What is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong comes from traditional Chinese medicine and is an ancient type of exercise that integrates the body and the mind. Qi means energy and Gong means skill or accomplishment, something that can be practiced. Qi Gong is a practice and a system of health and wellness that cultivates energy to improve and maintain health. Practitioners of Qi Gong are using an ancient health and wellness system that is today considered a complementary and alternative medical practice. Practicing Qi Gong involves learning postures and movements, breathing exercises, and mental focus.
What is Tai Chi?
Tai chi is a martial art that was developed in China in the 17th century. Like Qi Gong it is a meditative type of movement that integrates mind and body. It involves moving in slow, controlled, and specific ways, going smoothly from one posture to the next. Because this is a martial art, the postures can be used for self-defense. Most people today, though, use Tai Chi as a meditative type of exercise. It can help improve strength, balance, flexibility, and mental focus.
Comparing Tai Chi and Qi Gong
These two spiritual and physical practices from China are very similar, but there are also some key differences. According to the National Qi Gong Association, Tai Chi is a type of Qi Gong. Qi Gong can be practiced spiritually, medically, or martially. The Association describes Tai Chi as a soft and more internal type of Qi Gong (as compared to Kung Fu, another type of Qi Gong) and is considered a martial art. That means that the movements used are combative in nature, although they are done slowly and smoothly. Tai Chi is also newer than Qi Gong; it was developed only in the late 1600s, while Qi Gong has ancient origins.
Whether Tai Chi is a type of Qi Gong or not, they are both similar in that they both place an emphasis on postures, which may be sta...