5 reasons why Yoga might be better than Tai Chi

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

  1. gt3

    gt3 Member

    Interesting, but whose to say anything we do is "safe"? One second modern science/medicine says somethings good for you the next its bad (think jogging and eggs)

    I think there are far more people who are only benefiting from yoga than the instances you hear of people getting hurt by it. Ultimately, you have to listen to your body and stay as close to 'nature' as you can. What's the alternative, to just not do yoga or anything because it might be bad for you? I believe some (probably most) stuff in yoga is not only not harmful but actually good for you and it's more important to investigate and weed out any of the bad stuff. Constant refining. Same goes for taiji, qigong, or anything.
  2. gurugeorge

    gurugeorge Valued Member

    I agree that over time things will sort themselves out - but that's a bit of a Darwinian process, isn't it? Surely it would be better, and kinder, to know now things that are authentically traditional (i.e. that have already been through their Darwinian process!). I mean, the school of hard knocks is alright for tough, sceptical people, but there are lots of gentle, gullible fools wafting about too. :)
  3. daftyman

    daftyman A 4oz can of whoop-ass!

    You just try finding time when you have a full time job and you are trying to organise a wedding! only 5 days to go :eek: :love: (its all about priorities)

    I'd say its more fun to play with others! :p

    I like those last two points, although I can't do anything in my office.
  4. wutan

    wutan Valued Member

    I feel that basically you have submited a good post with lots of good comparisons.
    It is true as you seem to be aware that Tai Chi Chuan is a Chinese Martial Art although it is not practised this way by many nowadays.
    Tai Chi Chuan also has the nei gung aspect as part of its system (again not taught by many) which is working on internal organ strength as does Yoga (Yoke-Centre-To bring together).
    and in many ways can get you the same result.
    There were many Indian based martial arts whos practitioners also practised yoga as part of their system.
    In Tai Chi philosophy we have Yin and Yang and must practise both to give us a balanced art.
    In Yoga/Ayurvedic medicine we have Vata,Pitta and Kapha the three humors which again must be balanced to inorder to have good health and well being.

    To quote a famous Tai Chi Master-'One may get there with Yoga,or one may get there with Tai Chi.But what does one do when someone tries to push you off your Yoga mat?'


  5. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Firstly it’s not helpful to compare Tai Chi to Yoga.
    On what concrete criteria is this comparison made ?
    As many have pointed out, it’s an Apples Versus Oranges argument.
    But if you must let me go along with you a while.

    You said Yoga is better than TaiChi but Yoga can’t save one’s life in a fight.
    Is Yoga better in that case?

    Taichi has been widely recommended by Western medical professionals as part of management of arthritis .
    Not Yoga.

    ALL TaiChi movements are natural.
    Many Yoga poses require one to contort, twist and force oneself into uncomfortable poses .
    Infact some ( Bikram Yoga) require you to do this in 38 Celsius heat.
    Sometimes you stand on your head.
    Other times , put your leg on your head.
    How natural is that ?

    TaiChi promotes relaxed, CONTINUOUS coordinated movement.
    Most Yoga go from one static posture to another, often limbs twisted in ways that arteries/ veins are constricted
    You can’t tell me the blood circulation as good as in Tai Chi.

    To answer your question about why Tai Chi classics don’t mention Qigong.
    Well that’s because Tai Chi is Qigong.
    Tai Chi is moving meditation.

    Your comment about why u don’t find Tai Chi guys smiling as in Yoga, is strange.
    All the Tai Chi guys in my class are friendly and jovial.
    If they smile more ( as in your Yoga class) mebbe they had one sniff of the incense too much

    I’d agree with you that Yoga people care more about their appearance than Tai Chi people.
    May I offer a possible explanation?
    Tai Chi folks care less about their looks because they have learnt to let go and detach themselves.
    Non attachment is their spiritual goal.
    Didn’t you say Yogis were supposed to be more spiritual?

    You say “ Peace begins with you” .
    And that’s true.
    Someone also said “If you want peace , prepare for war. In war , prepare for peace”

    I cannot agree with your comments about Tai Chi and Taoism.
    One of the tenets of Taoism is the concept of non-action “Wu Wei”, which loosely interpreted means :
    ” Get the most output with the minimum of effort, and do it in a natural way”
    This is also a Tai Chi principle.
    Tai Chi is applied Taoism.

    I suspect you had a poor introduction to the Tai Chi or have been misguided by someone who misunderstood the art.

    If I might I’d claim 90% of the teachers in this world misunderstand Tai Chi and transmit this misunderstanding to their student.
    It gets worse as this corruption of knowledge is transmitted to the next generation.

    It is not possible to properly learn Tai Chi from a book, video or from some one who cannot use it in a fight.

    Many Tai Chi teachers say they don’t like to fight , and hence they don’t teach the (original) fighting aspects.
    The fact is they can’t and don’t know how to use Tai Chi in a fight. But still pretend to be Tai Chi Masters.
    They can do the movements. It may have health benefits. But it has doubtful martial value.

    But Tai Chi is not an easy art.
    The adage in Chinese Martial Arts is that it takes 10 years for one’s Tai Chi to come out.
    Meaning, it takes 10 years of study before one can use the full devastating power of Tai Chi.
    Tai Chi Chuan is called “ Grand Ultimate Fist” for a very good reason.
    Bagua , HsingI have shorter learning curves

    Also Tai Chi is probably the most peaceful of all martial styles. It’s strategy is predominantly evasive, non confrontational, and uses opponent’s energy.
    In fact it is difficult to use Tai Chi if an opponent didn’t strike first. Unlike Hsing I or most External styles tend to be very aggressive.

    When seeking a Tai Chi teacher I personally would :
    1.not learn from one who hasn’t learnt it for at least 10 years consistently.

    2.not learn from one who can’t demonstrate he can use Tai Chi to throw someone a considerable distance, or issue a Fajin strike

    3.not learn from one who has an obvious Ego problem or is hot tempered because it shows he has yet to “ conquer himself” therefore he has yet to master the true spirit of Tai Chi

    4.not learn from one who has substantial understanding of Tao Te Ching principles, because it means he has mastered the “form” but not the “spirit”

    5.strive to look for an old man/woman in their 60’s who can throw me effortlessly. It means they have definitely mastered it.

    I don’t disagree with you on the merits of Yoga, but only when you compare it to Tai Chi
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2004
  6. soggycat

    soggycat Valued Member

    Om ... om ... oh my aching back


    By Alice Dembner
    January 14 2003
    As millions of tightly wound Americans take up yoga in search of tranquillity, flexibility and health, more and more are limping out of the lotus position, yoga teachers and doctors say.
    Injury is becoming a significant part of yoga, particularly with the growing popularity of "power" yoga, a more athletic style in which participants move rapidly from one pose to another.

    "Yoga can be dangerous to some degree, especially for someone like me who doesn't know what they're doing," said Steve, who tore a thigh nerve during a particularly intense stretch. "While I've done all kinds of sports, I wasn't prepared. Everybody was doing these double flips and I tried to keep up."
    Sports doctors, chiropractors and physiotherapists say the surge in muscle and ligament sprains and disc injuries is similar to the wave they saw when the high-impact aerobics popularised by the actress Jane Fonda was nearing its height in the 1980s.
    The growth in injuries is partly due to yoga's soaring popularity. Estimates of the number of Americans practising yoga range from 9.7 million to 18 million, with many taking it up to help with existing injuries.

    Yoga is low impact, but that doesn't mean no impact," said Dr Nicholas DiNubile, spokesman for the American Orthopedic Society for Sports Medicine.
    Teachers and doctors say much of the blame rests with participants treating yoga like a competition, in what some say is the antithesis of the true spirit of yoga.
    Others say that demand has opened the door to poorly trained or aggressive teachers. While there is no licensing or official certification of yoga instructors, a group of longtime yoga teachers has formed the Yoga Alliance to promote a minimum of at least 200 hours of training for any instructor.
    But some instructors see pain and mild injury as a means to greater flexibility or "openness", a philosophy espoused by some yogis and challenged by others as a rationalisation.
    The Boston Globe

    FATSAN Valued Member

    Maybe it would have been better to compare yoga with chi kung exercises. As i understand it chi kung exercises are for the sole benifit of promoting health in the same way that yoga is and therefore would make a better comparison.

    Although in the west we normally only encounter chi kung practice with tai chi; i believe that in china these exercises exist outside of martial training and are practised for the same reasons that people in india practice yoga.

    If you did not want to compare chi kung and yoga; I believe your original post could still be valid if you changed the title to something more along the lines of: If you train tai chi only for health; 6 reasons why yoga might be better.

    Just my thoughts :)
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2004
  8. gt3

    gt3 Member

    holy crap i can't believe i ever thought this way. Was just glancing through old threads i started and i'm really seeing how much i've changed. What a difference a year makes :/

    I don't really see much of a difference between taichi and yoga anymore and they can be of equal value when it comes to mental/physical/spiritual growth, when approached properly (with taichi of course having the added self-defense skills).

    I've still been practicing both since i've started this thread. Yoga in the morning and taichi in the evening, good times :D
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2005
  9. Kalamondin

    Kalamondin Valued Member

    I know what you mean about a year making a huge difference...but that's what practicing transformative arts like yoga and tai chi will do for you, eh? I've only dabbled in yoga in the past, so I'll stick to saying why I like tai chi so much.

    I understand you've changed from last year, so if you like, you can consider that I'm writing to some hypothetical person who isn't you, and adding my two cents to answering the original question.

    I've never considered that tai chi is NOT a transformative, spiritual, philosophical tradition (in addition to health and MA). I believe it is. Nor do I consider it a violent art. (Reader: "What?!? It's a martial art!!" Me: Wait a minute, keep reading.) They say there are many paths to Enlightenment and that there is no One True Way. Each person's path is their own, but I do believe that Yoga and Tai Chi can both be practiced spiritually, if that's the intent. Practicing tai chi doesn't mean it can only be martial or only be for health or only this or that.

    Let me say clearly, I am training for martial mastery, self-mastery, health, and as a spiritual discipline. I'm not very far along those paths, but the farther I go, the more I realize that (for me) they are inseparable.

    Violence: There's no denying that each and every movement in the form has a martial application, and most of them are quite nasty. Invidual people can be quite violent and lack the self control to keep from unnecessary violence. Tai chi, practiced in the earlier stages under certain teachers can look like a violent, competetive, aggressive, hard-style martial art. Really early on someone can learn an application and use it in a "hard" way (brute force) without knowing how to be song (relaxed) and combine hard with soft.

    But the better skilled the practitioners are, the less injuries occur among training partners because all are able to listen effectively, stick, and follow to prevent injury even at high speeds. It's possible to be really fast, try for the hard shoves and pull-downs, and still be really gentle when the level is high enough that neither party has the advantage and both can stop on a dime.

    Push hands is only dangerous when the ego stuff gets in the way. But tai chi, like Buddhist philosophy, invites non-attachment with the adage, "Invest in loss." That giving up the ego and the intense need to win allows the development and understanding necessary to do so. It's a paradox. I'd argue that by the time one is good enough to wipe the floor with someone using correct tai chi principles, on no longer wants to.

    I started out as one of those martial artists with a relatively paranoid view of the world...stuff happened to me, it seemed reasonable. But my current understanding is that like attracts like: what you fear most tends to come to you. If one is afraid of violence or carrying a chip on their shoulder, it really shows and others like them tend to show up. So I started training push hands not because I thought it would make me able to defend myself right away but because I wanted to learn to control fear. In this sense, the study of martial arts can be a way of healing and a path for growth. Since training push hands I've become less fearful and less violent, even though my repertoire of nasty violent tricks has increased.

    My greatest opponent is myself. When I come up against someone I can't handle it's generally because they manage to psych me out, put me off my center before things even get started. So tai chi teaches me how to be calm under duress--this is why I prefer it to meditation alone. I love the solo form and all forms of meditation--but the practical application of staying calm or in a meditative state while someone else is trying to knock me over is why I like it. Meditation can help bring balance when a crisis is past--but to operate in a meditative state DURING crisis? Can you imagine how cool that would be? :)

    Still workin' on it...
  10. slomojo

    slomojo New Member

    I just finished law school, and this is exactly the reason I do tai chi. When I am arguing a point and I manage to stay in the center I find when doing tai chi, I pretty much just don't lose the argument. If I allow someone to push me off that center, then I lose rather easily. I find I employ immensely different tactics when arguing from a meditative state rather than a combative state. In the first, nobody gets their feelings hurt and I win. I am much more empathetic, command more respect, and generally am able to find a solution that works for everybody. In the second, I hurt their feelings and I lose. I get agitated, don't command respect, and don't clearly see easy solutions. For me the martial aspect is barely a side benefit. In negotiations and arguments, tai chi kicks some serious ass. The push hands part of tai chi is particularly relevant to the art of negotiation, and every argument can be turned into a negotiation with the right frame of mind.
  11. Kalamondin

    Kalamondin Valued Member


    Yeah, isn't it neat! I absolutely favor negotiation and mutual benefit, but absolutely cannot do it well if I've lost my center. My teacher has actually indicated that his standard for a good push hands bout with someone who won't take no for an answer is to engineer an outcome where no one loses and no one wins.

    In my mind, it's a mark of true skill to be able to maintain your center so well while under attack that you can gauge the dynamics of a fight well enough so that no one loses and no one wins. I am so in awe of that... I think at that level the self has ceased to be an enemy...so it's not necessary to regard one's opponent as an enemy either and that helps maintain balance.

    One time I successfully maintained my center with a visitor while my peers got angry. Another time, an aggressive beginner wiped the floor with me while other beginning students handled him just fine...and all because I lost my center.
  12. BackFistMonkey

    BackFistMonkey Valued Member

    Reading back over it

    I havent changed that much .......
  13. Durkhrod Chogori

    Durkhrod Chogori Valued Member

    Yes, they need a refresher and read a bit more about Hinduism (Vedas and Upanishads) and Buddhism.


    Which Yoga?

    Hatha, Pranayama, Kundalini, Kriya, Bhakti, Jhana, Mantra, Nada, Pashupata, Purna, Raja, Samadhi, Siddha, Shadanga...Which one???

    Yoga is spiritual in essence, and so it was Taiji but this practice evolved into a martial art and today more as a health practice.

  14. FluidSound

    FluidSound New Member

    While you have some good points, I find some misconceptions in what you say.

    1. The roots of Tai Ji are irrelevant in a sense. Yes, it was originally purposed as a way to defeat your opponent, however, the art it's self does so by not fighting. Even during a fight, Tai Ji does not attack the opponent, but finds the best way to defeat the opponent by allowing him to defeat himself. You waste no real energy and at the same time, you just divert them. You learn to defeat others, but just like Yoga, you learn to defeat yourself as well most of the form involves learning to relax. By learning to relax, you learn to defeat your anger, anxiety, etc... Yoga does the same as well.

    2. I find this to be a bit of a stereotype. Also, in Tai Ji Quan, you're suppose to become a balance between "Yin" and "Yang". Usually, men tend to try and become "Yin". Of course, that is a generalization as well. Agression is quite the opposite of what you must learn in Tai Ji Quan.

    3. Tai Ji does not solve problems by defeating the opponent through violence. Humans do. This world does contain violence in it. If the opponent strikes, you let him. Then, you allow him to hurt himself. However, if violence is not necessary, it shouldn't be used. Words are strong as well and this is not tossed aside due to Tai Ji. This is tossed aside due to people.

    4. There has been evidence that both have their benefits. Both Yoga and Tai ji have different benefits. Both sides have benefits that each may or may not have. I'm not quite sure about Yoga's benefits to be honest, but I know the benefits for Tai Ji Quan.

    Organ Health (There are exercises for organs)
    Increased Focus
    Leg strength
    Martial Application
    Good Cardio (If you practice properly and do the shadow boxing especially)
    Healthy Lifestyle
    Improved Breathing
    Improved patience

    Among others I'm sure.

    5. I think this is a bit unfair. Tai Ji Quan is an incomplete art without both the martial AND philosophical/health benefits. Without the martial application, you're just doing Qi Gong. Without the health benefits, you're wasting energy and probably never learning the true meaning behind the art. It is said that Tai Ji Quan is a Daoist martial art. In a sense, that is true. However, many do not understand the concept of the Dao and think too solidly of it.

    For example, balance is never absolute. It's like a wave that travels back and forth. However, most would think that absolute balance is the constant. And this may be an acception, but my Tai Ji Quan instructor always tells me to smile while I do the form. Not to mention that (though I have met few) most of the real instructors I have met are rather silly and a bit childish. (In a good way. At least, I think so.)

    6. It's rare to find a real Tai Ji Quan instructor. Or one that's even half decent. Either way, I don't care about the whole hippy crap. I just wish to become better at what I enjoy.

    Ah, one last thing. Tai Ji Quan is also spiritual and a travel for enlightenment as well. Of course, this is up to the student and many are arrogant at times to find meaning behind the Dao's existence. Making unclear claims without considering the opinions of others and using fancy words.
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2014
  15. philosoraptor

    philosoraptor carnivore in a top hat Supporter


    Thread is now for your favorite MTG cards.
  16. dormindo

    dormindo Active Member Supporter

    Wow, nearly ten years--that has to be a record!
  17. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    I was saving my response to the original post until 2025, but it looks like someone beat me to it. Bah!
  18. FluidSound

    FluidSound New Member

    *Shrugs* Not everything is perfect in the world. I know you may not get to read this, but I say that as a practitioner of Tai Ji. People make mistakes in the past, but life moves on and we learn from them.
  19. ellacooper

    ellacooper Banned Banned

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  20. capricornus

    capricornus New Member

    I would like to leave this note on this forum: in yoga, the ancient goal was to relink the human mind with the "heavens". yug and lig have the same source, hence the word religion. In hatha yoga, a healthy body supported the mind and the meditation.
    In well thaught QI Gong, the healthy body supports the mind too, with attention for Wu Chi, opening the mind for the open and empty circle (hence without Yin and Yang).
    In essence, what is the real difference? Both stance and movement are a way, a path.

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