Both Qi Gong and Yoga are powerful practices that use movement and meditation to cultivate health and vitality. In the west, Yoga has become increasingly popular, and for good reason. In some cities, it is one of the most common forms of physical exercise.
On the other hand, Qi Gong is at an earlier stage of emergence in western culture. However, it can deliver many amazing benefits that new practitioners are eager to discover.
This blog post will explore the similarities and differences between Qi Gong and Yoga. Within each practice lies great wisdom, and understanding both helps us to learn from each.
Two Practices, One Intention
Although the title of this blog post is Qi Gong vs. Yoga, there is nothing antagonistic about the relationship between the two. In fact, Qi Gong and Yoga are based on remarkably similar concepts and follow the same intention.
Both practices work with our internal life force energy. In Qi Gong, we call this Qi. In Yoga, it is referred to as Prana. Qi and Prana are both the essential life force that flows in all living beings. Our intention in each practice is to work with this energy to prevent illness and cultivate vitality.
Each practice also has a similar role in their respective schools of medicine and health. Yoga is a branch of Ayurveda and means “science of life.” Similarly, Qi Gong is one of the Five Branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and means “to work with life force energy.”
Breathing, meditation, and movement are all essential elements of each practice. Both recognize the importance of integrating mind and body for the health of the whole. In fact, each practice even works with Five Elements.
In addition to the connection between mind and body, each practice reveals a path to finding higher truth. As an exploration and cultivation of self, Yoga and Qi Gong lead us on an inward journey that takes us to the source of all existence. In Qi Gong, we often talk about how each individual is a microcosm of the entire universe, and Yoga reveals a similar understanding and connection to the Cosmos.
It’s also fascinating that Qi Gong and Yoga each evolved with influence from the other. Qi Gong originated in ancient China, while Yoga comes from India. Although Chinese Sages and Indian Yogis often discovered their truths in isolation from the other, both made frequent trips to the other’s region to share and teach. Through this process, Qi Gong and Yoga developed to reflect two different ways of practicing the same intention.
A Few Differences Between Qi Gong and Yoga
Even though Yoga and Qi Gong share a similar intention, each work with different methods to cultivate the body’s life force energy. In Yoga, we put more attention into stretching, as that is one of the primary elements of releasing tension and freeing up stagnant energy.
In Qi Gong, we focus more on flowing movements that reflect the energies and behaviors of nature. Also, Qi Gong has roots in the martial arts, so many of the stretches and postures focus more on resiliency, which is a combination of both strength and flexibility.
While stretching is still an important part of Qi Gong, many stretches contain flowing movements within them. In Qi Gong, we view water as the most flexible element, so there’s a strong emphasis on flow.
Choosing What’s Right for You
Yoga is a great choice for anyone seeking a deep stretching workout. For many, yoga is an excellent complement to other physical activities such as running or biking. There’s really no better way for releasing tension and stiffness in all of your muscles.
For those seeking mindful motion and flow, Qi Gong can deliver many great benefits. Qi Gong works on strength as well as flexibility, making it a great all-around workout. Both practices calm the mind and bring a deep integration between all parts of your being.
At Holden QiGong, Lee focuses on routines that allow you to enjoy the great benefits that each practice has to offer. By going into deep stretching movements early in the practice, we’re able to prepare the body for nourishing flows and relaxing meditations.
Lee’s classes are unique in that they truly integrate the gifts of each practice. If you already have a dedicated Yoga practice, you may find that Qi Gong can compliment your routine. Many Yoga students choose to add a Qi Gong flowing routine after their regular Yoga practice to cultivate all parts of their mind and body.
Whether you’re an experience Qi Gong practitioner or completely new to the practice, Lee’s classes are a great way to learn and grow. Here are a couple of our most popular programs that are all excellent ways to experience Qi Gong.
If you’re new to Qi Gong, you may be wary of committing a lot of time and energy to practice. How about just seven minutes per day? Lee’s Thirty Day Challenge is a great way to see how just a few minutes of daily Qi Gong can make a huge difference.
Another popular choice is to join the Holden QiGong Video Class Subscription! As a subscription member, you’ll have the chance to join both in person or online for life Qi Gong classes by Lee, taking place every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Check out our Qi Gong Monthly Subscription Service.
Finally, another great choice is to get one of Lee’s powerful Healing Series video classes. In these stand-alone classes, Lee helps students address a wide array of specific issues. Titles include: Qi Gong for Anxiety, Qi Gong for the Upper Back and Neck, Qi Gong for Energy and Vitality, and many more. We all have our own individual challenges, and these videos are an excellent way to get some extra help for your own personal journey.
Yoga and Qi Gong share different approaches to helping us carry out the same intention, and Lee’s unique teaching style implements much wisdom from both. Just click on one of the titles below to learn more!
By Ian Drogin