Qigong Q & A

What is Qigong (Chi Kung)

Qigong is the art of cultivating the vital energy (Qi) in our body for body function improvement, disease prevention, and healing. Qigong integrates breath, movement, and relaxation into harmony through mindful intention. Anyone who likes to cultivate holistic health can participate in Qigong practice. No experience is needed. 

Why practice Qigong

Qigong helps create a space for well-being. The principles of Qigong are based on traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), thus it is health-oriented. There is an expression in TCM that says, “When the pathway for Qi is open, then there is no pain. When pain happens, it’s due to the blockage of the energy channel.”  Together with acupuncture, herbal treatment, and massage, Qigong practice is one of the TCM remedies for health. Research shows that practitioners with asthma, arthritis, cancer, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, headaches, and pain can receive positive benefits from Qigong.  

The gentle, slow movements allow us to easily adapt to our own range of motion and, at the same time, improve coordination, balance, and health. Be aware that the concept of health in TCM includes physical, mental, and emotional wellness. By practicing Qigong, we improve the free flow of vital energy (Qi) and could have an effect on stress-related chronic diseases such as insomnia, hypertension, muscle strain, depression, anxiety, etc. The holistic approach of Qigong will allow us to naturally sense contentment from within. 

How is Qigong different from yoga

Yoga was introduced to China in the 1980s as “Qigong and meditation.” We can see that yoga and Qigong have a lot of commonalities. Both yoga and Qigong have thousands of years of history. However, there are a few differences between them. Traditionally, yoga is a spiritual practice and seated meditation is the main form. The practice of physical posture has only been around for a few hundred years. And the concepts of traditional Indian medicine (Ayurveda) are rarely mentioned in a yoga class. On the other hand, the concept of Qi is used to explain the laws of nature. Qigong, known in ancient China as physical exercise for guiding energy flow, has movements that can be seen in a manuscript drawing from 2000 years ago and is part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). 

Now, physical exercise is the main form of a yoga class, and yoga is well known for being good for stretching. Qigong focuses on building strength in suppleness. The body is moved by internal energy and feelings. The movement of Qigong integrates fluidity and steadiness. Fluidity is like flowing water, and steadiness is like a mighty mountain. Water and mountains go perfectly together in nature, and we practice Qigong repeatedly to reach the same harmony as in nature. It promotes the free flow of energy in the firm body as well as momentum in stillness. Through its work on the body’s vital energy (Qi) and understanding the energy in nature, Qigong brings the body into harmony with nature to maintain wellness. This approach develops holistic health and can lead us to take charge of our own health. 

How is Qigong different from Tai Chi

Tai Chi’s inner energy movement is Qigong. Both Qigong and Tai Chi share the same philosophy, yet the core of Tai Chi is martial arts and the core of Qigong is health. Furthermore, the sequences of Tai Chi are longer than Qigong.   


  1. Tai Chi Healthways Association Qigong Instructor Leadership Training Manual, 2023
  2. Chris Butler and Wai Lana, Yoga: Qigong and Meditation [柏忠言,张蕙兰,瑜伽:气功与冥想] (Beijing: People’s Sports Publishing House, 1986).

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