By Michelle B Waines Greenwell (Winter 2019 Issue: Kinesiology Creatures)
In the SK world we have the fortune of using our techniques to help our animal friends.  There are many horse whisperers and animal healers who have honed a craft of techniques that help our furry and feathered friends to keep their energy systems balanced.  We also have charts and diagrams that support the knowledge of their Primo vascular systems (meridians) and support balancing the flow of energy through the [[5 Elements]].  But, what about the power of the animals that surround us and support us? 

As both an avid SK enthusiast and researcher, I am also an avid Tai Chi instructor and enthusiast.  Over the last few years I have been studying the intention behind the named moves in Tai Chi.  All the moves have an origin that is associated with animals.  It is believed that when Tai Chi was first created and brought forth as a martial art and a healing tool, the animals were studied for their essence, movement patterns, and spirit.  Unfortunately, as the practice of Tai Chi was handed down from one generation to the next, it was an oral tradition and there is only speculation that can be brought to a practice that is several thousand years old.  However, based on the mythology and symbolism of the stories that are recorded, one can deduce the flow of storytelling that weaves through the specially created movements.  What does this have to do with SK?

Two areas that I have enjoyed linking are the muscles, meridians, elements, and 5 Element cycles, as well as the balance of yin and yang.  It is where these two passions collide in knowledge that I enjoy finding the way forward with the valuable knowledge of both.  As part of my studies in Complementary and Alternative Medicine using Energy Kinesiology in the Master’s program at Akamai University, I have linked the muscle-meridian-element knowledge to the movement patterns of Tai Chi and the flow of patterns created in a set.  And, with this depth of knowledge I have also explored the essences of the animal movements and the intentions created within the Tai Chi set.  This is a part of my Qi YINtegration program with the 5 Element Set with Sound and Color.
“Symbolism has the virtue of containing within a few conventional lines the wisdom of the ages and the dreams of a race.  It kindles our imagination and leads us to realms of wordless thought.” – Lin Yu-tang

One of the delights of using the animals and their wisdom as we are guided through the moving meditation is the lack of words.  The essence of the animal, the movement itself and the transformation from illness to health through letting go and opening.  For example, the movement “Step back and Repulse Monkey” is a representation of our human nature to be full of monkey thoughts or temptations and distractions with living a life exploring all that crosses our path, (Geddes, 1995, p. 57).  When we “repulse the monkey” we are releasing the need to let those monkey thoughts consume us and our actions away from health and wellness.  The movement itself I have linked to the Metal Element and the aspects of movement that coordinate the Anterior Serratus, Coracobrachialis, Deltoid, Diaphragm, Tensor fasciae latae – Fascia lata, Hamstrings and Quadratus Lumborum.  We also use the colors Grey, White and Silver and the sound “ssss” to enhance the frequency of the movement. Link in the emotions of Guilt, Grief and Regret and one can quickly picture the kind of release that can come from such a movement sequence.  I have combined this with “Brush Knees” going forward which represent finding the straight line going forward.  This movement I have linked with the Water Element and the muscles of Peroneus Brevis (Fibularis Brevis), Sacrospinalis – Erector Spinae, Tibialis Posterior, Psoas Major, Trapezius – Upper Head and Illiacus, the color Blue and the sound “Choo”.  An exercise that puts these two movements together creates a release and a flow that brings a calmness to the mind and the opportunity to step forward with a clear head and an eye on the vision of success. 

“Holding the horse at the cliff” in the Lok Hup Ba Fa set (another set found in Tai Chi) is a movement that occurs several times in the set.  This involves “cultivating stillness and dissolving the destructive emotions,” (Wong, 1980).  Each time you move through this motion the emotions are examined and calmed so that they cannot take over a situation and destroy us or relationships.  Later in the set the movement is “Angry horse turns head around,” representing the abandoning of the wild ways and focus on returning to the Tao or stillness.  The Green Dragon is matched with the White Tiger resolving the balance of male and female with the opening of the Third eye or Upper Dan Tien.  The Green Dragon is also symbolic of the movement of vital energy within the liver.  Taoist texts explore the 5 Viscera, the 5 Colors, the 5 Directions, the 5 Elements, the 5 Emperors and the 5 Dragons, (Wong, 1980, p. 8).  The “Racoon jumps at the Butterfly” is the lightness created by the racoon to achieve transformation.  As the butterfly represents the transition from worm to cocoon to insect, our spirit has the same opportunity to make advances in a rapid motion to take us forward in a new light.  “White stork spreads wings” is the clarity of thought that comes from opening up and extending a reach beyond where one has gone before, its pattern of lifting the hands up and down creates a link with the heaven and earth to open up illumination or guidance with insight.

The value of being trained in both SK and in Tai Chi is the lovely relationship of muscle testing to see where the body, mind and spirit would like to be guided, and choosing movement patterns and animal essences that will support that exploration.  I have a checklist of possible movements that can be assessed, and based on the goals of a session, a plan can be created that may include parts of a set, or the whole set.  If I am doing a 14 muscle balance or a different balance protocol, it is imperative to find the movement patterns that will support the shifts created and bring a harmony to the physical body, the mind and the spirit that links them through the movements.  I will also muscle test to determine how many repetitions of a pattern is required.  Often there will be a disconnect of coordination going through the patterns, but on the last repetition there will be a linking of all the aspects of the movement into a pattern that creates “no effort”.  This is when the process of the balance is truly complete. 
Michelle Greenwell is a Touch for Health Instructor and Consultant, and a member of the Board for CanASK, who lives in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.  She has over 25 years of dedication to Tai Chi and over 45 years of dedication to Dance.  Her program Qi YINtegration Set 1 was published in March,2018 with 11 videos and can be found on her website.  The full program has 7 sets with exploration through movement patterns that support full balance protocols with movement synthesis.  She offers classes, workshops and retreats across Canada and enjoys sharing her passion for movement with others.  You can find her many videos on Youtube:  Michelle Greenwell, Facebook: The KEY to Health with Energy Medicine, Qi YINtegration, The Feet First System, and One Step to Change Direction, as well as her website at Read the magazine where this was originally published: