Generally speaking, most people today are more aware of Yoga and Tai Chi than they are of Qigong. So let's start at the beginning:
Qigong is pronounced “chee gung" and some times written as “chi kung". It is a Chinese term that means Energy Cultivation. It is an ancient art that can be practiced for health, vitality, martial arts, mind expansion and spiritual cultivation; irrespective of race, culture and religion (it is non-religious).
You will probably be most interested in the health aspects of this art and as such you will be comforted to know that qigong is actually the oldest branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine. As such, it follows the very same principles as the more popularly known forms of Chinese Medicine, such as Acupuncture and Herbal medicine.
Is Qigong related to Yoga?
Like qigong, Yoga is also a form of Energy Cultivation except that it originates from India instead of China. Much of the Yoga practiced today requires a fair level of flexibility and can be quite physically strenuous.
Generally speaking qigong is more accessible than Yoga as the physical requirements are much less. In my opinion, a majority of Yoga today is devoid of any real energy work and is practiced more as a physical exercise. However, sadly the same can be said of qigong.
Is Qigong related to Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is actually a martial art, though today you will mostly find it practiced as a form of relaxation, devoid of any martial aspects. This is interesting as the best health benefits are attained only when Tai Chi is practiced in the manner it was intended, i. e. as a martial art. When this is the case, the energy work is indeed related to qigong. It is rare to find Tai Chi Chaun of this quality.
Qigong however is more direct in its aims to restore and promote good health. In my experience it is more effective and quicker in achieving results. For one, the routines in Tai Chi Chaun are more complex and therefore harder to memorize. If your aim is to restore and promote good health, increase energy levels and enhance your mental clarity, qigong would be the simple, direct and effective choice - providing you learn a genuine form.
Thanks for reading.
About the author:
Jordan Francis is an instructor for the Shaolin Wahnam Institute, and is personally guided and supervised by 4th Generation Shaolin Grandmaster - Wong Kiew Kit - who is one of the Worlds leading authorities, a best selling Author and teacher to literally thousands of students World Wide. You can learn more at Jordan's web site http://www.cosmosarts.com where you'll also be able to download a free guide to qigong.