Prior to the creation of the Tai Ji diagram (in the 8th century), yin and yang were symbolized by the Tiger and the Dragon. The Dragon was also associated with Heaven, and the Tiger with Earth. The post-heaven manifestations of Heaven (yang) and Earth (yin) are Fire and Water, two of the Wu Xing (Five Elements). Fire is associated with the South and Water with the North. The most prevalent manifestations of the Dragon and Tiger are The Green Dragon, which is related to Wood in the East, and the White Tiger, related to Metal in the West. The Green Dragon and White Tiger are also considered to be manifestations of the Pre-Heaven Trigram arrangement within the post-heaven arrangement of the trigrams. Therefore the Green Dragon is associated with Li-Fire and the White Tiger is associated with Kan-Water. Together they symbolize movement and change:
- Wood becoming Fire – The Dragon Leaping Upward
- Metal becoming Water – The Tiger Pouncing on Its Prey
The Dragon is yang. It symbolizes the movement of life growing upward and outward, like a plant growing from a seed. The Green Dragon represents the spring thunder and rains that nourish living things. In the Spring, the Dragon is said to come out of its hiding place under the earth and rise up into the sky creating thunder and rain. Hence the Dragon also represents the incitement of life and movement.
The Tiger is yin. The White Tiger represents autumn, when growing thing begin to withdraw into the earth, when the first frost comes to kill living things. Hence the Tiger can represent death, but also the quiet and stillness of late autumn as it moves into winter. The Tiger is therefore associated with the still lake whose depths cannot be seen. In this context, the Dragon and Tiger together represent the natural cycle of life and death that moves through us and all living things.
Dragon and Tiger Chi Gong is a regimen of physical exercises used to achieve physical fitness, increase one’s vitality, improve one’s flexibility and strength, revitalize the circulatory and energy pathways, and enhance one’s overall health and well being. It can also be used as part of a mental self-development program to reduce stress, achieve clarity of mind, improve concentration, develop a positive mindset, and attain inner peace.
Dragon exercises involve twisting, turning, screwing, spiraling, curving, wiggling, undulating, spinning, sinking down and rising up, swimming, circling, swinging, or twining movements are often associated with snakes, serpents and dragons.
Dragon Chigong is usually, but not exclusively, associated with Taoist practices from Wudang Mountain in China.
The Tiger represents the yin or female chi, the direction West, the color white, and the element metal. It is an embodiment of purpose and patience (much as a tiger deliberately and patiently stalks its prey). Its power is coiled and hidden deep within but a tiger can spring into action with transformative, even deadly force at will. Tiger is assigned to the right side of your property as you face out from the main entrance. That part of the environment or landscape should be lower than the left side because the Tiger is an earth creature and more grounded than the Dragon.