Tai Chi and Yoga are exercises that are frequently paired together in conversation. This is because both styles of exercise are a form of working out that’s calmer and often slower than the workouts you would do at a gym. This is one of the attraction points of yoga and tai chi.
Both tai chi and yoga also come from ancient practices. They are not merely exercising routines that have been made up on the spot. They have been practiced for ages. This is another thing that they have in common, but the practices also differ in many ways. Let’s dig into more about yoga vs tai chi.
What is Yoga?
Yoga is an ancient mind and body movement practice. It originated in India as a type of meditation. It was originally a collection of poses that were held whilst doing various breathing techniques. Originally, the focus was on the breath and not the movement.
Nowadays, yoga has evolved. It’s a popular form of exercise now. There are different types of yoga, each with a different focus. Some focus more on the breath while others focus primarily on the breath. Although, in some ways, all the different kinds of yoga involve movement paired with the breath.
The Benefits of Practicing Yoga
As with any form of movement, there are mental and physical benefits to practicing yoga.
- The meditation and mindfulness aspect of yoga brings the benefit of easing stress. Almost everyone who practices yoga says that it helps them to feel calm and get rid of stress and anxiety.
- The physical movement of yoga builds endurance, muscle, and flexibility. Everyone who practices yoga becomes more flexible and stronger than they previously were. All these things improve your overall health and wellbeing.
- Breathing paired with movement is said to improve heart and kidney health. It also improves lung health and helps people to breathe better.
- It’s used to aid addiction and anxiety recovery because it’s so good for your mental and physical health. It helps people to feel good about themselves and lead a better life.
What is Tai Chi?
Tai chi is an ancient movement practice that originally began as some sort of martial art. It originated in China to help the vital energy force ‘Qi’ to move throughout the body. The practice was said to help balance the Qi within the body and therefore ensures that the body stays healthy.
To do tai chi, you move your body extremely slowly in movements similar to that of dance. Whilst doing this movement, you pair it with the breath and begin meditating. This makes tai chi another form of movement meditation. Meditating in tai chi is vital to the practice.
The Benefits of Practicing Tai Chi
Below are the many mental and physical benefits that can be found when doing tai chi.
- The continuous movement in tai chi helps to relieve bodily pain and stiffness. It’s commonly associated with helping those with back pain. The type of dance movement keeps the body agile and flexible.
- Moving slowly whilst doing tai chi enhances a sense of calm and ease. It encourages the people who practice tai chi to move like this throughout the day as well. This quells any stress and anxiety.
- Tai chi also improves balance. The movement in tai chi requires coordination to do properly, which enhances a person’s focus. This focus improves balance during practice and daily life.
What is the Difference between Yoga and Tai Chi?
One of the biggest differences between yoga and tai chi is that there is a lot more scientific research to back up yoga. There hasn’t been a lot of research about tai chi, but there are still known benefits to it.
Another difference between yoga and tai chi is that yoga involves holding poses. Tai chi is a form of dance movement, it’s continuously flowing. Although yoga does have some sort of flow to it, the poses are mostly held to receive the benefits.
One of the other differences is that yoga is practiced low to the ground, high up, and in between those two. Tai chi is mostly done standing and doesn’t involve any sort of equipment. Yoga has a lot of props that can be used to aid the practice.
What are the similarities between Yoga and Tai Chi?
Although these two practices are different forms of exercise, they are virtually the same. They are both slow forms of movement that originated a long time ago. They’re both ancient practices that were rooted in the breath and are still used breath to this day. Both yoga and tai chi pair the movement with the breath.
They are also both good for your mental and physical wellbeing. They ease stress and anxiety whilst improving things like balance, flexibility, and strength. For both of these practices to work, the individual practicing them needs to be in good head space.
Tai Chi or Yoga, Which Should You Try?
Whether to do yoga or tai chi is a big question. It mostly depends on who you are as a person, what you enjoy, your age, and your health. Both exercises are easy to do when done at a beginner level and therefore both can be tried out.
If you’re unsure of which one would suit you best, try watching a video on each and see which one you prefer. There’s never any pressure to commit to the exercise. Do what works and feels best for you personally. Both have their own benefits and work best when enjoyed by the individual.
Yoga and tai chi have many similarities as well as many differences. Any form of exercise will be good for you or the individual practicing it. Yoga and tai chi have many benefits and anybody partaking in it would receive these benefits.
If you’re looking for a way to enhance your mental and physical wellbeing, then both could work. Choose whichever mindfulness and movement practice that works best for you. Everyone has a different experience with the exercises, trust your experience and your judgment.