QiGong vs Tai Chi

QiGong vs Tai Chi: What Should You Choose ?

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Absorbed in their movement, their feet firmly planted in the ground, they are more and more adepts to practice Qi Gong and Tai Chi in parks and gardens.

At first glance, the uninitiated will find it difficult to distinguish these two Chinese arts, wich are quite different, even in their definition.

🤔 So you wonder is Tai Chi and QiGong the same ? Let's read to discover...

1) What is Qi Gong ?

The Qi Gong designates the work and mastery ("Gong") of the internal energy (the "Qi") and breath that circulates within us. Crossed by various influences of Chinese culture such as traditional medicine, Buddhism and Taoism, Qi Gong brings together many methods united with the same objective: to circulate and balance this vital energy. 

The practice of Qi Gong known as "therapeutic" was born in 527 BC., thanks to Da Mo, an Indian monk. When Da Mo arrived at the famous Shaolin temple in China 🇨🇳, he found the monks so weak and unhealthy that he developed a training system that blended Indian yoga with the spiritual principles of Taoism.

chi gong templeMountain Gate of Shaolin Temple

The Qi Gong is considered one of the 5 pillars of traditional Chinese medicine, along with acupuncture, massage, pharmacopoeia and dietetics.

Qi Gong is defined as a set of techniques that consist of toning and circulating Qi (the body's energy, pronounced "tchi") along the meridians, through the joints and internal organs.

Qi Gong harmonizes blood circulation and energy flow through postures, massage and breathing exercises.


In practice. Qi Gong is very close to Indian yoga: the session alternates static postures with very short sequences (performed slowly or quickly), you have to focus on your breathing, and there is often a narration that gives a poetic aspect to the practice.

Qi Gong does not require any special clothing and there are no contraindications: it remains accessible to the elderly as well as pregnant women🤰.

Difference between Tai Chi and Qi Gong is that there is no need to memorize complex sequences, and the session usually lasts less than an hour in Qi Gong.

Medical qigong

2) What is Tai Chi ?

It is by observing the suppleness and fluidity of a snake facing the "rigidity" of a bird that a Chinese hermit named Zhang Sanfeng 🧙 (1127-1279) had the revelation of the great principles of Tai Chi Chuan (or Taijiquan).

He then combined Taoist gymnastic movements (taoyin) with martial techniques:

Taï Chi Chuan, initially transmitted from master to disciple, quickly became a tradition.

Learn more about Tai Chi and Yin Yang principles.

Tai chi classes

Tai Chi is at the same time a martial art, an art of health and a spiritual art. Globally, it is an art of harmony between Man, Earth and Heaven.

The objective of Tai Chi ?
To fight against stress, to get rid of one's fears, to better live through difficult times and to promote calm in all circumstances.

🥋 Tai Chi is also, intrinsically, a martial art: the slow and fluid movements serve as much to defend oneself as to seek the point of imbalance of one's partner. This martial art teaches self-respect and respect for others, but also open-mindedness and adaptability in the face of novelty !

Yang style tai chi

In practice. Tai Chi is a very codified art. To get started, it is necessary to memorize the basic movements (which prepare the body for physical exercise), the Tui Shou movements (which develop flexibility and vital strength) as well as the 13 Tai Chi postures.

A " Taï Chi " day is composed of a basic movement (to be done in the morning), a Tui Shou movement (to get some pep) and one to four of the 13 postures. If the beginner can devote 15 minutes a day to it, the ideal would be to practice for at least 3 hours during the day.

Taï Chi also does not require any special clothing and there are no contraindications: it remains accessible to the elderly 👴🏻 as well as to pregnant women.

Learn tai chi

3) QiGong vs Tai Chi: Similarities and Differences

  • Tai Chi and Qi Gong are both "internal arts" that use the body and work on the slowness, breathing and harmonization of Qi energy.
  • It should be noted that Tai Chi and Qi Gong are both inspired by Taoist, Confucian and Buddhist philosophies.
  • Qi Gong is a health art: The techniques aim to strengthen the different organs and prevent diseases. Tai Chi is rather an art oriented towards personal development: It teaches us to keep calm, to better manage our stress, to better live our strong emotions.
  • Tai Chi is defined as a general practice: it is about working the body as a whole. Conversely, Qi Gong is more specialized: the techniques aim to strengthen specific organs 💪.
  • Highly codified, Tai Chi requires the memorization of specific postures and sequences: Qi Gong is less demanding. Moreover, Tai Chi requires a greater investment of time than Qi Gong. However, both disciplines require regular practice.

Chinese martial arts

4) Tai Chi and Qi Gong: Beneficial For Your Health

If the feeling wavers according to each person's experience, all practitioners agree on the effects of Qi Gong and Tai Chi Chuan on the body and mind.

Praised for its benefits on health and vitality, the practice would improve respiratory, digestive, cardiovascular and nervous functions. The circulation of energy would have a purifying and detoxifying effect by creating an internal massage of the organs. The movements would soften the muscles and joints. 

The rooting sought in the postures helps to better appropriate one's body. "We know ourselves better and we create a closer link between our body and ourselves

To the ears of the most experienced, Qi Gong and Tai Chi resonate as a philosophy of life, a path to spiritual fulfillment and self-knowledge 🙏.

Try These 5 Easy Qi Gong Exercises at Home:

Tai Chi Lesson for Beginners Step by Step :

5) The Qi Gong Maybe More Accessible

No physical condition is required to practice any of the activities. However, Qi Gong will seem simpler and more accessible to begin with in the opinion of specialists. A few classes are enough to acquire some basic movements and practice at home without difficulty.

👍🏻 The sequences are short and easy to follow. They require less coordination effort. There are very simple movements that are easily done anywhere, whether it's to relax or to recharge.

To acquire the right reflexes, the ideal is to learn movements with a teacher and then practice at home every day. "For example, 15 minutes every day is enough to create the mind-body relationship and to develop this self-knowledge," advises Dominique Casaÿs.

Poses qi gong

If you have a poor memory and you are not sure you want to invest yourself in the long term, Qi Gong will also be more suitable, just as if you are looking for a "gymnastics" of well-being.

If your goal is just relaxation, loosening up and a way to get rid of stress, prefer Qi Gong 🧘🏻‍♀️.

Tai Chi will suit those who have time to devote to learning and wish to "blossom through more complex forms. "Mastering Tai Chi requires a very long and assiduous practice," notes Ke Wen.

Taking courses over several years is recommended. 

6) Just Listen To Yourself

Whoever enters the world of Tai Chi and Qi Gong quickly discovers that the practice is not governed by any rules. The only thing that counts is the attention and the presence brought to oneself, to one's body.

To be attentive to oneself, without trying to control anything are the keys of the practice. You have to accept and want to meet yourself. It is the body movement and the execution of movements that will help you become aware of yourself, your weaknesses, your emotions and your capacities.

Is there a good time to practice ?

The experts answer again in the negative. It may be easier to start in a quiet place away from distractions. But with practice, it becomes possible to practice anywhere, when you are available, according to your schedule. 

Everyone creates their own ritual. For some, it is the first rays of the sun, for others, communion with nature 🌱.

Healing energy

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