A Quick Guide To Qigong and Tai Chi

Both Tai Chi and Qigong work with the breath, posture, and intention through slow, coordinated movement. Both are “internally” focused and fantastic for your health.

Here are a few subtle differences…


  • is internal Chinese health and longevity exercise
  • is the “mother” of Tai Chi
  • is practised as disease ‘prevention’ by cultivating and balancing Qi
  • exercises can be learned in a short space of time
  • means ‘energy work’ —‘Qi’ means life force energy; vitality and ‘Gong’ means work, study, discipline
  • is part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine system and has existed since 1600 BCE (for over 3600 years)!
  • forms (exercises) come from many sources and there are numerous exercises that exist
  • can be done seated or standing; moving or still
  • exercises can be done as a single exercise or repeated several times
  • exercises can be put into a sequence and the sequence can change according to the needs of each person
  • is a versatile and safe exercise modality suitable for all types of people

Tai Chi

  • is an internal Chinese martial art form
  • is an ‘advanced’ type of Qigong
  • is practised for defence and health
  • is traditionally spelled ‘Taiji Quan’ and means “supreme ultimate fist” referring to the body’s internal spiralling force and clarity of mind that comes with years of practice
  • is part of Chinese culture with close links to Daoist and Confucianist philosophy and has existed since the 12th Century CE
  • forms (exercises) are descended from 5 traditional families: Chen, Yang, Wu(Hao), Wu and Sun
  • is primarily practised standing, although it can be done seated
  • utilises the whole body, as arms/legs and upper/lower body move in a coordinated, flowing manner
  • forms (exercises) are a pre-set, memorized sequence of movements
  • is an enjoyable and safe exercise modality suitable for most people and is very popular worldwide
If you want more information about Tai Chi & Qigong, check out:

Heather Reade

Heather Reade (Licensed T'ai Chi and Qigong Instructor, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, YogaFit Instructor) has been teaching since 1999 in England and the US. She is a Senior Trainer for Dr.Lam's Tai Chi for Health programs and avid volunteer promoting Tai Chi for the Arthritis Foundation. Heather is currently pursuing a Master's of Science Degree in Traditional Chinese Medicine and is the creator of Shui Gong TM a unique, health-enhancing therapy pool program utilizing Tai Chi, TCM and Qigong. She teaches Yang and Sun-style T'ai Ji, Qigong, Fan Form, YogaFit Seniors, as well as the Tai Chi for Arthritis and Diabetes programs. You can learn more at Heather's website

2 thoughts on “A Quick Guide To Qigong and Tai Chi

  • October 30, 2012 at 4:32 am

    Great piece , like a college course in 5 mins!
    Clear, concise and above all …..useful! Thanks

  • October 30, 2012 at 4:29 am

    Great piece! This is like a quick college course in 5 mins… Clear, concise and above all…useful! Thank you.


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