Qigong Vs Yoga

Most people have heard of Yoga and in all likelihood, you have probably even been to a class or two. But not as many in the western world have heard of Qigong. You have likely heard of Tai Chi, but did you know the practice of Qigong is even older than Tai Chi? The following article details my experiences of Qigong Vs Yoga.

I used to teach Yoga all the time.

I used to be a an avid yoga practitioner. I even got my teacher training certificate and taught yoga based programs for 5 -6 years. The style of yoga that had the biggest impact on me as far as health benefits, flexibility, an increased sense of energy and stress reduction was Bikram Hot Yoga. This practice was the reason I went on to change my career and go into the fitness industry.
For years before I did this yoga practice I suffered from back pain and other muscle pain as well as endometriosis which gave me agony every month.  I would see many practitioners about all these things. I felt as if I was 50 years old when in fact I was still in my late twenties. It was frustrating and debilitating.

My world view changed dramatically.

As soon as I began Bikram Hot Yoga I had such a reduction in these maladies that my world view changed drastically. After just a couple of weeks of practicing this yoga I felt like a different person.
I practiced it solidly for around 4 years until I became a qualified yoga instructor of which I began teaching my own classes, and took on other fitness qualifications. But ss soon as I was full time in the fitness industry it felt as if I had no time to practice Bikram yoga like I did when I was in my old career, nor did I even have the desire do it.
The thing about Bikram yoga is it is a 90 minute class where you get absolutely drenched in sweat so it is like stepping into a swimming pool, so a shower is a must afterwards. The whole thing from getting into your car, taking a class and getting home again could take up to three hours or more. Not very time efficient, and not exactly sustainable unless you live next door to a studio and even then you have to somehow fit it around work and family if you have one.

I discovered Qigong.

I had heard of Qigong back in 2005, and I went to an informal class once which did nothing for me. However, it still intrigued me because I was a little familiar with chinese medicine. Years went by and then I came across a teacher I found online back in 2012 who simplified the practice and taught in a way that enabled students to get a quick result in order to feel their bodies energy system known as ‘Qi’ (pronounced ‘Chee’) and since then I have practiced Qigong much more than I have practiced yoga.

Why I choose Qigong over Yoga now.

As much as I still think the practice of yoga is amazing, Qigong is even more amazing in that you can get similar benefits with much less effort. You don’t need to get into special clothing to practice it or have any kind of equipment. It can be practiced in the middle of a work office and you don’t get hot and sweaty, and you are certainly not at risk of hurting yourself like you are with yoga.
Qigong also teaches you more to go with the flow than yoga does both within a class and outside of a class. Not only is it a dynamic system for health and wellness, but it is also about a certain approach to life that allows for more ease and less pushing and struggling to ‘get things done’. Yoga has similar philosophies, but Qigong goes more deeply into these aspects.
It is also a time saver! I am a mother now so don’t have the luxuries of time that I used to have pre motherhood, so this is another reason. I can practice at home without the need for a teacher to ‘oversee’ what I am doing because the moves are extremely simple compared to yoga.

What is Qigong?

Qigong is a simple set of flowing movements and breathing that increase flexibility, body awareness, present moment awareness and frees up energy in your body. Qigong works on the premise that we never really lose our energy, it is more that we have blocked energy within certain areas of our body and getting the energy flowing again affects every cell in our body as well as our mental functioning.

What are the benefits of Qigong?

There are many benefits of Qigong. Just a few of them include:
  • Enhanced immune system
  • Reduction in stress
  • A feeling of being more resilient in life
  • Pain reduction in body
  • Increased flexibility
  • Increased heart and lung capacity
  • Prevention of injuries in bones, joints and mucsles
  • Improves balance and coordination
  • Increased sensitivity to your own body and what it needs for optimum wellness
  • Not overly time consuming
  • Can be practiced in nearly any kind of clothing

Try a 10 minute session now.

The best way to find out what the benefits of Qigong are is to try a mini session. The 10 minute session below is perfect for getting a direct experience of what some of the benefits of Qigong are. Before you begin the exercises, take stock of how comfortable you feel in your body and mind right now. Give yourself a mark between 0 and 10, where 10 is ‘feeling great’ and 0 is ‘feeling terrible’. Then, after you have done the Qigong session below, give yourself another mark out of 10 as to how well you feel. Enjoy!

Do you want to learn more about Qigong? Click here to try a free video series now. Do you have any prior experience with Qigong? Feel free to comment below and let me know!
  • ABOUT LIZ HENNESSY

    ABOUT LIZ HENNESSY

    Yoga Instructor, Fitness Coach
    and Qigong Teacher
    In Training

  • ABOUT LIZ'S TEACHER

    ABOUT LIZ'S TEACHER

    Lee Holden
    Is A Qigong Master
    Based In The US.

    LEARN MORE

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Comments (10)

  • Avatar

    Admin

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    The video looks fascinating and easy to practice. People with low back pain can practice it? Yoga to me has helped me a lot with my pain, and I think I could include Qigong in my daily routine. I would like to know if it is related to the Foundation Training exercises?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      Great that yoga has helped your pain. And yes, people with low back pain can definitely practice this Qigong routine, and the more you practice it the better as the effects build after a period of time. Not sure what you mean about the Foundation Training exercises? Are you referring to Qigong or something else? This short beginner course in Qigong covers a lot of the foundational principles of Qigong, and is my recommended place for people to start if they want to get an over all understanding of what Qigong is all about. What I like about the teacher is he takes complex esoteric concepts and makes them accessible to the average person.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Nemira

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    Hello here. It is interesting to hear from person who practiced Bikram Hot Yoga. I read about founder of this exercise and thought that it is difficult to perform for people who can simply faint from slightly higher temperatures. It is me and I guess that it depends on the type of constitution and overall well being.
    My hairdresser learned how to practice Qigong few years ago. I remember how she was excited about it. Niw she performs Qigong at home.
    I wonder how about losing weight? Usually yoga helps to lose weight in areas where you would never expect that it can be lost some visible pounds.
    I guess that Qigong is for flexibility, balance, and recovering chi, life fundamental force.
    Can we lose some pounds with Qigong?
    All the best, be healthy and wealthy, Nemira.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      Hi Nemira, in terms of losing weight, I think if you went deeper into the whole philosophy of Qigong and exercises and embraced the ideas around mindful eating, weight loss would be a natural thing. The Qigong exercises gets your body in a better energetic state to metabolise food, but it is still going to come down to how you eat after that, as even the most hard core of exercises will not shift weight if the diet is not right for your body type. Qigong is a part of chinese medicine, so the chinese have all sorts of remedies for improving metabolism, and Qigong exercises would just be part of the solution. But the other thing is, once the Qi has been recovered to a more optimum state, healthy food choices become more of a natural thing to do because you have more mental fortitude to make better choices in the moment. Thanks for stopping by!

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Stephen

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    Thanks a lot for the great review!

    I’ve been searching natural remedies to back pains for quite a while now and I think you might well have solved my problem. I’d never thought of yoga as a solution and never even heard of qigong.
    Can’t wait to give it a try!

    Thanks,
    Stephen.

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      Hi Stephen, back pain can be a complex thing to manage, and I think once you have a back injury of some sort it becomes something that will hang around unless you do some kind of exercise to remedy it. If you practiced this Qigong exercise for 30 days in a row, I think you would find that a lot of your pain has shifted. But you have to be consistent as the exercises have a cumulative effect.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Kenny Lee

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    I’ve never tried both qigong and yoga, although I’m amazed with both. I believe both has tremendous healing ability. I do practice mindfulness meditation. I’m was told by a seasoned practitioner that meditators have their ‘chi’ activated automatically. If this is true, does that means qigong would be my natural choice?

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      Yes Qigong would most definitely be a natural choice for you and would also enhance your meditation practice. Yoga is also a meditation practice, but is definitely more complicated than Qigong and more physically challenging. If you just want a nice accompanying exercise with meditation, Qigong would be the perfect add on.

      Reply

  • Avatar

    Patricia

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    Great website and information. I had never heard of Qigong. Sounds very interesting and something that I would like to try myself. It also sounds better than doing Yoga for the simple fact that it is less time consuming and can go along with your daily routine. I will be looking further into Qigong. Thanks for the eye-opener!

    Reply

    • Avatar

      Liz

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      Hi Patricia. Thanks for stopping by! Qigong is one of the most simple mind body practices I have come across and I am surprised how powerful it can be with just a few simple exercises. Enjoy!

      Reply

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