Deer Play: the Features

The fundamental difference between Five-animal Play and other kinds of Qigong is the spirit of animal play. We can begin to focus on the features of the animal after we have become familiar with the movements. Move with the spirit of an animal. Try to be alike not only in form but also in spirit. 

In China, deer are always seen together with the god of longevity and are regarded as a symbol of good luck. Deer Play is the second play in Five-animal Play, and we can visualize ourselves as peaceful deer when we move in the Deer Play. Be calm and alert, ready to run swiftly at any moment.

The Hand Gesture: Deer Antlers

Deer are graceful and antlers represent their unique beauty. Fold the middle finger and ring finger. Extend the other fingers and thumb.


  • Twist and look towards back heel to fully extend outside of the torso 
  • Plant back heel firmly on the ground to support the twist
  • Breathe in as arms circle to the side, breathe out when twisting and look back


  • The rotation of the spine strengthens muscles of lower back and prevents fat accumulation at the waist 
  • Enhances sinews and bones. Nourishes the kidneys, which store the essence of life


  • Lift leg forward with poise like an elegant deer
  • Extend the whole back with arms forward, back rounding, chest caves in and head down between arms. The whole body shapes like a bow
  • Breathe in move forward, breathe out round the back


  • The extension of arms and rounded back help to prevent frozen shoulder and neck issues 
  • Yang Qi, like sunshine, helps to maintain functions of the body. Rounding the whole spine from neck to tailbone invigorates the flow of Qi in Dumai, the sea of Yang meridians, which runs in the middle of the back


  1. Health Qigong Management Centre of General Administration of Sport of China, Health Qigong – Wu Qin Xi [健身氣功 -五禽戲] (Beijing: People’s Sports Publishing House, 2005).
  2. VCD, Health Qigong – Wu Qin Xi [健身氣功 -五禽戲] (Beijing: Beijing Sport University Audio & Video Press).

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