Comparison Of Yoga and Qigong
Although Yoga and Qigong have common goals, there are fundamental differences. In Yoga and Qigong, the body and mind are disciplined where channels and meridians can be opened and cleared to bring about the potential for higher consciousness. Both involve concentration, breath, and often physical movement. An enlightened perspective does not place one practice as superior to another, yet clearly, each system of spiritual practice provides a different focus and orientation.
The essential difference in Qigong practice from other Yogic practices is the focused cultivation and circulation of Qi and the specific training that occurs in directing Qi with the mind along the meridians. Although Qi (Chinese Term For Life Force) and Prana (Yogic Term For Life Force) may be equated as similar terms, Prana is typically not taught to be stored and also consciously directed throughout the body and meridians in most Yogic practices. Granted, many Yogic practices would likely overlap in similarity with Qigong practices in terms of concentration at key energy channels and circulation of energy or Qi, yet a given Yogic system is not entirely dedicated to the same purpose as Qigong.
With Qigong, there is a conscious focus on the meridians of the body and moving Qi along these meridians and touching upon key meridian points. Additionally there is a conscious cultivation of drawing in Qi from the “Earth” (Yin) & “Heaven” (Yang) and consciously moving and balancing this pair of opposite forces throughout the body and mind.
Also unique to Qigong practices is the science of drawing Qi from the forces of nature into our body for health and spiritual growth; such as drawing Qi from; the ground, the trees, the wind, the mountains, the sun, etc. After Qi is gathered, a strong emphasis in Qigong is in storing the gathered Qi in the lower Dan Tien (area below the navel) to develop a strong life force. A reservoir of Qi is thus built up through continual Qigong practice and it is stored in this area below the navel, which is not typically found in Yogic practice. Although the Yogic “Hara” point is a comparable location to the Dan Tien, again the focus and storing of Qi at this point is primary to Qigong practice.
In Qigong practices, Qi that is stored in the lower Dan Tien can then be circulated throughout the body or directed where the body requires it. This includes drawing Qi into the bones and marrow, the skin, the internal organs, the central channel and meridians, energy centers, and all other areas of the body. These techniques of drawing in Qi and directing Qi throughout the body are common practices in Qigong. Again, this ability occurs through the training of directing the mind to lead the Qi and as stated, this technology is distinctive to the practice of Qigong. Ultimately, through the cultivation of Qi, one can learn to consciously direct Qi toward the expansion of their Spirit and experience an awakening in higher consciousness.
Why choose Qigong practice? Though ultimate results reflect similar objectives with Yogic practices, practitioners of Qigong have found the ability to consciously draw in and direct Qi at anytime to be highly empowering. Having the capacity to apply Qigong technology throughout the day or night, standing or sitting, where you can heal and elevate the self and/or others is a unique talent that Qigong can offer. Through a refined training of Qigong, one can develop a strong relationship with their Qi field where they can become aware of and clear blockages within themselves consciously. Through Qigong practice, a person can thus learn to consciously clear their energy channels and to consciously open their meridians and meridian points and raise their consciousness through their skill in guiding the flow of Qi at will!