There is a subtle difference between Tai Chi and the practice of Qigong, or Chi Gung, as it is often called. The arts of Yoga and Qigong are even harder to distinguish at times, and similarities in approach, expression, and execution abound when it comes to comparing Yoga, Qigong and Tai Chi.
One of the reasons this is so is because all three arts grew out of the same fundamental premises regarding Chi, or life energy, and its cultivation. The overarching goals inherent in Tai Chi, Qigong and Yoga are virtually the same, and can be loosely described as listed below:
The Similar Goals of Tai Chi, Qigong & Yoga
- Build and work with Chi, the subtle electro-magnetic energy that is life in the world of form.
- Increase spiritual awareness and the potential for enlightenment and happiness.
- Maintain physical integrity in the skeleton, muscles and internal organs, as well as the circulatory and respiratory systems.
- Improve the brain’s acuity and the practitioner’s general outlook.
- Heal physical, mental and emotional disturbances.
- The strict employment of certain breathing techniques to bring about these positive responses.
The Differences between Tai Chi, Qigong & Yoga
Honing in on the specific differences among these three systems can get a bit tricky, but distinctions do exist. The arts have been around for millennia and each has gone through many organic transformations, creating hundreds of branches within the systems.
A few broad differences may be cited, as outlined briefly below:
- Tai Chi is a martial art and includes techniques for attacking and defending against enemies. The correct practice of Tai Chi usually requires the understanding and use of Qigong.
- Qigong places the emphasis on breathing while moving to open up Chakras, or energy centers.
- Yoga emphasizes muscle stretching, combined with many of the same breathing techniques employed to relax and enhance the stretching positions.
If you are interested in exploring these arts, simply choose the one that seems to fit your needs the best to start. Many devotees use different combinations or all three arts and find that they blend superbly. Interesting side paths such as the esoteric use of the Tai Chi Ruler may also be thrown into the mix with great success for many seekers.