‘When the emperor rules with absolute virtue, and when peace lays over the land the white tiger will emerge’ (Taoist text)

One of the 4 celestial guardians in Chinese mythology and philosophy, the White Tiger is the king of all earthly creatures and exerts force over the weather. Tiger guards the door to the Emperors palace, and it stands to reason that with such a fierce protector the emperor would indeed feel at peace, and balance would be maintained.

The white tiger is associated with the metal element in the Chinese five element theory. The metal element governs lungs. The lung as the uppermost organ is a key player in our front line defence against invasion from pathogens, and is part of a complex respiratory tract system that includes nostrils, mouth, tonsils, trachea, lobes, ribs, inter-costal tissues, thoracic spinal muscles and the diaphragm. There is plenty we can do to ensure that this palace is strong, after all, breath not only indicates life, it is a factor that determines the quality of it.

How Qigong can promote the emergence of our White Tiger is determined by the quality of our breath.

The fullness of our breath, the embracing and filtering of air Qi when we inhale.

And in the equally important and opposite embracing emptiness, when we let the breath and tensions release on the exhale.

The White Tiger represents the strength of our respiratory immune defence. Our lungs open to both friend and foe, need protection. Protecting the Palaces inner realm, our heart and lungs AND the outer realm, our whole body and beyond.

By strengthening and stretching the muscles of our respiratory system AND mobilising and aligning the joints of our rib cage and spine we are able to support and sustain good posture. Good posture enables the action, the engine of the breath to drive the motion and circulation of our whole body. The very act of breathing, the diaphragmatic and intercostal muscle contraction and relaxation moves lymphatic fluid around the lung field to clear debris and provide us with immunological protection and promote respiratory tissue regeneration..

The stronger our breath action, the stronger the blood and lymph circulation to, from and within our lungs becomes and can remain. Lymph flow cleansing the lungs. Full lung and body breathing motion promotes the circulation of oxygen rich blood to our whole body. The circulation of re-vitalised, re-oxygenated blood fuels the fire, providing our body's favourite and most efficient energy, Qi source, Oxygen. Essentially our life force.

Tora Crockford