Tai chi vs qigong
I’m often asked ‘what’s the difference between tai chi and qigong (chi-gong)?’
Qigong is a general term and literally means ‘the art of cultivating vital energy (qi or chi).’ Tai chi is a part of qigong, it is an internal martial art that focuses on developing and expressing the chi for self-defence and combat. However within tai chi training there are any number of qigong exercises. So tai chi is a part of qigong and qigong is part of tai chi! At Golden Door we practice a combination of both.
Central to either discipline are three key principles:
1. MENTAL FOCUS
The Chinese say ‘qi follows yi’ (yi means mind) or energy follows thought. So the mind must be clear and focused to coordinate everything naturally.
By aligning the skeleton and lengthening through the back it allows a lot of muscles to relax, enabling the chi to flow smoothly. When the body is tense energy becomes fragmented and blocked.
The breath should be slow and deep, natural and diaphragmatic. Like a baby breathes, it should be the abdomen that moves rather than the chest even under the physical stress of the postures, stances or movements.
When these three principles are adhered to the body and mind are harmonised. The body becomes capable of building and storing healing energy and releasing power or force naturally. The mind becomes clear and aware and relaxation and well-being become the default state.
Anyone can practice tai chi or qigong but men in particular can benefit by adding some simple qigong exercise to the daily routine. Women generally are already a little more self-reflective and aware and therefore often more internally connected…the ratio of women to men looking after their health by coming to the Golden Door is a testament to that.
Here are . Men, I challenge you to do these every day for a week and not feel better in your body and your mind.
All it takes is 10-15 minutes.
Article by Brad Thompson
Brad has worked with the Golden Door for over 14 years and is our Tai Chi Qi Gong specialist. He also delivers the world renowned Feldenkrais teachings and has changed many lives by helping to improve physical movement and reduce pain to increase overall wellbeing. Brad is also passionate about Meditation and Breath Awareness therapy.