5 reasons why Yoga might be better than Tai Chi

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by gt3, Dec 2, 2004.

  1. gt3

    gt3 Member

    Atleast 5 Good Reasons why Yoga might be better than Tai Chi

    The following list is just based off my own research and observations. It was merely written as an exercise for contemplation. It was not written to say that tai chi, when used responsibly, can't be just as great because ultimately tai chi and yoga are just tools and it is up to the individual practitioner to develop true character and respect by themselves.

    The following opinions are however more to do with the common theme amongst non-masters of either art. These are what I believe happen on a realistic level. Of course, anyone can find fault in them on a mostly theoretical basis, including myself. I assure you I study both of these subjects objectively.

    I still practice yoga AND taichi everyday. My apparent bias toward yoga stems only from my own observations thus far. I also find my practice of yoga greatly helps my tai chi practice (and perhaps vice/versa though I have yet to truely notice that as happening).


    1) Tai chi was created and practiced as a martial art. This, by definition, means it's rooted in violence. And in the mind the intent is on violence, be it offense or self-defense, we still have a real or imagined opponent. The word "opponent" appears many times in classic and modern tai chi books. It's even included in a lot of the "poems" about tai chi. There are those who are very into "taosim" who practice tai chi. Unfortunately, even though taichi has some taosist similarities it is not the same thing. And, in the west anyway, most students completely disregard any taoism in the art, instead favoring its fighting aspects and general principles.

    (I also find it strange how taichi's principles clearly are UNnatural in the way that they try to retrain the human machine to handle itself in a fight. Nearly all tai chi students struggle greatly with being able to stay with taichi's principles of relaxation, yeilding, and so on, when actually in danger. I'm not sure how one could make the connection to "nature" in this case when it comes to tai chi)

    Yoga is rooted in nonviolence, including non-violence to one's self. Yoga exercises are designed with complete non-violence to the body and mind. While it's true that tai chi's exercises are typically very gentle on the body, "testing" it requires inflicting physical violence on an opponent, and them inflicting it on you. In yoga the only opponent is your own mind's negative impulses. If these impulses were controlled by more and more people there would be less and less conflict in the world.

    2) Yoga seems to appeal more largely to women (who are naturally "yin" and less violent) and tai chi appeals mainly to men (who are naturally "yang" and more violent). The people who practice tai chi as a martial art, more often than not, have a more paranoid view of the world, and while they claim to be balanced they still tend more toward yang, ego, agression... and generally become offended more easily (just read through this forum).

    3) Peace begins with "you". If you're peaceful that's all you can do to create world peace. Of course, everyone in the world would need to do this to have true world peace, but it still starts with you. Unfortunately, violence, be it with martial artists or gun fighters, are often needed in our violent world to "keep the peace". Really this is a misnomer, as it isn't so much "keeping the peace" as it is stopping even greater violence from occuring. However, this practice often fails.

    4) Tai chi alone isn't usually enough exercise for a non-elderly person. In the old days, the tai chi masters would work very hard labor jobs and then practice tai chi afterward and use it as both a tool for learning self-defense and for relaxation. In todays world of office jobs and generally sedentary lifestyles coming home after sitting at a desk all day to practice tai chi usually isn't enough excerise for the average individual, especially if they are trying to lose weight.

    Yoga practioners typically wake up at least an hour before they go to work or school and do an invigorating yoga workout. This includes total body exercises that serve to strengthen, elongate and relax nearly every muscle, organ and joint in the body. You WILL sweat when doing an invorgrating yoga session far more than you would in a typical tai chi session. While tai chi can improve cardio conditioning when done in a low stance over a period of time, most instructors don't advise their students to do this, especially those with any kind of health problems (high blood pressure, bad knees, etc).

    With yoga there are some contraindictions of course, but there's literally thousands of different asanas (poses). So much so that you can adjust and invent your own exercise routines as needed. You also can get a safe cardio workout in yoga even with bad knees! This is done via the flowing "vinyasa" where you link one pose directly into the next (much like flowing from one taichi posture to the next in the taichi form). With yoga you can include standing, sitting and even lying postures individually or flowing together. Of course with yoga you can chose to do only those poses which relax you. These calming poses are usually done in the evening as you're winding down before bed time.

    Tai chi and yoga have the same things in common when it comes to health, only yoga goes even further. For example, tai chi works by activating the "meridians" through your feet, which in turn correspond to other parts of your body. It does this as you're standing and "walking" through the movements of the form. You also loosen most, if not every, joint in the body while doing the form. Yoga also believes in meridians (they call them Nadis) and each yoga pose is said to open them up so more energy flows through them. There's the concept of life force/chi in yoga reffered to as "Prana" and many breathing exercises (pranayama) and asanas to increase prana.

    Yoga also has inverted poses, like downward facing dog and headstands, which gives your organs a break from gravity's constant pull on them. They also allow your heart to rest. This is not found in tai chi.

    Tai chi students usually incorporate "Qigong" exercises, and often other things like external martial arts or even weight lifting, to supplement their tai chi training. On a side note, why don't any of the taiji classics mention qigong? Is it just me who noticed this? Perhaps i'm wrong. (and yes I am aware that tai chi itself is often considered to be qigong in itself, but this still makes me wonder why my tai chi books don't mention qigong, except the ones written in the last 30 years)

    With yoga there are no supplements needed. Yoga is a perfect exercise (and whole life system) in and of itself.

    As far as longevity, look at the biography of most tai chi "masters", of old and new, you'll notice they typically lived from 45-80 years. The largest percent probably living up to between 65-75 years. However, there are a great many instances of yogi's living well into their hundreds! Is it because they didn't have to fight? Is it because Yoga is a superior form of health exercise? Is it both or some other factors? Who knows.

    5) Yoga teaches a philosophy that benefits your lifestyle.

    Yogi's remind their students to have fun and even smile and laugh through both their workouts and their daily life. Look around, you don't see too many smiling tai chi guys. Why are they so serious anyway? They'll often claim they're not but the proof is in the packaging. I was looking at some photographs of yang cheng fu and his students and they have a very "I'm a thug, don't mess with me!" expression on their faces in every single photograph. Of course, they couldn't come off as potentially looking untough back then. But what is our excuse in modern/developed societies for being so serious?

    6) Most taichi students these days are too busy arguing and debating over who's the real thing and who's a "new age hippy". There's a LOT of frustration and ill wishing toward eachother in the tai chi community, if you can even call it a community. Teachers often are just as bad when they should know better. Unforunately its often a marketing ploy by teachers to get students. The students then are basically brain washed and go on to act on this brain washing and try to convince everyone else of their beliefs.

    I've found with yoga most people get along great. There are however some yoga teachers, almost exclusively in the western world, who act more like drill sergeants, shouting out commands and not a pupil in the room feels allowed to even smile! I call these people "alignment nazi's". Real yoga is personal, there's no one "right" way to do it. It's a personal growth tool. No one is ever forced to do or believe anything.

    To me, the current state of taichi and yoga looks something like this:

    About half of yogi's practice yoga to get a good workout and improve their looks.

    The other half of yogi's practice yoga for the spiritual aspects to become a better person.

    Tai Chi
    90% of tai chi students practice tai chi for health and/or as part of their taoist philosophy.

    The other 10% practice it as a martial art, with some students still caring about health and philosophy.

    Let's remember though that yoga is thousands of years old and the yogi's always strived to love everyone and to not hold back any thing that could benefit mankind. While tai chi is perhaps only a few hundred years old and was (and still is by some) taught in a violent, secretive way.

    If your goal is simply fitness/health and philosophy then Yoga is probably more suited to you. If you want health/fitness potential for philosophy and self defense, then tai chi is more suited for you (or most any martial art). I still believe that tai chi can and should evolve until we come to a place where theres less confusion about it. Unforunately, most who take the time to master the art teach that its perfect the way it is and changing it would only ruin it. Perhaps that's true and finding out what "it" really is is the real challenge and could take decades to really grasp. With yoga, a good teacher and your own daily practice and meditation, what it "is" and what you can do with it becomes apparent very quickly.

    Yoga's goal is on Enlightenment. Tai chi's goal is on developing a great fighter, who will hopefully be skilled enough as to not have to ever hurt anyone. There's no substitute for enlightenment.

    The more I write about this the more and more ideas I keep finding as to why Yoga is perhaps superior to Taichi (such as lineage issues and how much easier it is to find a qualified yoga teacher than a qualified tai chi teacher) but I think at this point it'd be easier to let what I've already mentioned being chewed on for a while and any further points could be answered to replies of this article.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2004
  2. BackFistMonkey

    BackFistMonkey Valued Member

    5 reasons why Yoga might not be a martial art

    also see my post on comparing apples and oranges and how in the proccess I found that grapefruit is the Better Martial Art and then find out why I posted it on the Food Network Forum .
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2004
  3. gt3

    gt3 Member

    I hope others who post to this thread actually take the time to read my post (and not just the offensive seeming title of it) and contribute something of value so that others, and myself, might learn something.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2004
  4. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    Without defining "better" this is somewhat interesting but utimately empty.

    Your suggestion that enlightenment is the answer and therefore yoga is the better option is somewhat dubious. My own research seems to suggest that enlightenment is something gained by the study of something, not from the act itself. As such someone has as much of a chance of gaining enlightenment through diligent study of Tai Chi as they do with yoga.

    So your concept of "better" really needs to be refined. What is the end game that you're using to compare against.

    BTW I do agree that from a simly health (as in I study for health) yoga makes more sense for some of the reasons you've listed. However I'm not willing to admit that Yoga in a broad sense is any better or worse than Tai Chi.

    - Matt
  5. gt3

    gt3 Member

    I could have just said this whole experiment is a "comparison" but seeing as how I was constantly pointing out how yoga seems to be superior in the comparisons i was making it seemed like I would only be saying that as to not offend anyone.

    I did say in the beginnin of the post that i didn't think yoga HAD to be better than taichi, only that from a typical way as to how its generally practiced by "non masters" (and again from my own observations)
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2004
  6. BackFistMonkey

    BackFistMonkey Valued Member

    I am sorry

    but if you think about it you say that
    in the Tai Chi thread ... on a martial arts forum ... I am sorry if I think that may be silly and respond in kind . Yoga is not a martial art . Unless you are talking about Warrior Yoga via Quantum Ju Jitsu ...

    Yoga is every you say it is and more while Tai Chi is everything you say it is and more also .. neither are meant to be compared ... and arent even close when it comes to their purpose except of course as general forms of motion and exercise ...but thats like saying the sword is meant to be used only as a form of excercise or that a baseball bat must be used as a weapon .

    Which is Better : Baseball , Cheese Cake ,Or Yoga ?

    nice post though I enjoyed the read and did read it before I posted the first time .

  7. gt3

    gt3 Member

    not everyone here practices tai chi as a martial art. I dont claim that yoga is a martial art. this is more a comparison of the health/philosophy principles. This comparison makes sense since taichi and yoga are the most popular "alternative" forms of health/relaxation/fitness. not to mention coinciding with taichi's principles of avoiding conflict.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2004
  8. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    But you're attempting to add up select comparisons and then arrive at a relative "better". It's a selective arguement that really can't be argued against.
    But that doesn't mean anything.

    It's easy to come up with arguments for or against anything. There are people who base whole careers on it. I just think in a case like this it's naval gazing that takes to long to get to the point (which is):

    "From an exclusively health perspective Yoga is a better option that Tai Chi." - That's really what your thesis is.

    "5 reasons why Yoga is better than Tai Chi." - Doesn't covey any of that.

    And you also didn't address some of the infighting within the Yoga community about different styles and executions of yoga. That does go on. So there is some selectivity to the points you use.

    - Matt
  9. gt3

    gt3 Member

    indeed, there are plenty of things i seemingly left out, however this isnt a thesis, its a web forum "rant". If i spent more than an hour on it i'd submit it as an article somewhere. I realized an hour into typing it that i could go on forever (because there really wasnt just one point, the points were growing exponentially) and i apologize for the manner it was sloppily put together. I probably shouldn't have just deleted it but i realized i was still making a lot of points that people might not have realized and thus might benefit from.

    anyway, I hope we can still make this thread about those points and not just about what i should have named the title!
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2004
  10. BackFistMonkey

    BackFistMonkey Valued Member

    Well ......

    I still dont think you can honestly compare the two .

    * shrugs *

    and thats that

    sorry to bust out the sarcasm .......
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2004
  11. gt3

    gt3 Member

    i think they can be compared on a non martial-art basis. We know there are many more millions practicing taichi only for health/spirituality than are for self defense
  12. MartialArtsSnob

    MartialArtsSnob New Member

    O.K. so what you are saying is:
    1) Tai Chi people are into violence, yoga people love the whole world. Tai Chi is responsible for conflict in the world (If you train it as it was intended); yoga people don’t cause conflict.
    2) Yin is better than Yang which means women are better than men are. The fact that this upsets me is proof.
    3) Peace begins with you, but only if you do yoga.
    4) Lazy Tai Chi people get fat because they don’t train enough, yoga people get up earlier and exercise their bodies properly. Prana through the Nadis is better than Chi through the Meridians because they stand on their heads. Tai Chi people need supplements, yoga is complete. Yoga people live to be 100, Tai Chi people die young.
    5) Yoga people are smiley and nice, Tai Chi people are mean.
    6) Yoga people get along, Tai Chi people are too ego driven not to hate each other.

    To sum it up:
    Yoga is older, open, and pacifist, Tai Chi is an infant by comparison, violent and secretive. Tai Chi is about hurting people and has little hope of teaching you the depth of understanding achieved through Yoga.

    O.K. do I have it all? Have I followed you so far?

    This is the sentence that I found most gripping:

    “I still believe that tai chi can and should evolve until we come to a place where theres less confusion about it”.

    This one made me laugh, I guess you could call it a self-evident truth.

    “….and how much easier it is to find a qualified yoga teacher than a qualified tai chi teacher”

    Keep looking and you might find one. I have always felt that good students and good teachers are naturally drawn to each other.

    On second thought…………….. you should stick to yoga.
  13. updownandsmile

    updownandsmile New Member

    personally i've done yoga and its great!! i love how it made me feel ... relax and calm ... hehe just not when i'm extremely tired and i fall asleep during the relaxation period ... newoo, i've been wanting to do tai chi ... when i was doing yoga i felt like i'm stretching my muscles and extending my mind to calmness ... love the pigeon & half-moon & downward facing dog poses ... unless ur doing that one type of yoga (i just had a brain fart ... 4got the name) where its like aerobics ... omg that is really strenuous!! there are many types of yoga ... but to me when i think of tai chi i imagine muscle strengthing more ... but don't take my word for it ... i haven't done it, yet, but hey if anyone has been thinking about yoga do it!! its an experience in itself =) **my yoga teacher even taught yoga to the lakers**
  14. Shadowdh

    Shadowdh Seeker of Knowledge

    Whatever you believe in bless you MAS... great post...
  15. gt3

    gt3 Member

    no MartialArtsSnob, that's not what i'm saying. That's what you're interpreting.

    I do however deserve any kinda comments, negative as they might be, simply because that is the nature of putting yourself out there and i'm fine with it, i'd just prefer if there was some tid bits of useful information in them
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2004
  16. MartialArtsSnob

    MartialArtsSnob New Member

    Great, here are some tid bits:

    1. Passive aggression is aggression.
    2. Another common theme among non-masters is THEY ARE NOT MASTERS!
    3. The fact that you see the principals of Tai Chi as “Unnatural” might stem from you inability to as yet distinguish what is natural.
  17. Matt_Bernius

    Matt_Bernius a student and a teacher

    Even rants should have a clearly stated thesis as their basis:

    1: an unproved statement put forward as a premise in an argument
    2: a treatise advancing a new point of view resulting from research

    If you're not happy with the "information" you are getting back it may be because you didn't state things clearly enough.

    Again, I agree with the overall idea that Yoga may, in most cases, be more effective than Tai Chi if we are only looking on the health axis.

    But your arguement goes beyond that. And it gets real shakey real fast.

    - Matt
  18. gt3

    gt3 Member

    i already agreed that it was shakey but was hoping one would extract the useful points from it and discard the rest. However, it's impossible for people (on web forums at least) not to find the bad in everything and then splay it all out on the table for everyone to focus on.
  19. nzric

    nzric on lookout for bad guys

    I have conclusive evidence that tennis is better than yoga!

    While yoga also uses sweatbands, it won't train you to hit tennis balls around the court. Baseball is better than yoga cause it teaches you to hit balls but because you use harder balls you won't be as good as hitting tennis balls as tennis players. Therefore, tennis is better!

    Apples and oranges mate.
  20. gt3

    gt3 Member

    I was hoping people would contribute some useful replies, adding how certain things in taiji are better than yoga, and why. or proving anything i said as incorrect or SOMETHING of value to teach me and others, not just these silly attacks on the silly title of the thread. What a waste of time. I guess thats not going to happen. can i delete this this thread?

Share This Page