary.  Boston, Shambhala Press.  Four Volumes:  Volume One, 296 pages, 2003.   Volume Two, 640 pages, 1999.   Volume Three, 304 pages, 2001.   Volume Four, 464 pages, 2003.  


The Tiger Frolic:  Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons, Notes 


Valley Spirit Qigong Website    Red Bluff, California.  Instructor:  Michael Garofalo. 


VSCL =  Valley Spirit Center Library, Red Bluff, California. 


The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing
, 1997, pp. 206-209.   The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing.  By Kenneth S. Cohen.  Foreword by Larry Dossey.  New York Ballantine Books, 1997.  Index, notes, appendices, 427 pages.  ISBN: 0345421094.  One of my favorite books: comprehensive, informative, practical, and scientific.  VSCL. 


Way of the Staff


Ways of Walking: Poems, Quotes, Sayings, Bibliography, Links, Lessons, Resources 


The Web That Has No Weaver: Understanding Chinese Medicine.  By Ted J. Kaptchuk, O.M.D..  Chicago, McGraw Hill Contemporary Books, 2nd Edition, 2000.  Index, bibliography, appendices, notes, 500 pages.  Foreword by Margaret Caudill, M.D., and by Andrew Weil, M.D.  ISBN: 0809228408.  An excellent introduction to traditional Chinese medicine and modern research on the topic.  VSCL. 


Wild Goose Qigong: Links, Bibliography, Quotes, Notes 


Winter Months: Quotes, Poems, Sayings


Wu Qin Xi (Five Animal Frolics): Chinese Health Qigong.  Compiled by the Chinese Health Qigong Association.  Beijing, Chine, Foreign Languages Press, 2007.  102 pages, includes an instructional DVD.  ISBN: 9787119047799.  VSCL.


Yi Jin Jing Qigong (Muscle/Tendon Changing Qigong): Bibliography, Links, Resources, Lessons.   By Mike Garofalo. 


 

Return to Main Index

 

 

 


                           

 

 

                       

 

 

 

 

 

Postures, Routines, Names of Movements
Bear Frolic Qigong 
 

 

Jiao Guorui, "Qigong Essentials for Health Promotion," Bear Frolic, 1988

Beginning Movement
1.  Bear Footwork 
2.  Rocking Movement 
3.  Downward Pressing Movement 
4.  Leaning Movement  
5.  Forward Pressing Movement 
Ending Movement

Qigong Essentials for Health Promotion.  By Jiao Guorui.  Beijing, China Reconstructs Press, 1988.  The Bear Folic is described and illustrated on pp. 195-202.

 

Paul Gallagher, "Drawing Silk," Bear Frolic, 1988

Bear Turns (Twists)
Bear Pushes Behind 
Bear Pushes Down  
Bear Puts Out Claws 
Bear Double Push with Palms 
Bear Double Push to Ground (Bending Forward Side to Side) 
Bear Double Push to Ground (Sit Back as You Push Out)  
Bear Walk: Bear Ambles Through the Woods
Bear Walk with Fists   
Bear Walk: Pointing at the Sun, Holding Up the Moon 
Bear Walk: Plucking Berries   

"Drawing Silk: Masters' Secrets for Successful Tai Chi Practice."  By Paul B. Gallagher.  Third Edition.  Fairview, North Carolina, Total Tai Chi, 2007, 1988.  pp. 1-9, 214-215.  

 

John Du Cane.  "The Five Animal Frolics Workbook," 2002. 

1.  Bear Turns 
2.  Bear Pushes Behind   
3.  Bear Pushes Down   
4.  Bear Puts Out Claws   
5.  Bear Double Push 
6.  Bear Push to Ground   
7.  Bear Pushes Back 
8.  Bear Ambles Though the Woods   
9.  Bear Walk with Fists 
10.  Pointing at the Moon, Holding Up the Sun 
11.  Bear Plucking Berries 

Five Animal Frolics: A Form Workbook.  A Complete Qigong Program for High Energy, Vitality and Well Being.  By John Du Cane.  St. Paul, Minnesota, Dragon Door Publications, 2002.  Second Edition, 2002.  121 pages.  John Du Cane explains and provide photographs of demonstrations of 11 Bear movements and postures, pp. 38-67. 

 

Franklin Fick.  "Five Animal Frolics Qigong: Crane and Bear Exercises," 2005. 

1.  Flopping Bear  [Ringing the Temple Gong] 
2.  Fishing Bear I & II    [Cloud Hands] 
3.  Turning and Tipping Bear  
4.  Squatting Bear  
5.  Rolling Bear  
6.  Hibernating Bear 
7.  Bear Crosses the Ice I & II
8.  Pushing Bear:  A.  Bear Pushes to the Side.  B.  Bear Pushes Up.  C.  Bear Pushes Down. 
9.  Marauding Bear:  A.  Bear Rolls Back.  B.  Mauling Bear.  C.  Bear Take Down
10.  Looking Bear     
 

Five Animal Frolics Qigong: Crane and Bear Exercises.  By Franklin Fick.  Shen Long Publishing, 2005.  120 pages.  ISBN: 1411627768.  The Bear Frolics Qigong is explained, with illustrations, on pp. 68-113. 

 

Anson Rathbone.  "Five Animal Frolics: Bear," 2007

1.  Bear Walk  
2.  Bear Climbs 
3.  Push  
4.  Toss the Picnic Table

Bear Frolic.  UTube Video, 2:08 Min.  Performed by Anson Rathbone, 2007.  As taught by Deguang at NESA's Medical Qigong Class. 

 

Chinese Health Qigong Association.  "Wu Qin Xi," 2007

1.  Rotating the Waist Like a Bear
2.  Swaying Like a Bear

"Wu Qin Xi."  By the Chinese Health Qigong Association, 2007.  The two Bear Frolics exercises are described on pp. 54-65. 

 

Michael Garofalo.  "Bear Frolic of the Five Animal Frolics," 2009

Bear Postures and Stances
1.  The Big Bear Turns from Side to Side    
2.  The Grizzly Bear Attacks with Its Claws      
3.  The Little Bear Swings from Side to Side 

Bear Frolic Qigong version by Michael P. Garofalo, 2009.   
 

Return to Main Index

 

 

 

         

 

 

Lessons, Instructions, Suggestions, Comments
Bear Frolic Qigong

 


There are many versions and variations of the Qigong Exercise set called The Frolics of the Bear.  Over the centuries, many playful qigong practitioners have created versions of the Bear that suited their preferences and felt comfortable for their body.  In addition, all psycho-somatic movement forms are naturally modified, in private practice, to suit the individual's body type, to accommodate injuries, to cope with aliments and illnesses, to adjust to levels of physical conditioning, to match different aims of practice (relaxation, fun, fitness, health, meditation, or martial arts), to provide variety, and to just "feel right."  Qigong is well known for its variety and creativity.  Consequently, if you are taught different versions of a set of movements called "The Bear Frolic Qigong," just enjoy yourself and play like a bear.  

In the last twenty years, we have seen an increase in the number of English language books, magazine articles, and instructional videos and DVDs about the Five Animal Frolics.  There have been increasing numbers of qigong and taijiquan masters that teach the Five Animal Frolics in the United States:  Kenneth S. Cohen, John Du Cane, Franklin Fick, Paul Gallagher, Michael Gilman, Jiao Guorui, Jesse Tsao, Xue Zhi, Yang Jwing-Ming, etc. 

I have selected eight postures and movement forms for the Bear Frolics exercises.  I have draw these exercises from the lessons of many master qigong teachers.  I chose what Bear Frolic exercises appealed to me from the scores of different Bear Frolics exercises that I studied.  

In general, bear forms emphasize turning, twisting, and bending at the waist; and a focus on the power of the shoulders and upper back when reaching, grabbing, and "clawing."  Bear forms usually have the feet separated in a horse stance, which helps exercise the thighs.   

 

 

 

 

Bear Frolic Qigong
Version by Michael P. Garofalo, 2009

 

Qigong includes resting postures between each exercise sequence.  When doing the Bear Frolic exercises the resting positions you might use include:

Stances or Postures:       

The Wu Ji Stance.  I have described this standing position in my webpage on Standing Meditation (Zhang Zhuang)

The Bear Spirit Posture:  "The name of this posture is derived from a wonderful carving of the Northwest Pacific Coast Indians in which the Grandfather Bear Spirit, the Great Healer, stands behind a shaman who holds the pose.  It is very old and, of all the postures, is the most widely known.  Evidence of it has been found in countries throughout the world, and historically it has existed from 6,000 BCE to the present."
-  Belinda Gore, Ecstatic Body Postures, p. 49. 

The Standing Bear Stance, Variation I:  Take a wide horse stance.  Feet can be pointing straight ahead or pointing out from your body at a 45° angle.  The knees should be bent as you squat down.  The knees should be in line with the feet.  The depth of the squat will depend upon your level of conditioning and any body mechanics or injury issues you may have.  Try to squat down a little more with every second repetition of this exercise.  Back should be straight.  Torso should be centered and upright.  Rest your hands on the sides of your thighs, just above your hip bones.  Your elbows should be pointing out to the sides at a 90° angle from the direction you are facing: if you are facing north (N12), your right elbow would point to the east (E3) and the left elbow to the west (W9).  With your eyes, take a wide angle and soft focus.  Breath naturally, deeply, and comfortably - as you bend down, breathe out; inhale as you rise up.    

 


1.  The Big Bear Turns from Side to Side


Movement Description of Big Bear Turns from Side to Side 

Face towards N12.  
Bent the upper torso down, flexing forward, keep the back straight and head up. 
Move the upper torso slowly towards the right side of E3.  Try to remain bent forward until you reach E3.
Keep your hands on your hips throughout this exercise. 
Gradually lift the head and torso until you are upright and the face and chest are facing towards E3. 
Your right elbow should be pointing towards S6 and your left elbow pointing towards N12. 
Gently turn the head only to the left and look towards N12. 
Gently bring the head back to face towards E3, the whole body is in an upright posture. 
Bend forward at the waist and draw the head and torso downward towards E3.

Move the upper body, flexed forward, from right side to the left side for 180 degrees, moving from E3 to W9. 
Gradually lift the head and torso until you are upright, and the face and chest are facing towards W9. 
Your right elbow should be pointing towards N12 and your left elbow pointing towards S6. 
Gently turn the head only to the right and look towards N12. 
Gently turn the head only back to the left, and W9.
Bend forward at the waist and draw the head and torso downward towards W9.
Move the upper body, flexed forward, from the left side to the right side for 180 degrees, moving from W9 to E3. 
Repeat the movement sequence from side to side, 3 to 8 eight repetitions. 

Breathe freely, comfortably, and deeply during this exercise. 

Return to Bear Spirit Posture or Wu Ji Stance

 

Compare this version of "Big Bear Turns from Side to Side" with the version in the Eight Section Brocade Qigong, and with the demonstration.   

 

2.  The Grizzly Bear Attacks with Its Claws

From the Bear Meditation Stance step out to the left into the Standing Bear Stance, Variation II. 

The Standing Bear Stance, Variation II:  Take a wide horse stance.  Feet can be pointing straight ahead or pointing out from your body at a 45° angle.  The knees should be bent as you squat down.  The knees should be in line with the feet.  The depth of the squat will depend upon your level of conditioning and any body mechanics or injury issues you may have.  Try to squat down a little more with every second repetition of this exercise.  Back should be straight.  Torso should be centered and upright.  Lift both hands up with the palms facing to the front, fingers open like the claws of a bear.  The elbows are bent with the upper arms parallel with the floor.  Look forward.  Face towards N12. 
 

Movement Description of The Grizzly Bear Attacks with Its Claws 

Slowly turn at the waist towards the right side, by 90 degrees until you are facing E3. 
Keep the hands up with the elbows bent. 
Look towards E3, bring the hands forwards about 12 inches as if you are attacking with the hands.  Exhale as hands move forward slowly.
Draw the hands back into a centered stance. 
Slowly turn at the waist towards the left side, by 180 degrees until you are facing W9. 
Look towards W9, bring the hands forwards about 12 inches as if you are attacking with the hands towards W9.  Exhale as hands move forward slowly.
Draw the hands back into a centered stance. 
Slowly turn at the waist towards the right side, by 90 degrees until you are facing N12.   
Slowly bend at the waist, flexing forward and down.  Draw both elbows inward and claw downward until the hands are behind the heels.  Exhale as you bend down. 
Slowly rise upward until you are back into a centered position, Standing Bear Stance, Variation II.  Look towards N12. 
Arms are raised and to the sides. 
Repeat the movement sequence 3 to 8 times. 

Return to Bear Spirit Posture or Wu Ji Stance


Franklin Fick calls this exercise the "Turning and Tipping Bear."  John Du Cane calls part of this exercise the "Turning Bear." 

The Bear has a gentle, peaceful, and nurturing side, a Yin side, as well as, as circumstances dictate, a fierce, powerful and destructive side, a Yang side.  Both aspects must be acknowledged and integrated into the practice of the Bear - as we try to become One with the Great Bear.  Most bears are omnivorous or carnivorous - hunters, stalkers, attackers. 

 

3.  The Little Bear Swings from Side to Side

Movement Description of The Little Bear Swings from Side to Side 

Stand with your feet a comfortable distant apart, less than shoulder width.  Toes should point forward.  Face N12.
Keep your knees over your feet in this exercise. 
Turn the upper body to the right side.
Draw the left hand up and tap the upper right chest (pectorals) with the left hand or lightly clenched left fist. 
Draw the right hand to the lower back and tap the left kidney area with the back of the right hand or lightly clenched right fist.
End by facing somewhere from NE2 to E3.  Upper torso remains upright.
Swing the upper torso from the right side E3, 180 degrees to the left side, to face somewhere from NW10 to W9. 
As the upper body moves from right to left, swing the arms to the other side.
Draw the right hand up and tap the upper left chest (pectorals) with the right hand or lightly clenched right fist. 
Draw the left hand down hand to the lower back and tap the right kidney area with the back of the left hand or lightly clenched left fist.
Slowly move from side to side as you become comfortable with the movement flow. 
You can speed the movement flow up as you become more skilled. 
Repeat for as many repetitions as you would enjoy doing. 

Breathe freely, comfortably, and deeply during this exercise. 

Return to Bear Spirit Posture or Wu Ji Stance

 

Alternate Names:  Ring the Temple Bell, Swaying from Side to Side, Reverse Bear, Swinging Arms, Turning Waist, Constant Bear, Knocking at the Gate of Life, Big Bear, Washing Machine.  Roger Jahnke calls this exercise "Ringing the Temple Gong" in his excellent book The Healing Promise of Qi, 2002, p. 70-71.  

Some Qigong players slap, tap, or hit the body quite vigorously, with a kind of intention to "toughen" the body, supposedly helping them to create an "iron shirt" to enable them to withstand blows without being injured.   

Cheng Man-ch'ing: Master of Five Excellences.  Translation and commentary by Mark Hennessy.  Berkeley, California, Frog, Ltd., 1995.  On pages 113-117, there is "An Explanation of the "Constant Bear."  Cheng Man-ch'ing (1901-1975) was a famous Taijiquan master and Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine.  "It means "ch'ang" or constant, and refers to the constant, daily swinging to and fro of the bear's waist.  So, this move should be called The Constant Bear. The Constant Bear combines the Five Animal Frolics and t'aichi into a single move." p. 114  "I bequeath the Constant Bear movement to the elderly, the sick, and the frail.  It is a wonderful, traditional exercise which is both simple and easy.  You can also use it for self-defense until you are years old.  All this is easily obtained.  Although my explanation is short and simple, if you understand its principles and practice with perseverance, after as few as one hundred days of moving your ch'i, you will notice a marked improvement in health and strength and no longer need to worry about illness.  It is truly a "sacred raft" to strengthen our bodies and bears no semblance to other well know yet inferior exercises."  p. 115  

In 1983, while living in Hacienda Heights, California (home of the famous Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple), I walked most mornings at Burton Park.  It was a lovely park in a suburban neighborhood with a large circular concrete walking pathway.  As I walked and exchanged good mornings ("Zao An" = good morning," "Ni Hao Ma" = how are you") with many Chinese people, I observed many older women gathered in small groups and chatting as they swung their arms from side to side.  I have watched thousands of Taijiquan and Qigong players do The Little Bear Swings from Side to Side

Protect Your Knees in Bear Movements    Instruction by Al Simon, 2009.  UTube Video, 3:54 pm. 

 

4.  The Brown Bear Digs for Food

Movement Description of The Brown Bear Digs for Food 

 

 


 

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Bear Frolics Qigong
Bear Lore, Information, Facts, Quotes, Links

 

"The Bear appears clumsy on the outside, but is alert and spirited within.
Ponderous and solid, sunken and stable, but with lightness concealed internally.
Its powerful flanks shake while moving and can be used to strike.
Ch'i sinks to the Dan T'ien and remains in the Middle Court."
The Five Animal Classic, Translated by Paul B. Gallagher
    Drawing Silk: A Training Manual for T'ai Chi, 1988, p.9.  

 

"Awkward looking but clear in mind,
It walks with lightness inside heavy steps,
Gathering Qi at Middle Dantian,
It shakes and rampages with force in the shoulders."
The bear looks awkward and clumsy, soft as if without bones, its temperament is stable, simple and honest, and it walks with heavy steps.  However, flexibility and steadiness are hidden within the heavy steps.  Do not mimic the heavy, simple and hones bearing of the bear only, but also try to show the flexibility and steadiness during the exercise.  Shaking and rocking are features of the bears movements, so exert forces with the upper arms (including the shoulders, elbows, hands, hips, knees and feet).  Conduct Qi to the Middle Dantian, so as to accelerate deep abdominal respiration and form Dantian Qi. 
Persistent practice will help strengthen the constitution as well as functions of the spleen and stomach."
-   Jiao Guorui, Qigong Essentials for Health Promotion, 1988, pp. 193-195 

 

The practice of the Bear will warm up and stimulate the body.  In qigong healing arts the practice of the Bear is recommended for stimulating and improving the functioning of kidneys and spleen, and for strengthening the bones.  

 

"Taiji Quan movements evolved from this ancient lumbering gait of a bear, unfortunately due to the linguistic drift and misinterpretation, the Great Bear Polar Circle remains hidden for most practitioners.  If one retraced to an older practice of the Five Animal frolics, one can still see the original lumbering Gait of a black bear frolic swaying side to side. If Taiji Quan did evolve from the Five animal frolics then the Taiji form must contain within its structure a Bear movement.  Such discovery re-connects me to the ancient Complete Reality Sect of Taoist Ritual and opens my eyes to the depth of Taiji practice. That the very functioning of the Taiji form is a Shamanistic journey of recreating the Heavenly drama of the Ursula Major constellation which contained the Big Dipper.  With the Great Bear Rite as part of my practice of Taiji movements, this transported my consciousness to a level that is universal.  My body became part of the Cosmos.  The movements took on a numinous quality. 
-   The Great Bear Star Steps, Sat Chuen Hon 

 

 

 

To fully experience the Five Animal Frolics we need to keep in mind the "Frolics" aspect of this movement art: being playful and exuberant, freeing up our time for fun, delighting in bodily movements, enjoying games of imitation, taking pleasure in the moment, and delighting in the exercise of fantasy and imagination.  We should be smiling as we enjoy our playful frolics.  We should strive to return to our youth, and rekindle those memories of our joyful childhood games, innocence, freedom of fancies, and silliness.  We are never too old to embrace that precious child within each of us.  

"Christopher Robin and I walked along
Under branches lit up by the moon
Posing our questions to Owl and Eeyore
As our days disappeared all too soon
But I've wandered much further today than I should
And I can't seem to find my way back to the Wood

So help me if you can
I've got to get back
To the House at Pooh Corner by one
You'd be surprised
There's so much to be done
Count all the bees in the hive
Chase all the clouds from the sky
Back to the days of Christopher Robin and Pooh."
- Return to Pooh CornerWords and lyrics by Kenny Loggins, 1969, MCA Music


The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh.  By A. A. Milne.  With decorations by Ernest H. Shepard.  New York, Dutton's Children's Books, 1994.  344 pages.  Color illustrations, hardbound.  ISBN: 9780525457237.  Originally published in 1926, 1954.  Over 26 million copies of Winnie-the-Pooh books by A. A. Milne have been sold since 1922.  This book includes: Winnie-the-Pooh, and The House at Pooh Corner, VSCL. 

The Te of Piglet.  By Benjamin Hoff.  New York, Penguin Books, 1992.  257 pages.  ISBN: 0140230165.  VSCL. 

The Tao of Pooh.  By Benjamin Hoff.  New York, Penguin Books.  VSCL 
  

The most famous literary Bear is Winnie the Pooh.  Over 26 million English language books by A. A. Milne about the Pooh Bear and his friends have been sold since 1926, the books have been translated into scores of languages, and Disney Films has made him even more famous and a lucrative commodity line.  Benjamin Hoff has explored how Pooh Bear is a quintessential "Taoist Bear."   


So ... it is just fine for you to Dance like a Bear.
Become a Silly Bear for a awhile.  
Enjoy the real honey of just being right were you are, 
   here and now, content,
   Pooh, it is quite easy. 

 

 

 

 

"For the Northern Utes, only the wisest, most experienced holy men and women dare to declare that:
 I am like a bear.
 I hold up my hands
Waiting for the sun to rise."
 -  Annis Pratt, Dancing With Goddesses, p. 341 

 

"The Bear is the symbol of strength, power, and healing wisdom.  In ancient China, the shaman healers wore bear masks and may have imitated the stepping of the bear in ritual dance."
The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing, 1997, p. 200.  

 

"The Bear is a great winter exercise. Slow, ponderous, but very strong, it warms the body, strengthens the spleen, and builds vitality.  The Bear's twisting waist movements massage and invigorate the kidneys. The Bear is an excellent preventive against osteoporosis, as it is known to fortify the bones."
-  John Du Cane, Power Qigong

 

"Bears are large heavy mammals belonging to the family Ursidae. They are found largely in northern temperate regions and are widely distributed in North America, Europe, and Asia.  Bears have a shaggy coat and a short tail and walk flat on the soles of their broad feet. They normally have a short, thick neck, a rounded head, pointed muzzle, short ears, and small eyes. They can stand erect and have powerful limbs and long, curved claws.  Bears have poor eyesight, and most have only fair hearing. Their sense of smell, however, is extremely keen.  Bears are closely related to the dog and the raccoon and are the most recently evolved of the carnivores.  The diet of bears generally is varied and flexible.  Most species are especially fond of ants and honey.  Bears also eat bees, seeds, roots, nuts, berries, and insect larvae. Their meat diet includes rodents, fishes, deer, pigs, and lambs. Grizzlies and Alaskan brown bears fish for salmon, but the largely herbivorous spectacled bear rarely eats anything other than vegetation.  Although they possess a fierce and aggressive reputation, the bear is more often a peaceful and solitary creature."
-  Mark Reed, The Bear Facts  

 

"In addition to the key points of Qigong exercise, the Frolics of the Five Animals require attention to the following points:
1.  Integration of Form and Mind
2.  Flexible and Circular Movement 
3.  Slow and Fast Movement  [The Bear's movement is slow and steady.]
4.  Heaviness, Stability and Subtlety 
5.  Softness and Toughness  
6.  Order of the Frolics  [The Bear movement is done first in the series: bear, deer, tiger, monkey, and crane.] 
7.  Coordination of Movements with Respiration 
8.  Three-way Stability 
9.  Preparation  
10.  Conscientiousness 
11.  Perseverance in Practice  
-   Jiao Guorui, Qigong Essentials for Health Promotion, 1988, pp. 193-195 

 

"The Bear Spirit Posture:  The name of this posture is derived from a wonderful carving of the Northwest Pacific Coast Indians in which the Grandfather Bear Spirit, the Great Healer, stands behind a shaman who holds the pose.  It is very old and, of all the postures, is the most widely known.  Evidence of it has been found in countries throughout the world, and historically it has existed from 6,000 B. C. to the present.
-  Belinda Gore, Ecstatic Body Postures, p. 49.  See my comments on Wu Ji.

 

"In Native American stories which account for totemic tribal origin, the impulse is not toward the humanization of the bear but toward the bearification of the humans, an interchange in which human beings learn how to revere and respect bear values which they need in order to survive as a people."
-  Annis Pratt, Dancing With Goddesses, p. 341

 

"The Bear has been revered as the great Medicine Chief throughout the Northern Hemisphere for thousands of years. Traditional societies have honored the Bear as ancestor, keeper of herbal lore, sacred archetype of motherhood and rebirth, powerful protector, and messenger of the return of spring."
-  Margaret Duperly, The Power of Bear Spirit

 

"Bear Paw:  Bend all five fingers. The thumb presses on the first section of the index finger. The other four fingers stick together and bend. Expand and round the Tiger Mouth."
Five Animal Frolics  

 

"Bear is a guide to the psyche, to the sleeping world, the world of the shaman, the bear lives in a dream state for the winter,  hibernating much like a shaman enters a trance.  Bear is an ancient spirit who teaches us to journey within our own selves, to find our hidden secrets and examine them."
The Great Primal Bear Spirit

 

"Qigong is as old as Chinese civilization. The Spring and Autumn Annals, written in 240 B.C. describes a legend that is linked to the history of qigong. All of China was once covered by flood waters. Stagnant waters produced disease and plague, and the people called upon their gods for help. The God-Emperor Yu used his mystical power to cause the rain to subside.  He danced on the land with a bear-like gait and used a magic pole to etch deep into the earth's surface a pattern that looked like the Big Dipper constellation. The waters flowed into the newly formed river beds; the constellation of sacred rivers delineated the ancient provinces of China. Emperor Yu moved like a bear becasue he knew that animals and natural forces can inspire people to move with grace and power."
- Kenneth Cohen, The Essential Qigong Training Guide

 

To achieve a similar healing goal, the legendary Daoist emperor Yü the Great, of the early Xia dynasty (2,000 - 1,600 B.C.), ecstatically danced the movements of a bear to harmonize heaven and earth and to stop the floods and pestilence in his kingdom.  His shamanic dance, known as "The Pace of Yü," is still practiced by Daoists today.

 

"Bears are mammals of the family Ursidae. Bears are classified as caniforms, or doglike carnivorans, with the pinnipeds being their closest living relatives. Although there are only eight living species of bear, they are widespread, appearing in a wide variety of habitats throughout the Northern Hemisphere and partially in the Southern Hemisphere. Bears are found in the continents of North America, South America, Europe, and Asia.  Common characteristics of modern bears include a large body with stocky legs, a long snout, shaggy hair, plantigrade paws with five nonretractile claws, and a short tail. While the polar bear is mostly carnivorous and the giant panda feeds almost entirely on bamboo, the remaining six species are omnivorous, with largely varied diets including both plants and animals.  With the exceptions of courting individuals and mothers with their young, bears are typically solitary animals. They are generally diurnal, but may be active during the night (nocturnal) or twilight (crepuscular), particularly around humans. Bears are aided by an excellent sense of smell, and despite their heavy build and awkward gait, they can run quickly and are adept climbers and swimmers. In autumn some bear species forage large amounts of fermented fruits which affects their behaviour. Bears use shelters such as caves and burrows as their dens, which are occupied by most species during the winter for a long period of sleep similar to hibernation.  Bears have been hunted since prehistoric times for their meat and fur. To this day, they play a prominent role in the arts, mythology, and other cultural aspects of various human societies. In modern times, the bear's existence has been pressured through the encroachment on its habitats and the illegal trade of bears and bear parts, including the Asian bile bear market. The IUCN lists six bear species as vulnerable or endangered, and even least concern species such as the brown bear are at risk of extirpation in certain countries. The poaching and international trade of these most threatened populations is prohibited, but still ongoing."
Bears - Wikipedia

 

The Bear Den


The Bear Facts
  


Bear Farming Animal Abuse


Bear Information and Resources
  Species, Myths, Essays, Links, Resources


Bear Spirit Artprint by Anderson Benally


Bear Spirit Art print by Joseph Geshick


Bear Spirit Vision
   


Bear - Wikipedia


The Complete Tales and Poems of Winnie The Pooh
.  By A. A. Milne.  Illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard.  Dutton, 1926, 2001.  576 pages.  ISBN: 0525467262.  


Kinds of Bears


Mark of the Bear
.  By the Sierra Club.  Random House, 1996.  119 pages.  Selected stories and essays, and photographs.  ISBN: 0871569035.


Panda Bear
 


Panda Bear Projects for Children


Spirit Bears
   


The Tao of Pooh
.  By Benjamin Hoff.  Viking Press, 1983.  158 pages.  ISBN: 0140067477.  


Topics to Explore:  Smokey the Bear, Bear Market, Yogi Bear, Teddy Bear


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Table of Correspondences, Associations, Symbolism
Bear Frolics Qigong 

 

 

 

 

Correspondences and Alchemical Associations for the Bear:

Animal Attributes: Strength, Stability, Power, Keen Sense of Smell
Element:  Water    
Direction:  North 
Season:  Winter 
Color:  Blue  
Yin Organ:  Kidney 
Yang Organ:  Bladder 
Energetic Movements:  Gathering, Absorbing, Wavelike 
Healing:  Sexual Organs, Spinal Column, Bones 
Healing Sound:  "Hooo" sounds like the word who. Say who, with the lips rounded and the tongue suspended in mid-mouth, as if blowing out a candle.
Release: Fear, Mania, Brooding 
Encourage:   Ambition and Will Power (Yang); Deep Wisdom and Gentleness (Yin) 
Associations:  Hibernation, Darkness, Conserativism  

 

The assignment of alchemical and magickal correspondences to the Bear vary amongst practitioners of the Five Animal Frolics, qigong theorists, and Taoist Alchemists.  The following authors have provided tables of correspondences:  Kenneth Cohen, Franklin Fick, Mike Garofalo, Alan Graham, Livia Kohn, Joseph Morales, Ken Morgan, Nancy Seeber, Yang Jwing-Ming, and Oberon Zell-Ravenheart

Readers should keep in mind that knowledge of these alchemical and magickal correspondences is of some usefulness to most practitioners.  The true Adepts and playful Wizards will need to pay very close attention to correspondences.  Theses associations have a long history in China and their meanings are part of the mental aspects of the Five Animals Frolics Daoyin practice.  Daily practice of the Frolics, often outdoors, is essential to embody these cosmic principles.     

A wise person will always try to understand the cosmic forces that influence and/or rule our lives: the air we breathe, the sun that warms the earth, the water that sustains all living beings, the plants and animals of our world, the human technology that makes our lifestyles possible, the ideas and values that constitute our spirit.  These forces are symbolized by Air (breath, energy), Fire (sun, hearth), Water (rain, snow, lakes, sea, ponds, wells), Wood (plants, trees, fruit, grains, food), Animals (Deer, Crane, Monkey, Tiger, Bear, Dragon, etc., domesticated animals, food, humans), Metal (technology, science, agriculture, earthly resources), Humanity (persons, family, village, state, society, culture), Spirit (mind, wisdom, Shen, Dao), and the Unbounded (imagination, fantasy, spirits, divine, Wu, Heaven).           

In China, the Five Elements (Phases, Processes, Cycles) are: Earth, Fire, Water, Wood, and Metal.  In the West, the Five Elements (Materials, Substances, Components) are Earth, Fire, Water, Air, and Spirit (Aether).   

Here is my current table of correspondences for the Five Animal Frolics Daoyin:

 

Animal Element Season
Time
Direction
Weather
Organs
Body
 
Mental
Psychological
Animal
Characteristics
Energetics
Healing Sounds
Deer Wood Spring
Green
Dawn
Youth
East
Wind
Yin: Liver
Yang: Gallbladder
Joints, Tendons
Tears
Vision/Eyes
Benevolence/Kindness  Ren
Anger, Shouting 
Spirit
Patience & Subtlety
Gentleness
Calmness
Alertness
Herbivorous
Woodlands
Rise

 

Crane Fire Summer
Red
Morning
Childhood
Growth
South
Heat
Yin: Heart
Yang: Small Intestine
Blood Vessels
Muscles
Sweat
Touch 
Propriety
Order  Li
Joy, Laughing
Calmness
Control/Chaos
Heaven
 
Lightness
Omnivorous
Flying
Longevity 
Steady/Balanced
Migratory
Marshlands
Radiate, Disperse, Scatter, Rise

"Hoo"  as "Hook"
Monkey Earth Harvest
Yellow
Midday
Young Adult
Transformation
Center
Southwest
Humid
Yin: Spleen
Yang: Stomach
Spit
Muscles
Joints/Wrists
Taste, Mouth 
Trust  Xin
Pensiveness, Worry
Singing
Empathy
Humanity 
Openness
Agility
Herbivorous
Curiosity
Knot
Tiger Metal Autumn
White
Afternoon
Dusk
Middle Age
Harvest
West
Dry
Yin: Lungs
Yang: Large Intestine
Nasal Mucus
Whole Body
Skin
Smell, Nose 
Breathing
Righteousness
Integrity Yi
Grief/Sadness/Crying
Anxiety/Sorrow
Body
Ferocity
Strength
Awareness
Carnivorous
Speed
Leaping
Constrict
Bear Water Winter
Blue
Nighttime
Old Age
Storage
North
Cold
Yin: Kidneys
Yang: Bladder
Lower Back
Spit
Bones 
Hearing , Ears
Wisdom  Zhi
Honesty
Confidence/Worry
Fear
Earthiness
Inner Focus
Rootedness
Lumbering
Hibernating
Sensitive Smelling
Omnivorous
Gathering, Absorbing
Wavelike, Dropping

"Hooo" sounds like the word who.

 

 

I have reflected on and developed my own schemas and correspondences tables.  Readers might want to look at my interpretations of the Trigrams of the I Ching 

I also developed a table of correspondences for the Baguazhang Qigong Animals circle walking practices.  In the Bagua Qigong the two "Birds" are the Hawk and Phoenix:

 

                        
 

 

 

 

 

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Animal Frolics Qigong (Chi Kung, Daoyin):   Deer     Crane     Monkey     Tiger     Bear     Dragon    

 

 

 

 

 

Green Way Journal by Michael P. Garofalo

 

 

 

 

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Disclaimer

 

© Michael P. Garofalo, Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Qigong, Red Bluff, California,  © 2003-2012

This webpage was first posted on the Internet in January 2003 at:   http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/five.htm

This webpage was moved to this URL on June 15, 2009:  Animal Frolics Qigong http://www.egreenway.com/qigong/animalfrolics.htm

This webpage was last modified or updated on November 2, 2012. 

 

 

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