Tai Chi or Qigong?

Some students only do qigong, others only tai chi form, and some students do both.  But qigong and tai chi offer different benefits, so it's worth taking time to explore what these two ancient Chinese internal arts have to offer. They both relieve stress, increase energy, improve balance and strength. So what distinguishes tai chi from qigong?

Here's a brief overview of their main differences:

Qigong is a system designed to improve your health and overall wellbeing. Its roots go back thousands of years and are deeply intertwined with the Chinese way of life. Tai chi was developed more recently by Shaolin monks and Chinese military leaders for self-defence and combat, but uses elements of qigong.

Tai chi is generally more complex and has forms which involve a sequence of many moves. One tai chi form can take months, even years, to learn, and a lifetime to master.  It's a mental workout as well as a physical one.  For added interest tai chi also uses weapons, such as staffs and swords.

Qigong is often one single move repeated over and over, and sometimes does not involve movement at all.  Repeating an exercise, or being still, allows time to focus on something specific e.g. balance or posture.

Tai chi requires much more discipline and practice. Your posture, the position of your knees, feet and spine are all crucial. Qigong is less structured, and can be free-form, so can be adapted more easily. Its simple moves can be adapted to your own level of physical ability. You can even do qigong sitting down or in a wheelchair.

Most students start with qigong and then move onto the tai chi form.  But I believe that to maximise the benefits you need to train in both.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained ... why not try a different class, even if you only come for half an hour. Please speak to me if you'd like more details. 

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