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Thread: Tai Chi is the new Yoga

  1. #1
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    Tai Chi is the new Yoga

    There was another article I posted here recently that propounded the "Tai Chi is the new Yoga" trend. I don't like this notion because it short sells both disciplines, but I do hope it will come to pass. Obviously we have a vested interest in that.

    If I ever find that other article, I'll merge it here.

    Is Tai Chi the New Yoga?
    Confessions of an arm wafter.By Simon Doonan


    Men doing tai chi at the Temple of Heaven complex in Beijing, China.
    Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by Felix Green/Eye Ubiquitous/Getty Images

    SIMON DOONAN
    Simon Doonan is an author, fashion commentator, and creative ambassador for Barneys New York.

    Suddenly last summer I became a bona fide alter kocker. I adopted the ultimate signifier of senior citizenship. No, I did not start jamming fistfuls of purloined Sweet’N Low sachets into my man-bag. And, no, I did not embark on an extreme couponing rampage. It’s worse than that. I took up tai chi.

    My tai chi journey began when my husband and I decided to watch Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice, the 1969 free-lovin’ satire directed by Paul Mazursky. We snuggled up expecting a light-hearted hippie dippy romp, and then it happened. I am talking about the opening credits. They hit me like a brick of organic tofu.

    Against a clear blue sky, upon a nifty outdoor veranda, a phalanx of “gentle people” are slowly, smugly, smilingly practicing tai chi. Did I react with mockery and derision? After all, what could be sillier than a bunch of California “seekers” wafting their arms about in unison? No, I had a totally different response. Gotta get me some of that! is how it might best be described.

    The next day, when nobody was listening, I began to make telephonic enquiries about tai chi classes in Manhattan. “How about yoga?” was the most frequent response. I made a few half-hearted attempts to locate a private teacher via Google and then gave up.

    Tai chi is not Soul Cycle. There is no way to rationalize the effort via muscle tone or calories burned.
    This left me with two alternatives: Purchase a pastel velour sweat-suit, head down to Chinatown and find a gang of old ladies who would admit an aging gay Brit to their coven, or simply download a beginners lesson onto my laptop. I went with the latter. That’s when Dr. Paul Lam came into my life.

    If Dr. No had a benevolent, angelic brother, it would be Dr. Lam. Instead of a malevolent cat he would be stroking a little butterscotch bunny. Based in Australia, the good doctor travels the world teaching classes like Tai Chi for Arthritis and Tai Chi for Energy. Rather than wait for him to come to NYC, I downloaded his Tai Chi for Beginners onto my desktop and became instantly addicted. By the time I concluded Lesson 1, Dr. Lam had already became my favorite person on Earth. He is a fantabulous teacher who radiates sweetness and addresses the magic and mystery of this gorgeous centuries-old Chinese tradition without ever sounding doctrinaire or annoying.

    I did not tell my husband about this development. One day he came home and found me in the middle of “brushing the monkey.” Or was I “stripping the wild aardvark”? I can’t quite remember. (The movements all have such exotic names that it’s hard to keep track.) Either way, he freaked out. “Are you having some kind of episode?”

    “Tai chi. It’s a series of movements. What can I tell you?”

    The fact that I refused to defend, justify, or explain what I was doing seemed to put hubby in a royal snit. In the subsequent days his snarky observations increased and became a soundtrack to my practice. I was glad Dr. Lam was not within earshot.

    Now, six months later, my husbear has habituated to my daily routine. I still feel no obligation to explain why I like it or what I think the goals might be. The reasons for this are twofold: first, is there anything more boring than some zealot proselytizing, at length, about some new exercise obsession and its alleged results?

    Second, tai chi is not Soul Cycle. There is no way to rationalize the effort via muscle tone or calories burned. It is intrinsically mysterious. The benefits are subtle, occur over time and vary tremendously from person to person. This much I can say: Me and my body feel great after doing it, and I love all the names of the movements: “splicing the snow-gerbil,” “scratching the donkey,” or something like that.

    When, last March, Mrs. Obama appeared on the cover of the New York Times, wearing a sensible kitten heel, learning tai chi on a trip to China, I wordlessly slid the paper in front of my husband.

    “Look,” he said, “she’s frowning. You can tell she is thinking ‘This won’t tone my arms. WTF?’”

    “Just wait till she hits 60,” I replied.

    Sixty seems to be the dividing line. Everybody over this age is Tai-curious. Everybody under 60 thinks it is utterly idiotic. (My Jonny is 14 years younger than me so will have to wait well over a decade before he is willing to start husking the manatee.)

    Lest you, dear reader, accuse me, as my Jonny did, of being opaque and unhelpful, permit me to offer you a couple of tips. First, do not worry about trying to find a group. Tai chi is the perfect exercise to do via laptop. Dr. Lam and his blue-clad acolytes are available 24/7, can travel with you and will provide all the company you need.

    Most important, be sure to pick some groovy sounds. Do not feel obliged to play twangy Asian grooves or Enya warblings while you are tai chi-ing. I myself often commune with Dr. Lam while listening to the Doors’ Greatest Hits, or sometimes, if I am feeling particularly frisky, I get the Led out, as in Zeppelin. The Qi Gong circular breathing practice goes great with When the Levee Breaks.

    Now, cryin' won't help you, prayin' won't do you no good,
    When the levee breaks, mama, you got to move.
    I couldn’t agree more.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #2

    reply

    It seems the way of this age is often to reduce and over simplify. We have to put a tag or a handle on things or we are afraid people won't show an interest. It's like skimming a stone across the top of the water; it moves over the surface but never finds the depths. My own adventures with the martial arts have proven that although some make it look easy, actual practice is quite another thing. When you spend time with any martial art, the illusions quickly fall away. It's the same with quick and shallow comparisons. While I can appreciate both Yoga and Tai Chi; where they've developed and where they are going, the beauty of them in motion by those who love the arts; I feel drawn to the latter. This would not make sense if they were one and the same. Watching and participating in them shows a range of distinctives. They might possess some superficial similarities but working out the movements reveals that each is unique.

    In years past, one had to seek for others from whom we would learn. It took time and effort. Today we can click on a few links and gain a bit of information on many styles and forms and thereby deceive ourselves that we really know. We come to the martial arts like a hungry person in a cafeteria; we take only what looks good at the time with little thought beyond the immediate sensation; leaving behind the rest. The choices are many and it is both a blessing and a curse. We would do well to investigate and understand the myriad of disciplines that exist and to respect the long traditions that each brings. Comparisons can be helpful for they contrast and highlight but they cannot fully explain a thing that is so deep and profound.

  3. #3
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    Understandable, where Vedic culture generated static postures in the form of Yoga may be less appealing to the general population than the flowing "chi" forms of Taiji. Less enlightenment, more exercise. Ancient yogi's rarely had any excess calories to burn. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXnD956hF6w

  4. #4
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    A couple of quotes from that article that clearly demonstrates the author has zero experience in genuine Taijiquan.


    I downloaded his Tai Chi for Beginners onto my desktop
    Tai chi. It’s a series of movements. What can I tell you?
    First, do not worry about trying to find a group. Tai chi is the perfect exercise to do via laptop
    Most important, be sure to pick some groovy sounds

  5. #5
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    Since I have started teaching I stopped even explaining the difference between the two hahaha

    All the "students" in the class just want to do it for health and thats cool. They feel benefits and want to keep coming back so I'm all down for it.

  6. #6
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    Slightly OT

    Is Tai Chi the new Reiki? It is if you're SATAN!
    Donegal priest bans “contemptible” yoga, reiki and tai chi
    Jane Walsh @irishcentral July 10,2014 02:08 AM



    Gweedore parish priest, Father Padraig O'Baoill, says healing stretches and relaxation could “put your soul in jeopardy.”

    A Catholic priest in Ireland has become an online hit after asking parishioners in Gaoth Dobhair (Gweedore), County Donegal to refrain from taking part in yoga, tai chi or reiki.

    Father Padraig O’Baoill, the pastor of the local parish in Gaoth Dobhair, made his comments in the weekly newsletter published by the church.

    He said, “As followers of Jesus Christ we should not partake in deeds that go against our religion. Accordingly, you should do not take part in yoga, thai chai or reiki. Do not put your soul in jeopardy for the sake of these contemptable things [sic].”

    A local yoga teacher said she was offended by the remarks, describing them as over the top.

    The parish priest, who is currently in Lourdes, France, told reporters at the Donegal News that he would comment on his return.

    His comments reflect the Catholic Church's teachings relating to yoga, tai chi and reiki.

    However, his comments were not greeted with a great deal of seriousness online.

    One Tweet quoted the comedy series “Father Ted”:
    Donegal News @Donegal_News
    Gaoth Dobhair forbids yoga - http://donegalnews.com/2014/07/gaoth...-forbids-yoga/

    Tommy Martin @TommyMartinTV3
    Follow

    Down with that sort of thing "@Donegal_News: Gaoth Dobhair priest forbids yoga - http://donegalnews.com/2014/07/gaoth...-forbids-yoga/ …”
    Gene Ching
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  7. #7
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    The physical movements of yoga are NOT against the teachings of Christianity, of course.
    That said, when the yogi starts to try to open up your "spirit" or the yoga practitioners tries to access the spirit realm as opposed to finding some sort of "spiritual peace" via breathing exercises, that is a different matter.
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  8. #8
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    Many Westerners do not realize that Yoga is a spiritual practice, not just exercises to be bendy.

    Also it was the basic training system for many of the Indian combat systems that are not practiced much any longer.

    Most of my yoga friends are not that well balanced and when confronted with reality at times, they are the ones who lose it more than people who have trained some sort of combat training. Interesting to see.

    People like to be bendy in body but not in mind...
    Dr. Dale Dugas
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    All for Use
    Nothing for Show

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mor Sao View Post
    Many Westerners do not realize that Yoga is a spiritual practice, not just exercises to be bendy.
    You should then question whether or not these people are practicing the genuine article, or not.

    The same with Taijiquan.
    If you are not learning the combative skills of the art, it cannot be claimed that you are learning taijiquan at all. The health benefits come from practicing as a martial art, not the other way around.

  10. #10
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    Most of all, Taiji is becoming fashionable http://www.taijizen.com/attachments/...avatar_640.jpg
    Last edited by PalmStriker; 07-18-2014 at 07:24 PM.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    The physical movements of yoga are NOT against the teachings of Christianity, of course.
    That said, when the yogi starts to try to open up your "spirit" or the yoga practitioners tries to access the spirit realm as opposed to finding some sort of "spiritual peace" via breathing exercises, that is a different matter.
    ------------------------

    It would take a long time to respond fully. Yoga should not be confused with theology and does not require a religious commitment.

  12. #12
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    Slightly OT

    Yoga enthusiasts strike poses on a cliff to show they've conquered their fear of heights


    Probably the greatest trust exercise you can do.IMAGE: WANG ZHENG/IMAGINECHINA

    BY VICTORIA HO 11 HOURS AGO

    There are perhaps fewer gut-twisting, terrifying weekend activities to do than doing yoga overlooking a death drop off the side of a mountain.

    A group of Chinese women gathered on Sunday for a yoga display at the summit of the Shuangfeng mountain in central China's Hubei province.


    IMAGE: WANG ZHENG/IMAGINECHINA


    IMAGE: WANG ZHENG/IMAGINECHINA


    IMAGE: WANG ZHENG/IMAGINECHINA

    The performance, according to Chinese media, was in order to promote a healthy lifestyle.

    The women were also joined by a group of Taichi masters who, too, proved that they weren't intimidated by the altitude.


    IMAGE: WANG ZHENG/IMAGINECHINA


    IMAGE: WANG ZHENG/IMAGINECHINA


    IMAGE: WANG ZHENG/IMAGINECHINA
    Given my position here, is it wrong of me to want to hang out with the yogini gals and not the tai chi dudes?
    Gene Ching
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  13. #13
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    Slightly OT

    Didn't quite know where to post this. Yoga is mentioned twice in the article. If it really is a trend, and of course, I hope it is, perhaps we'll launch a thread dedicated to millennials.

    Tai chi fights stress, getting popular with Millennials
    CNN Special Projects Portraits
    By Amy Chillag, CNN
    Updated 9:35 AM ET, Tue September 5, 2017

    Tai chi isn't just for old folks

    Story highlights
    Tai chi instructors see increase in 20- and 30-somethings attending classes
    Millennials say they use tai chi to counteract stress, find calm

    (CNN)Standing 6 feet 5 inches tall, Patrick York is a gentle giant.
    The soft-spoken 26-year-old with a "Peace Love Tai Chi" T-shirt flowed into a grounded stance on a Long Beach, California, hilltop. He was among several dozen people taking a free tai chi class this warm July day.
    "I do tai chi to reconnect my mind, body and spirit, as well as to strengthen my muscles, loosen my joints, get my body relaxed," York said.

    What is tai chi?

    Tai chi is an ancient martial art developed in China that's often referred to as a "moving meditation."
    "It takes the principles that we've observed in nature and uses it as a martial art," said Daniel Hoover, tai chi master, chiropractor and owner of School of Healing Martial Arts in Long Beach. Hoover gives a free class every Sunday on this hill.
    Tai chi's slow, graceful movements are accompanied by deep circular breathing. Though tai chi is practiced slowly for health benefits -- stress relief, improved balance and flexibility -- it can be sped up and used as a fighting form in very advanced classes.
    Chinese physicians prescribe tai chi as a gymnastic form of medicine to complement other traditional treatments such as acupuncture and herbs, according to tai chi master Terry Dunn, who helped popularize it in the West.
    The movements are working with what is called "qi" or life force, a type of "flow" that, according to tai chi practitioners, everyone has.
    "Within every tai chi movement is the principle of yin and yang. The idea that there is unity within opposites: positive and negative, full and empty, dark and light, hard and soft, cause and effect," writes Dunn.


    Millennials are taking up tai chi to reduce stress and become more "grounded."

    Each posture has a classical Chinese name, such as "Wave Hands Like Clouds," "Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg," "High Pat the Horse," "White Crane Cools Its Wings" and "Shoot Tiger with Bow."
    Beyond just the forms, there is sparring called "push hands," in which two practitioners try to unbalance one another by redirecting the other's energy.
    Though studies show that most of those who practice tai chi are 50 years old and up, several instructors report a renewed interest among younger folks looking for an antidote to stress.

    Young practitioners looking for peace
    York does tai chi three times a week, which he says helps him be more patient and go with the flow.
    "I live in Southern California, so driving on the freeways, it can be tempting to rush through traffic and go as fast as you can," he said. "But since I've been doing tai chi, I've been able to stop and pull back and just be like 'all right, here I am in the flow. I'm going to go with it, and if it's slow, that's OK.' "
    It also helps him be more patient in his job as classroom aide for special-needs children.
    "A couple of times I have guided them through some breathing exercises, and within minutes, they're more focused. I'm more relaxed, they're more relaxed, and we're able to move on to the lessons," York said.
    Dunn, who has been teaching tai chi in Los Angeles for more than three decades, says that in the past year and a half, he's gotten an uptick in calls from young men in the tech industry.


    Taniela Irizarry, 37, takes a free tai chi class on Long Beach's Signal Hill.

    He gives private lessons to 20 people, including one young man who works for eHarmony and another for Yahoo.
    "Computer tech people, they love tai chi. It's a good destresser for them: sitting hours behind a keyboard, hunched over doing programming," Dunn said. "A lot of these people are more introverted. They like that gentle nature of tai chi that doesn't have sparring and hitting bags."
    Google headquarters has been offering tai chi to its employees for the past couple of years.
    Master David Chang, owner of the Wushu Central Martial Arts Academy in San Jose, says he has several students in their 20s and 30s.
    "It used to be all senior citizens. It was uncommon for anyone younger than 30 learning tai chi. I've seen it's shifted quite a bit."
    Chang, 41, says those students are looking for both a good source of exercise and something to relieve stress.
    "We have some students working in high-tech companies, environmental site analysis, another in air-conditioning repair. It goes across the board," Chang said.

    Tai chi slowness is deceptive
    "Tai chi has a stigma of being for old people because it's slow. Tai chi is great for young people because it helps you to develop that slowness, which can be very beneficial in the world when things are stressful," York said.
    He says that although it's practiced slowly, it's not easy.
    "The slowness of tai chi is deceptive. It's more difficult to remain slow and connected to the breath."
    "Each movement uses almost every muscle. So when we're standing and we're in a form and we're centered low -- the legs are engaged, the torso, the arms -- everything's engaged but not stressed like it would be in a workout in the gym. My legs have become much stronger."
    Taniela Irizarry, 37, says it helps with her injuries from years of beating up her body as a professional dancer. She too practices it outside on Signal Hill.
    "At first, it does seem a little difficult to slow yourself down at that point. But once you do, you realize that it's so calming and it's so relaxing. I just feel like everything just kind of releases," Irizarry said.
    "You feel the wind blowing through. Sometimes, maybe it's the energy we're creating, but little bees, butterflies and birds come zipping around us," she said.

    May guard against inflammation, chronic disease
    Most health research into the benefits of tai chi focus on people over 50. But the earlier you start in life, the more you reap the rewards, says Dr. Michael Irwin, director of UCLA's Mindful Awareness Research Center. He says the benefits are cumulative.
    "A younger person that's experiencing stress, there's a way for them to target that stress so that it does not accumulate over time -- increasing the likelihood of them developing disease."


    Daniel Hoover teaches a free tai chi class on a hilltop in Long Beach, California.

    Irwin has carried out more than a dozen peer-reviewed studies evaluating the ability of tai chi, yoga and mindfulness to improve health outcomes.
    Irwin's earliest tai chi study in 2003 found an increase in the number of disease-fighting "T cells" that fight off shingles in patients who practiced tai chi. The 15-week study showed no increase in those who did not participate.
    In a later study, Irwin found that practicing tai chi gave the same immunity boost as a vaccine developed for shingles.
    In 2015, a study found that tai chi, over several weeks, reduced cellular inflammatory responses in patients suffering from insomnia, Irwin says.
    "As we age, we find you can be more at risk for an infectious disease, or you can be more at risk for an inflammatory disorder," he said. "Tai chi importantly impacts both elements of the immune system. It improves our ability to fight off infectious disease. It also decreases our inflammation. "
    Irwin is now studying whether tai chi can be as effective as cognitive behavioral therapy to treat depression and anxiety.

    What makes it so effective?
    What is is about tai chi that is so impactful on our health?
    "We simply don't know, but we have various clues," Irwin said. "What happens when you practice tai chi: We're slowly moving, but we also have to be present in this moment -- not tomorrow, not yesterday, but in this moment."


    Patrick York, 28, says he finds peace and strength in his tai chi practice.

    He adds that this is true not just for tai chi but for other mindfulness practices such as yoga and meditation.
    "Being present in the moment turns off these kinds of stories that we tell ourselves, that our brain tells our body. When we're telling all these stories about all these horrible things that have been happening to us, we get an activation of these stress response pathways," Irwin said. "So being present in the moment helps us maintain a sense of calmness but also short-circuits activation of these stress pathways."

    'We need a practice ... that allows us to slow down'
    At the end of the tai chi class on Long Beach's Signal Hill, York says he brings his practice with him everywhere he goes.
    "If I'm feeling agitated, it's a good lesson for me to remember to slow down and tune in with my breath. I do tai chi to get back into myself and to my center, because throughout the week, the world will pull us in different directions," York said.
    "I think tai chi is great for younger people because it forces you to disconnect from the world around you."
    Hoover agrees.
    "We all need a practice, whether it's tai chi or something else, that allows us to slow down."
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  14. #14
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    Slightly OT

    Tai Chi vs. Yoga sounds like the worst Kung Fu movie ever...

    Tai Chi vs. Yoga: What To Know About These Ancient Mind-Body Practices
    Ready to build physical and mental strength?


    BY MALLORY CREVELING
    MAR 15, 2021
    DRAZEN ZIGICGETTY IMAGES
    Mind-body movement offers the ultimate two-for-one combo: As you work on your physical health, strengthening your muscles and balancing out your body, you also nourish your mind in a major way. Two of the most powerful and ancient mind-body practices out there—tai chi and yoga—have become beloved across the globe in recent decades.

    Both modalities challenge and ground you both physically and mentally by incorporating various postures and movements and connecting you to your body and breath.

    However, though tai chi and yoga offer many similar benefits (science-backed benefits, might I add), they have different origins, histories, and styles.

    Whether you ultimately opt for tai chi vs. yoga depends entirely on personal preference (though you can totally do both!), but there are a few things to know about what to expect in a class.

    Ready to feel strong in all the ways? Use this guide to get familiar with tai chi and yoga's rich roots, what each practice looks like in real-time, and how to get started.

    The Origins Of Yoga And Tai Chi
    Though yoga and tai chi have unique histories and roots, both have existed for centuries and originated in Asia.

    Before yoga spread across the globe and became the popular physical and mental practice that it is today, it began about 5,000 years ago as an Indian philosophy; a way to connect with divine spirits, says Kelly Turner, RYT, director of education for YogaSix. “It was more about meditation and concentration—and moving toward a place where a person could overcome the burdens of being human and find liberation and enlightenment,” she explains.

    In fact, it wasn't until the 1900s that the physical aspect of yoga became more prominent in India. “The physical postures were designed to help people sit more comfortably in meditation,” Turner says. Eventually, a few key yogis led the charge in creating the yoga practices that we know in the Western world. Today, there are a number of different styles of yoga students may practice, from invigorating vinyasa to quiet restorative yoga.

    This content is imported from {embed-name}. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their web site.

    Tai chi, meanwhile, dates back to about the 1600s and originated in the villages of China, says Shifu Pam Dye, instructor at Forever Tai Chi in New York. As with yoga, several styles of tai chi have evolved throughout its existence, including Yang, Sun, and Chen. (Chen, which is considered the original style, was created by Chen Wangting.) The practice spread from China to the U.S. in the 1950s.

    Also like yoga, tai chi incorporates mental and physical practices. However, tai chi’s roots lie in martial arts. “Each posture you see people doing has a martial art or self-defense application to it,” she says. “It may look like gentle movements with names that come from animals or nature—but if someone comes at you with a punch or grabs you from behind, you can use the postures to defend yourself.”

    Still, much of tai chi's focus is on creating harmony and balance of your mind, body, and spirit—and letting go of unnecessary tension, adds Margaret Matsumoto, director of teacher training at the Tai Chi Foundation.

    Tai Chi vs. Yoga: What Each Physical Practice Looks Like
    Both yoga and tai chi have several different specific types of practices under their main mind-body umbrellas. Some—like Ashtanga or power yoga and Chen-style tai chi—are more intense, while others—like yin or restorative yoga and qigong, which is a collection of separate basic movements instead of one long sequence of flowing moves, according to Matsumoto—are more low-key.

    Regardless of the unique style you practice, though, both yoga and tai chi involve a series of poses. In a class, your instructor will guide you into and through each pose and offer tips on proper posture and alignment, according to Dye.

    Whether you pause in a particular pose for several breaths (or even minutes) or continuously flow from one to the next, depends on the style, says Dye. She refers to dynamic tai chi as “meditation in motion.”

    That said, while some yoga instructors may focus on specific areas of the body (like shoulders and hips), tai chi takes a more holistic approach. "Tai chi is interested in integrated movements, so the whole body operates as one,” Matsumoto says. “Rather than working the body like a machine, tai chi works to relax unnecessary tensions within it.” So, while tai chi is rarely (if ever) practiced on the floor, certain yoga poses—like bridge and savasana—take place on the mat.

    Tai chi also stands out from yoga because of its martial arts and self-defense element, which becomes more prominent as you to get into more advanced classes, says Dye.

    However, despite their physical differences, both yoga and tai chi involve a focus on your breath. You’ll do mostly deep, diaphragmatic breathing in tai chi, but you might do different types of breathing techniques in yoga, Dye says. Kundalini yoga, for example, incorporates different types of breathing techniques to help you shift out of "fight-or-flight" mode and into a more restful state, Turner explains.

    The Benefits of Tai Chi vs. Yoga—And How They Compare
    To date, there’s more in-depth research on yoga than there is on tai chi. Still, both have some science to back up their benefits.

    Research has found that yoga, for example, may help with stress, depression, and anxiety, while protecting brain function and potentially decreasing inflammation in the body.

    Studies suggest that tai chi, meanwhile, can help healthcare workers manage stress, while helping college students relax and sleep better. Research also backs up that tai chi can improve the health outcomes of those with underlying health issues like heart disease and arthritis.

    Meanwhile, other research shows that both practices may help with pain management. Both yoga and tai chi also improve your balance, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health.

    Keep in mind, though, Dye says you have to be in the right state of mind to reap the benefits of these practices. “You have to be relaxed,” she says. “If you’re not fully relaxed, you’re not going to get the full benefits of stress reduction and flexibility. You may feel the physical part, but if you’re not fully relaxed, you’re not going to get the mind part.”

    Tai Chi vs. Yoga: Which Is Right For You? Here's How To Decide

    Thanks to the postures involved in both practices, both tai chi and yoga will help you strengthen your muscles and improve mobility. If your goal is to support your overall fitness, try taking both a yoga and a tai chi class to see which you like better. Lots of people take interest in tai chi classes for better overall health, Dye says. It also appeals to athletes who want better full-body awareness and to move more efficiently, Matsumoto adds.

    One caveat: Since yoga often involves holding various deep stretches for longer, it should be your go-to if flexibility is top-priority, says Turner.

    When it comes to stress relief, both practices are equally awesome. Yoga and tai chi both have strong mental components, so you really can’t go wrong with either.

    And for those seeking weight loss? There is some research on yoga’s effect on body composition, with at least one systematic review and meta-analysis suggesting it can help reduce body mass index in overweight and obese individuals. That said, you might want to opt for a power yoga or vinyasa class, which will be more rigorous. If you're more interested in tai chi, a Chen-style class, which may include some explosive movements like jumps and kicks, is the way to go.

    If you’re having trouble deciding which to try, Turner suggests chatting with studio staff or instructors to figure out the different types of classes they offer and what you should know ahead of time. Then, try out different instructors and styles to get a feel for what you like. “There are so many ways to customize your experience,” she says.

    The bottom line: No matter what your fitness and mindfulness goals look like, yoga and tai chi both provide a pretty powerful opportunity to bring them together. Ultimately, whatever practice keeps you coming back for more mind-body movement is the best option for you.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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