Qigong and Yoga are ancient practices that involve the use of breathing, meditation, and movement to distribute energy for vitality and good health. Although both variants are common forms of physical exercises nowadays they just are not the same. Let’s explore the differences and similarities between Qigong vs Yoga.
Qigong vs Yoga General Overview
Although, both forms focus on traditional methods of healing for health purposes. There are quite a number of differences in how they are practiced and what they offer.
Qigong originated from China. It is one of the earliest forms of Traditional Chinese Medicine. The main intention of qigong is to develop and preserve health. This is achieved through breathing and fluid movements. Qigong can also be used to attain a higher level of spirituality through meditation.
Types of Qigong
There are two main types of qigong namely:
- Internal qigong: This involves visualization, guided imagery, and sitting meditation
- External qigong: This involves concentrated breathing and physical movement
In some Qigong such as White Tiger Qigong, both internal Qigong and external Qigong are trained separately and then combined so they fit seamlessly together. The other branches of qigong such as health qigong, hard or martial qigong, scholarly qigong, and spiritual qigong all fall under these two categories.
Yoga on the other hand originated from India. It is an ancient form of Indian traditional medicine. It combines the art of stretching and meditation to strengthen the body and calm the mind. Yoga has several emotional as well as physical and health benefits.
Types of Yoga
- Raja yoga: This is also referred to as the yoga of the mind. It comprises 8 steps and several breathing exercises.
- Jnana yoga: This branch of yoga deals with wisdom and intellectual knowledge. This form can be mentally challenging as it deals with self-realization through meditation.
- Bhakti yoga: This is a spiritual type of yoga. It deals mainly with how to love or worship God. It also helps to unite one’s soul with its true reality.
- Karma yoga: This yoga type requires devotion and selflessness. It requires action, time, and energy. It is done without the expectations of a reward.
- Hatha yoga: This type of yoga deals with all kinds of physical postures. They are the best form for beginners and require lots of physical practice.
While these are the five main forms of yoga, there are several hundred types and poses that can be classified under these forms.
Similarities Between Qigong and Yoga
There are a few similarities between qigong and yoga. These similarities are why some individuals mix both practices up, such as our cutting edge fusion called QiYo.
The practice of qigong is based primarily on movement, breathing, and meditation. Yoga practice is based on similar principles too. They both understand the importance of creating a balance between the body and the mind. Both practices involve cultivating one’s life energy to improve health and vitality. They also recognize the importance of the five elements and work with them.
Both styles are variants of traditional medicine with similar end products. They can help the body transition into a meditative state. Qigong and yoga can open up blocked channels in the body as well as cultivate and distribute energy. They both focus on the wellness of the body and mind and creating a perfect harmony between them.
Differences Between Qigong and Yoga
Unlike the similarities, the differences between qigong and yoga are quite distinct.
One of the main differences between qigong and yoga is posture. Qigong encourages the use of flowing postures while yoga requires static postures. While yoga postures often require more muscle activity and improve athletic abilities. Qigong postures are free and flexible movements combined with intense breathing styles.
Style of Practice
Qigong can be practiced anywhere. This form of art is flexible and does not require specific clothing. To practice yoga, you need specific clothing, a yoga mat, and enough space to move around. While qigong utilizes breathing to grow and distribute energy, yoga uses breathing to deepen its poses.
Qigong harmonizes the body and the mind. It provides relief from mental and physical stress, improves blood circulation, and heals the body from internal and external injuries. Yoga encourages flexibility, increases muscle tone and strength, and helps to improve concentration. While qigong helps the body to improve and grow energy, yoga helps the body to receive energy. Qigong effects are mostly felt internally, while yoga effects are most felt externally.
Qigong has its origin in Chinese Traditional Medicine and Martial Arts. It was originally designed to improve health. Yoga on the other hand belongs to the Ayurveda family and was originally created to improve spirituality.
What Does Qigong Offer?
Qigong focuses more on the internal, the flow of energy through the entire body, and improving the functions of the body system. The benefits of practicing qigong include:
- Improves the body balance
- It helps to reduce and manage stress better
- Focus on ridding the body of diseases and preventing further attacks
- Helps to create a perfect balance between the mind and body
- Qigong helps help the body develop resilience and strength
What Does Yoga Offer?
Unlike qigong, yoga focuses more on the external. It helps increase body flexibility. Yoga prioritizes stretching and focuses on the distribution of energy through the muscles. The benefits of practicing yoga include:
- Improves the body’s flexibility
- Helps the body build and improve athletic performance
- Increases muscle tone and strength
- Build cartilage and joint strength
- Improves heart health and boost blood circulation
Which Form Is Better?
If your main aim is to improve your energy circulation, breathing, and harmonize your body and mind then you should go for qigong. The practice of qigong is milder and more flexible. It can be practiced by young, old, and sick people.
Qigong exercises do not require a particular space or time to be effectively practiced for individuals whose main intent is to tone the muscles, improve flexibility and lose weight, yoga is the way to go. Yoga can also help improve athleticism. However, yoga practice requires space, special clothes, and a mat. It requires several static poses and can not be practiced anywhere.
Although both forms of Traditional medicine have a base of cultivating and improving wellness and vitality they are not practiced in similar ways. For flexibility and athleticism yoga is the preferred option. While qigong practice is best for medical ailments and improving the free flow of energy within the body.
Want to go deeper? Try White Tiger Qigong’s QiYo Qigong and Yoga fusion online course now.