Is Tai Chi Better Than Yoga?
Why I Believe Taiji (Tai Chi) Can be More Effective Than Yoga?
I lived in India for three years, I love India, such an amazing place, but is their art as effective for health, longevity and cultivating Qi (Prana)?
IMHO: If you have had a near death experience, Kundalini Syndrome or many health conditions Tai Ji is more gentle to practice and yet more robust and energising. Always check with a medical practitioner before doing any exercise.
[Respect to Haste LeArt for providing pic https://www.instagram.com/redhaste/]
There has been a lot of evidence, anecdotally, that you feel the Qi or Chi you cultivate far more quickly with Taiji than feeling the Prana (life force) in Yoga. In addition to this many modern trainers state that many types of static stretches (used as warmups for training) contribute to more injuries than preventing them! That is why modern athletes do dynamic warmups using functional movements, not dissimilar to some Taiji warmups. Aside from this, Taiji is a martial art, there is more of a reason to practice it and because it is a martial art, it will improve your confidence and “grounding”…
I’ve practiced yoga on many different occasions in my life but never kept up the practice. But since I started Taiji I’ve not stopped. I believe the reason for this is because I can feel the benefits more powerfully and faster than yoga or static mediation and the self-defensive side keeps me practicing.
Taiji seems to stimulate more confidence boosting faculties of our mind and body and is more of a reason to exercise than just health and flexibility – it gives you a practical and down-to-earth objective to focus on.
Most Importantly, the quality of your class depends on your teacher, their practice, experience and the lineage – how effective and tried and tested the system is. Is it a truly holistic practice? Does your practice incorporate dynamic movement, breathing and Qi or Prana work, as well as a solid philosophy to back it up? The problem with yoga classes these days is that anyone can do a 200-hour Teacher Training Class and become a teacher, just like that, and do it just for the money. In Taiji I’ve never met a teacher who has been practicing intensely for less than four years, their master simply wouldn’t allow it…
The Benefits of Taiji Over Yoga Listed
Taiji (which includes practicing Qi Gong as part of your Taiji or Tai Chi versus yoga in its basic beginners’ level (excluding fully holistic Ayurveda+Yoga, and Kundalini Yoga, apart from the martial benefits):
- Taiji is easier to practice as you get older.
- Taiji (Tai Chi) is a martial art – improves confidence.
- Taiji Schools are usually more grounded through more rooted practice.
- Joint flexibility exercises are easier to perform.
- You are trained the most economical and meditational ways to walk, stand and sit – Taiji teaches you to move through space effectively.
- You feel the Qi (or prana) cultivation a lot quicker than with yoga.
- You develop sensitivity and awareness of skin and Qi quicker.
- Chinese Acu-pressure massage is more easily available to combine with Taiji practice to release blockages and tension.
- The breathing exercise and Qi cultivation techniques are quick and easy to learn and practice anywhere.
- The techniques, such as Qi cultivation, breathing and body dynamics are more easily integrated into daily routine.
- Easier to find a clear direct lineage of authentic practice.
- A teacher usually studies and practices intensively for 4-5 years to become a teacher rather than just 200 hours to be a certified yoga teacher for some teachers!!
- Taiji provide more dynamic exercises rather than forced stretches which can reduce flexibility and create more propensity to injuries.
- Organ health relating to Qi, diet, exercise and emotional states is more readily available as a full system of Taiji and Daoist medicine than yoga (unless you include Ayurveda).
- 10 minutes a day of Taiji is far easier to practice anywhere you go.
- In Taiji you do a lot of partner work developing sensitivity and connection with others.
Conversely, the deep stretches of yoga can help massage organs, increase blood flow, relaxation and core strength if done correctly. Yoga can also provide the necessary grounding and physical practice to prepare the body for higher states of consciousness provided the rest of you life is balanced. After practicing several different types of yoga and meditation over 30 years I've found Tai Chi more effective for me for the above reasons. I also found it more gentle and robust post near death experiences. Of course the answer is not simple as there are infinite types of yoga and Tai Chi, as indeed there are teachers...
It really depends on the teacher, their lineage, learning curve, dedication and ability to teach effectively! There is Taiji and there is Taiji – do the classes employ the spiraling power essences? Do they teach to practice with concentration (meditation)? Do they integrate Qi Gong into their Taiji?
Is the teacher someone who you would like your children to behave like when they grow up?
If you are a yoga practitioner, don’t take my word for it, try Taiji for six weeks to see the difference…
NB: Don't do both at the same time!
Tai Chi Classes in Brighton: https://daoyogi.co.uk/products/tai-ji-tuesdays-brighton
Tai Chi Classes in Croydon: https://daoyogi.co.uk/products/taiji-class-croydon
This is after more than 25 years as a regular static meditatior and sometimes yoga practitioner I now only do Taiji and Qi Gong.
I list of all the health issues I had after a near death experience, and intense emotional challenges and a lifetime of detox and retox, and how Taiji helped...
An article about what happened when I stopped practicing taiji. When I usually practice for over an hour a day.