Qigong or Tai Chi… What’s The Difference?

Qigong or Tai Chi... What's The Difference?

Both Tai Chi and Qigong work with the breath, posture and intention through slow, coordinated movement. Both are "internally" focused and good for health. Here are a few subtle differences...


• Is the "mother" of Tai Chi
• Is an internal Chinese health and longevity exercise
• Is practised as disease 'prevention' by cultivating and balancing Qi
• Exercises can be learned in a short space of time 
• 'Qi' means life force energy; vitality and 'Gong' means work, study, discipline---so Qigong is 'energy work'   
• Is part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine system and has existed since 1600 BCE (for over 3600 years)!
• Forms (exercises) come from many sources and there are numerous exercises that exist
• Can be done seated or standing; moving or still
• Exercises can be done singly or repeated several times
• Exercises can be put into a sequence and the sequence can change according to the needs of the person
Is a versatile and safe exercise modality suitable for all types of people

Tai Chi

• Is an internal Chinese martial art form
• Is an 'advanced' type of Qigong
• Is practised for defence and health
• Is traditionally spelled 'Taiji Quan' and means "supreme ultimate fist" referring to the body's internal spiralling force and clarity of mind that comes with years of practice
• Is part of Chinese culture with close links to Daoist and Confucianist philosophy and has existed since the 12th Century CE
• Forms (exercises) are descended from 5 traditional families: Chen, Yang, Wu(Hao), Wu and Sun
• Is primarily practised standing, although it can be done seated
• Utilises the whole body, as arms/legs and upper/lower body move in a coordinated, flowing manner
• Forms (exercises) are a pre-set, memorized sequence of movements
• Is an enjoyable and safe exercise modality suitable for most people and is very popular worldwide

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The Holistic Directory
Your gateway to holistic health and wellbeing

Heather Reade
Traditional Chinese Medicine Qigong/Tai Chi Specialist

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