What is Qigong (Chi Gong)

2200 year old Qigong drawings Qigong is a general name for a variety of Chinese health exercises also known as Nei Gong or Daoyin. Some estimates say that there are over 9000 different Qigong exercises, some static, some moving, some seated, some using sticks or other simple pieces of equipment. All the exercises share some common principles, however and can complement one another in other ways.

Two important principles which Qigong training aims to develop are improved breathing and posture. Amongst other things these help to reduce stress and develop a meditative state. Moving Qigong also provides physical exercise and the movements can be adapted to any level of physical fitness. Qigong exercises are also based on the principles of classical Chinese medicine.

What is Tai Chi

Unlike Qigong, which has thousands of years of history in China, Taijiquan, known in the West as Tai Chi, can be traced back about 300 years to the Chen family who took what probably started out as a Shaolin Temple martial art and developed it into a new art which combined fast and slow, soft and hard movements. When Yang Luchan brought Tai Chi to Beijing in the 19th century people began to practice the training exercises for health rather than self defence and found that it was very effective at promoting good health, relaxation and meditation.

Because it is based on a martial art Tai Chi training produces many benefits which carry over into everyday life. It has been shown to be very good at improving balance but it also helps to develop better posture which can help to protect your back and help to carry out everyday tasks more easily and more safely. As with Qigong, improved posture and breathing help you to relax and reduce stress. Unlike some other relaxation exercises Tai Chi does not just get you relaxed when you are exercising but to stay more relaxed in everyday life as well.