The auspicious creature the Crane is often depicted in Chinese, and more specifically in Daoist, culture. The Crane embodies balance, tranquility, and longevity, three very important qualities in the path of cultivation for a Daoist adept. The Crane Qigong is a set that models itself after these ideals.
The movements of the Crane Qigong set coordinate with the breath to bring the practitioner to a calm and centered state of mind. Just as the crane stands for long periods of time on one leg, we imitate these movements in order to bring our mind back away from disturbance.
The Crane is included in many sets of qigong. The Five Animals Qigong as well as the Five Animal Frolics both contain the crane as the final animal. It is a posture that is most often associated with the Heart. In Chinese medicine and Daoist theory, the Heart is the house of the Spirit (Shen). When the body is centered and balanced, the Spirit is at home and undisturbed. When the mind becomes distracted and the body unstable the Spirit leaves the heart to chase after desire or to fret about the circumstances.
As a Qigong set comes to a close the Crane is likely candidate to check for these imbalances, hence its placement in the pattern. However, because this direct window into the Heart, the practice of these crane-like postures is important even separate from the other qigong patterns. This particular Qigong set is designed after such movements but slightly different from the other Cranes in the complementing forms. Practicing this method instills a sense of balance and rooting while also striving for flexibility in deep stances. The continued practice of the Crane Qigong is a direct path to a calm frame of mind and a clear communication with your body.