16 Reasons Qigong Will Be Bigger Than Yoga in 16 Years

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“Maybe if I spell it differently,” I thought. “Maybe that will attract more people to my qigong classes!”

Qi Gong. Chi Kung. Chi Gong. Qigong.

I tried different spellings on different brochures.

I quickly learned that the spelling wasn’t the problem.

The problem was that Americans had never heard of such a thing as qigong.

I considered using the words “tai chi” instead. After all, there’s a ton of overlap between the two arts. And of course I also practice tai chi.

But the qigong that I teach is significantly different than the tai chi that is commonly practiced. I wanted to differentiate between the two, so I continued to use the word “qigong”.

Zoom ahead 12 years into my teaching career, and the world has changed.

Today, the word qigong — however you choose to spell it — is much more widely recognized.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that it’s widely recognized.

Most Americans still haven’t heard of it. But awareness is growing, and that’s a wonderful thing.

(Note: if you are new to qigong, then I recommend you read my article: The 15 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Qigong )

Change takes time. It took time for yoga to become the billion-dollar, global industry that it is today.

But I believe that if you give qigong a little time, it will be huge.

In fact, I think qigong will be bigger than yoga one day. Here’s why:

1. Qigong is easier than yoga.

Pushing Mountains, from the 18 Luohan Hands

Pushing Mountains, from the 18 Luohan Hands

Qigong is accessible to absolutely everyone. I’ve taught extreme athletes, and extreme couch potatoes. I’ve taught 20-somethings and 80-somethings. I’ve taught disabled veterans and marathoners (and also disabled marathoners).

For example, the picture above shows the exercise called Pushing Mountains, which involves gently moving your palms back and forth in a flowing manner, and coordinating your breath with the movement.

Anyone can do this exercise. It can be done sitting, it can be done in a wheelchair, and it can even be done with one arm.

There is only 1 prerequisite for success with qigong: a strong desire to practice for 15 minutes a day (or more).

I probably don’t need the rest of this list. This reason is enough to explain why qigong will explode in popularity.

2. Qigong is easier than tai chi.

There are many reasons why the art of tai chi didn’t see the same boom as yoga, despite it being practiced in the US for over 50 years.

In my experience, the biggest reason is this: people are intimidated by tai chi.

I can’t tell you how many students have come to me over the years telling me that they previously tried tai chi, but found it confusing, frustrating, and stressful.

With qigong, you don’t need to memorize long, complex routines. Nor do you need to worry about the martial aspects of the art.

Qigong allows you to dive immediately into the meditative and energetic aspects of the art, which is also what brings you quick results.

Click here to get a free taste of what I’m talking about.

3. Qigong is challenging. 


A challenging qigong pattern called “Swallow Flying through Clouds”

Although some qigong exercises are physically easy, other exercises are incredibly challenging — both physically and mentally.

Because there are so many different qigong techniques, it’s easy to raise the difficulty level for those who are ready.

Just as there are techniques that are appropriate for those who are ill or out of shape, there are also techniques that even an olympic athlete would find challenging.

And this is wonderful because it means that the art of qigong can grow with us.

4. Qigong is medicine.

Yes, yoga can be medicine. And so can walking. And so can laughter.

But qigong is unique in that it was actually engineered to be medicine.

(Note: Not all styles of qigong were designed to be medicine. For example, Iron Shirt Qigong is not meant to be medicine, although it can have therapeutic effects.)

Qigong is a branch of Traditional Chinese Medicine, along with acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine.

In China, you can find qigong in the hospitals. In fact, in some hospitals there’s an entire qigong wing!

5. Qigong is complementary.

If you see an acupuncturist in the United States, you will often be prescribed both herbs and acupuncture.

This is because the two forms of medicine compliment each other well.

Perhaps the main reason why qigong is so complementary is because you can take it home and use it safely on your own — something that isn’t possible with most forms of medicine.

Over the years, I have collaborated with acupuncturists, massage therapists, chiropractors, psychologists, MDs, reiki healers, osteopaths, and nutritionists.

I have seen with my own eyes how qigong can greatly complement other forms of healing.

6. Qigong is empowering.

Yoga is empowering too. But unlike yoga, Qigong doesn’t require physical strength or flexibility.

In fact, too much physical strength can be a hindrance with qigong. Body builders, for example, often struggle to relax the muscles and let go of deeper layers of tension.

An art that doesn’t need brawn for success is empowering to women, to the physically unfit, to the disabled, to children, and to smaller-sized men like myself.

7. The world is ready for mindfulness.


Mindfulness and meditation have been on the cover of Time Magazine several times.

Even major corporations are talking about mindfulness these days.

The world is falling in love with mindfulness, and this is a beautiful thing.

Wait —  didn’t you know that qigong is a traditional form of mindfulness meditation?

It is.

If you’d like to learn more about the connection between qigong and mindfulness, then read my article: 5 Things You Should Know About the Mindfulness Craze

8. Qigong is fun.

I imagine that yoga is fun for many people. I prefer qigong, and so do many of my students.

Let’s call this one a tie.

9. Qigong is accessible.

Compared to other arts, you actually need very little training to start getting remarkable results with qigong.

This is because qigong emphasizes internal aspects like mindfulness, breath, and energy flow rather than physical postures and alignment.

I can train a fresh beginner to start getting amazing results in just 3 hours.

In fact, I’ve watched many students continue to practice on their own and get all sorts of wonderful health benefits after only 3 hours of training.

You can even start getting results with just 10 minutes of instruction! Click here to get instant access to a free online qigong course.

10. Qigong flows.

With yoga, you don’t usually take a single exercise and do it 20 times in a row.

With qigong, this is the norm.

Repeating a simple, flowing exercise like Gathering Qi from the Cosmos 20 times in a row allows you to forget about the form, and instead focus on the internal aspects.

This creates a wonderfully enjoyable flow when practicing qigong.

11. People are learning Chinese. 

This reason is probably unexpected, but I think it is significant.

The world is changing, and the East is becoming a powerhouse, especially China.

People are learning Chinese in order to do business with China.

If you can speak and read traditional Chinese, then you can make the leap to classical Chinese easily.

As Westerners learn to speak and read Chinese, the qigong and tai chi classics will become better studied and translated.

This will only serve to strengthen the art of qigong.

I think it’s only a matter of time before we start seeing pop psych books about applying the Qigong and Tai Chi classics to business and relationships!

12. It’s all about the qi.

There is a growing awareness about acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and feng shui.

In all of these arts, qi is the star.

Although the concept of qi is historically Chinese, it is a phenomenon that transcends culture. It’s all qi — whether you call it qi, or prana, or vital energy.

I believe that, in the 21st century, humans will start to see that it’s all about the qi.

And once they do, it’s natural for them to become interested in the ancient art of cultivating the qi — qigong!

13. Tai chi is empty without qigong.

Although tai chi is more widely known in the US, it is often devoid of real qi cultivation. This is unfortunate.

Tai chi is a martial art that should have the concept of qi as a central training tool.

Many people practice only the external, physical aspects of tai chi, and these people are becoming increasingly interested in qigong to supplement their tai chi training.

14. Qigong is spiritual.

Both qigong and yoga can be used to cultivate spirituality regardless of your religious background.

In fact, I’ve taught religious leaders from all of the major world traditions — and none of them had any issues with practicing qigong.

Qigong gives us a wonderful and practical way to work on spirituality.

It allows us to heal not just our body, not just our mind, and not even just our spirit — but rather the combination of all three.

Qigong is all about unifying mind, body, and spirit, not separating them.

For example, some stubborn medical ailments will actually required that you practice exercises that work on mental/emotional/spiritual blockages.

15. Qigong supercharges sitting meditation.


Legend has it that Bodhidharma arrived at the Shaolin Temple only to find that the monks were sick, weak, and unable to go deeply into their sitting meditation.

To solve the problem, he taught them qigong.

And it worked. The Shaolin Monks turned into some of the best meditators in history, not to mention some of the best kung fu masters.

In my experience, the same phenomenon is happening today. People are practicing sitting meditation, but not reaping the rewards that they deserve.

Simply adding a daily qigong practice can supercharge your meditation, just like it did for the Shaolin Monks 1500 years ago.

16. Qigong is a quicker path to healing.

More than ever, people are looking for fast and effective forms of healing.

Many of these people end up finding qigong — even if they had previously practiced yoga for many years.

Because it is designed as a form of medicine, qigong can be a faster path to getting the results that you want.

If you get good instruction and then practice for 15-minutes per day, you will see good results within weeks, if not days.

And if you practice 15 minutes twice daily, then you’ll see truly remarkable results!


There you have it. That’s why I believe that qigong will be bigger than yoga in 10-20 years.

What do you think? Did I miss any reasons? Do you agree or disagree with my argument?

As always, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

And remember, if you have friends or family who would like a taste of qigong, then please share my free online course with them. 

Mindfully yours,
Sifu Anthony

I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world to use qigong for their own stubborn health issues. I teach online courses, and also lead in-person retreats and workshops.

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67 Responses to 16 Reasons Qigong Will Be Bigger Than Yoga in 16 Years

  1. Dee (Dominic) Kwan August 23, 2016 at 9:11 pm #

    Why16 years? Why not sooner? Just curious. Dee

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 23, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

      16 years is just a guess. Yoga is huge, and still growing. I think it will take time for qigong to catch up.

    • Pam Hellens October 17, 2016 at 9:50 pm #

      Why … because id history is anything to go by ChiGong is around about where yoga was in the early seventies. It wasn’t until the 80’s that yoga really started to take off

  2. Ettaline August 24, 2016 at 4:02 am #

    One of my colleagues has a student who is 100 years old. Several are in their 90’s, the youngest in this particular class is in their late 70’s. They are relatively new to qigong and, because qigong is so accessible, they are able to do the movements. It works so well for them and is enriching their lives.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 24, 2016 at 9:06 am #

      Yes, qigong is great for nonagenarians and centenarians!

      • Karen Redfern August 24, 2016 at 9:44 am #

        It’s also the job you can never be too old for… Now there is a challenge for us Ettaline to be still teaching when we are in our 90s!
        Love the article, kind words for us Qigong teachers inspiring us to just hang on in there 😉

  3. David Whitham August 24, 2016 at 4:25 am #

    Sifu Anthony, I have to totally agree with what you say, I’m not one for blowing other people’s trumpets but you have a great insight..I am a Yoga instructor and I have always felt this conflict between Yoga and Qigong especially accessibility for all types of people and the internal workings especially when it comes to the breathing.

    Yoga breathing conflicts with Qigong breathing and whilst I practice both and teach both the way we breath I feel of utmost importance.Teaching students to breath naturally can only be taught with Qigong and not Yoga. People always hold their breath naturally anyway and Yoga practice does tend to compound this.

    I have practiced many arts over the years and have found many crossovers from one to another (Pick the good discarding the bad) but have always had this conflict with Qigong and Yoga because of the breathing and lesser but importantly the accessibility to the masses in learning Yoga and people believing it is too difficult and thus excludes them before they try to learn. Yoga will for me will always have a place but Qigong will progress and appeal more to the masses in the future with it’s ability to produce results with minimum amount of effort ratio to quick results.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 24, 2016 at 9:06 am #

      Thanks for the insights, David.

      I’m not sure that al yoga breathing conflicts with qigong breathing. There are many varieties of both.

      I think as you learn more qigong and gain confidence, you’ll find a way to “make peace” between the two arts. I have lots of students who already did yoga and simply added qigong to their repertoire of arts.

  4. Terence August 24, 2016 at 8:10 am #

    I’ve practiced both for about 18 years now, following martial arts injury.

    There’s actually very little genuine yoga around, the only style worth mentioning is the Iyengar method which represents a small section of the ‘market.’

    Yoga is going to face a lot of problems in upcoming years, for the simple reasons that most of the teachers have done a one month crash course, which requires no pre requisite and guarantees a certificate.
    As a result injuries in yoga, in both mind and body, are steadily on the increase.
    Yoga studios are offering the one month teacher training crash course, as it makes good money. However they are shooting themselves in the foot, as the market is now flooded with inept teachers seeking employment, and the art is becoming degraded.

    In Iyengar yoga, the basic level teachers have at least done at least 5 years practice and then go through a 2 year course. Its not a guaranteed pass, and much higher levels of teaching, eg yoga therapy(which comes from Iyengar yoga) can take decades to achieve.

    Sorry if what I’m about to say sounds offensive. The main market in modern yoga, are white middle class females, who wish to lose weight and de stress. The physical aspect usually being much more important. (Have a look through any yoga magazine.) Some ‘gurus’ have recognized this and capitalized from it. For example, the founder of hot yoga who now faces charges for sexual assault.
    So for any real holistic practice to overtake this, it’s going to have to appeal to that mass market, and hopefully in a much more positive and ethical way.

    If genuine yoga and/or genuine Quigong rises to the surface and overtakes the nonsense out there, this would be probably one of the most positive changes in human history. Hopefully one day.

    Looking through your points, I don’t feel you’ve done much yoga. No disrespect, but some of your points are incorrect. Yoga doesn’t require flexibility or physical strength. I’ve seen cancer patients practice Iyengar yoga, as well as the old and infirm. There are asanas(the physical poses in yoga) that can be performed and modified for anyone, under the correct guidance of a teacher.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 24, 2016 at 8:56 am #

      Hi Terence. No disrespect taken! You’re right that I haven’t done much yoga, at least not by my own qigong standards. I’ve dabbled in yoga for about 25 years.

      And of course you’re also right that cancer patients can practice yoga. I still think that qigong is a better option for them though.

      As for the obstacles that yoga will face, I think that you may be right. On the other hand, the qigong world faces a lot of obstacles as well. I’ll write more about those later, but I think you’ll agree with me that 1) insufficient teacher training, and 2) bickering among teachers (also known as Horizontal Hostility) are two big problems.

      • Steve August 24, 2016 at 10:42 am #

        Sifu Anthony,
        I did yoga daily for 32 years as part of the Transcendental Meditation program until one day as a result of yoga my top vertebrae, the atlas, went out of place and this caused temporary high blood pressure until a chiropractor made an adjustment. From that day forward 10 years ago, I have only done qigong and not yoga. With qigong I look forward to doing it, I am compelled to do it because I love it. With yoga I had to force myself to do it because it felt like exercise. Whereas qigong feels like joy.

      • Terence August 24, 2016 at 11:06 am #

        I definitely agree with those two points.

        Should also add, I’m always recommending Quigong to yoga practitioners. I’ve ‘cross trained’ for years and realize that its sometimes best to just immerse in one art for a length of time; but saying that in my personal practice there are somethings that Quigong can do, that yoga can’t and vice versa.

        Do try the Iyengar method if you can. So useful for martial artists. 😉

  5. alex August 24, 2016 at 8:29 am #

    I most likely think vipassana will the thing, because qigong does not enter the soul as vipassana does…. from my experience…. qi-gong did not help me get rid of psychosomatic cycles… just made them worse…. after vipassana life has changed. Qigong is the surface…

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 24, 2016 at 9:16 am #

      Hi Alex. I’m glad you had so much success with “vipassana”.

      You may be surprised to hear that qigong includes forms of meditation that are essentially the same as vipassana meditation.

      I practice sitting meditation every day.

      So while I agree with you that deep sitting meditation is powerful, I don’t think it’s fair to say that qigong is just the surface. It sounds like you didn’t go deeply enough into qigong.

      The way I teach qigong is to use the dynamic movements as a path to stillness. So sitting meditation, which we call zuochan (zazen) and what you might call vipassana, is simply a more advanced skill. You can see how I arrange the curriculum here: http://flowingzen.com/17304/the-12-ways-of-cultivating-qi/

      • Steve August 24, 2016 at 10:56 am #

        Sifu Anthony,
        When you state that qigong can supercharge your meditation I want people to know that this is not exaggerate hype. After 37 years of daily Transcendental Meditation the method for unknown reasons just stopped taking me beneath the surface level of the mind. I no longer could reach my previous levels of deep relaxation. This continued for 5 years until one day last year I started to do my meditation immediately following my qigong practice. My meditation then was restored to its previous effectiveness of providing very deep levels of relaxation, in fact, the meditation seemed to go even deeper than ever by the addition of qigong. For this and other experiences from qigong, I consider qigong to be the most effective healing tool that I have tried. I have been working with subtle energy healing for the past 43 years.

  6. Watson (Caerananda) Ingley August 24, 2016 at 8:37 am #

    Nehomah (?) Sifu,
    Wheras I agree with you, I think some caveats need to be added to the generalisations you have listed.
    Firstly, not all Sifu are the same.
    I have known Tai Qi ‘Masters’ who have taught Tai Qi like Karate and others that have taught Karate like Tai Qi. The Sifu’s agenda and personality plays a huge role. For example the difference between accepting, philosophical and Higher-Self-Oriented Mr Miyagi and the brutal, bullying, winning-obsessed and Lower-Self-Oriented karateka from The Karate Kid (1).
    Secondly, there is deep conceptual evolution/change coming for humanity.
    One that sees traditional conceptual constructions built around simplistic binary oppositionalities transcended and reconceptualised into continua the are mutually inclussive (of both polar extremes) rather than mutually exclussive. The way this will show itself is in the importance of moves and postures that are simultaneously Yin and Yang as part of fluid and unlimited unities. In other words, the Yin (Soft) aspect/s of any one move will be as important as the Yang (Hard) aspect. Moves that lack Yin moves will have to evolve or run the risk of becoming increasingly anachronistic. What I understand as a “Yiquan Crunch”, done while sitting in a chair, is a wonderful example of this.
    Further, singularly Yang moves – such as “Hard/Yang” punches and kicks, it is my understanding, actually disipate one’s Qi stores, thereby promoting chronic illnesses and dis-eases. In order to reballance themselves more than one karateka/boxer/MMA fighter will necessarilly have to adopt Tai Qi &/or Yoga &/or Aikido &/or Southern Seven Star Praying Mantis.
    Seriously unbalanced Yang training regimen – such as those imposed upon American Football / Grid Iron practitioners/players, destroy men physically and psychologically; and, in the case of Grid Iron, result in one-in-three (and probably more) men suffering severe brain damage.
    Thirdly, not all energy systems and motivations are the same.
    Just as Qigong (depending on how it is taught and practiced) and the Internal Arts promote the flow and balancing of qi through the meridians and channels; and, the harmonising of Shen and Ko Systems, Yoga (again depending on the specific school one belongs to) opens one to flowering of Shakti (Cosmick) &/or Kundalini energies through the Chakra and Nadi Systems, with the specific aim of expanding one’s Consciousness into a state of transcendant unity, &/or removing one’s self from the potentially infinite Wheel of Rebirth and Reincarnation (Suffering).
    I aplogise if I have written anything that is offensive in any way.
    Kind regards,
    Watson (Caerananda) Ingley

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 24, 2016 at 9:12 am #

      Hi Watson. No worries, and no offense taken.

      Did you mean to write “ni hao ma?” If so, I’m fine, thank you.

      I agree that not all Sifus are the same. The subject of teacher training is a big one, and I plan to write more about it in the near future.

      Taking the good from traditional arts, while discarding the bad, is something I’m passionate about, and something I will continue to write about.

      In the end, qigong is rooted in Traditional Chinese Medicine, which is well established and yet also modern.

      Arts that teach karate under the guise of qigong won’t last as the public becomes more educated about the principles and history. That’s my belief.

      • Dee (Dominic) Kwan August 24, 2016 at 10:32 am #

        Sifu, Nehomah (Nayhomah) is the Cantonese pronunciation of Ni hao ma which is mandarin. I speak both.

        Sifu, I wish your teaching prosper. The week before I joined your course, I started
        doing “small universe” from a popular course I bought online (I would not mention the teacher’s name). I felt enormous stagnation and discomforts from doing it.

        Then I googled to see if there were others who had the same experience. I was very fortunate to find you and read your advice against teaching total newbies “small universe”.

        My point is we need good teachers like you to practice this great art properly. False and careless teachers would impede its forward progress of reaching a wide audience.


        • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 24, 2016 at 10:34 am #

          Thank you, Dee. My Cantonese “pinyin” is terrible. It’s good to have help from someone who knows both!

          And thank you for the kind words. I’m committed to teaching, and I’m committed to helping people like you get the remarkable results that they deserve!

  7. Anitra August 24, 2016 at 10:03 am #

    Hi Sifu Anthony, I’ve been learning from you for a while and just wanted to say thank you, and I agree qigong is on the rise, and rightly so. I used to practice yoga and haven’t been able to get back into it since I had my son five years ago. I just need something easier and more rejuvenating. I’m really enjoying my near-daily practice. I happen to be reading the book “Flow” by M. Czikszentmihalyi and it dovetails nicely with my practice. Wonder if you have checked it out? Thanks again Sifu.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 24, 2016 at 10:21 am #

      Thanks for the kind words and the insights, Anitra!

      Yes, I’ve read “Flow”. Great book. Thanks for the reminder. I’m going to read it again!

  8. Steve August 24, 2016 at 11:32 am #

    Americans are pragmatic, we want to see results from whatever we do. I can state that it would be hard not to notice the impact from doing qigong daily. A few years back I had a bad virus causing flu like symptoms that my doctor had no treatment for other than bed rest.
    I called the headquarters of the qigong method that I was doing at the time and I was told to do the qigong method for several hours that day and then my illness would be cured the next day. So I did the qigong routine for a total of 3.5 hours. The next day I woke up and felt 95 percent healed. My fever was gone. I had so much energy that I went outside after a snow storm to shovel out my car in an attempt to go back to work since I felt great. Another benefit is that due my current living situation I have to stay awake till 2am. So by 11pm when I usually do my evening qigong session I am pooped. But after I do the qigong I no longer feel that tiredness and I can enjoy the remaining few hours of the night without the previous fatigue.
    I offer these comments in case readers should think that these 16 reasons for qigong is just one more clever marketing ploy to promote someone’s brand of qigong.
    I find from my experience that Sifu Anthony is actually educating people about the benefits of qigong in order to promote this healing art to the level that it deserves to be at in any society or nation. Sifu Anthony writes from his experience with qigong and I recognize the truth of his statements from the results of my qigong practice.
    For me, yoga was work, qigong is joy.

  9. Desyree Jesus August 24, 2016 at 11:44 am #

    Hi Sifu,

    I havent practiced Qi gong for long (only a few weeks to be more exact), while I have been practicing yoga for 13 years. The reason I did not keep going with Qi gong is the lack of physical exercise. With yoga, I feel like I am doing 2 good things in one practice, getting mind and body better. With Qi gong it was only mind. Correct me if I am wrong, because I would like to try Qi gong again if I can see a way of joining these 2 aspects. I admit I am not the most disciplined person, so having a practice that gives me the best of both worlds means that I only need to force myself to do one thing (yoga), instead of two (Qi gong and some type of physical exercise).

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 24, 2016 at 12:59 pm #

      Hi Desyree. Good to hear from you.

      If I remember correctly, you only did the intro class, plus maybe a few classes in my old studio?

      In any case, yes, there are LOTS of options for your goals. There are plenty of qigong exercises that count as physical exercise as well.

      Send me an email if you want to talk privately about options for this. I have an older online program that is no longer available to the public, but might be good for you.

  10. Vera August 24, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

    Well, Canadians are slow to pick up a new trend . Yoga ( any type)is now in full bloom.
    The practice of Yoga , as I see it, is for body image. There is also the attraction of the chakras work with the colourful image of the body with the circles. Classes are full. Where is Qi gong in all this? It is encouraging to read Sifu’ s article! Also ,may I quote you?
    People come to try one class Qigong. And do not come back….they may be spooked because they feel a lot of Qi, or they may not feel anything resisting the mental,/physical relaxation required in these exercises. I am up against a thick wall of resistance and skepticism even I have students that follow me for years already… Yes, it will take a long time for Qi gong to get popular, but as a large population becomes older and ailing Qi gong maybe the answer. And I do have a problem with some teachers who teach free classes of Qi gong resembling Hard practices and people come away with injuries thinking Qi Gong is just another martial art.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 24, 2016 at 3:36 pm #

      Hi Vera. Yes, of course you can quote me. 🙂

      Who are these people teaching qigong like a martial art? I haven’t observed this trend myself.

      • Dee (Dominic) Kwan August 24, 2016 at 5:50 pm #

        I live in Vancouver Canada. A neighbor of mine took a beginner’s course (at low cost I presume) at a senior’s center and ended up injuring her back. She was told it was supposed to be easy.


        • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 24, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

          Sadly, there are a lot of poorly trained teachers out there. The same thing happens in yoga, karate, and dance. This is why I believe in having high standards for teacher training.

        • Dee (Dominic) Kwan August 24, 2016 at 5:52 pm #

          I have to clarify that it was a beginner’s course in Qigong. Dee

      • Vera August 25, 2016 at 5:24 pm #

        Here in Toronto suddenly popped up ads ” free Qi gong lessons”
        Do not know who they are, but one of my new students told me he had to practice horse stance for a long time… He did not know how to relax the body, (how to drain tension from upper body), yes I know you did not talk about this thing yet. But one of the most important things I learned from my taichi Sifu David Lau , was the clearing and draining downward into the earth of any tension we might feel. Please tell me your opinion. I value it very much.:-)

        • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 25, 2016 at 8:38 pm #

          Hi Vera. Facebook ads are not always based on your location, so I have no idea who is running the “free qigong lessons” ad. You’re probably seeing them because you’re interested in qigong (which Facebook obviously knows!).

          The Horse Stance is a traditional way to start qigong. The whole point is that it’s very hard to relax, and thus becomes a test of the student’s resolve. This is how teachers used to weed out the unmotivated students.

          Once you learn to relax, the Horse Stance can be a powerful qi cultivation technique.

  11. FreeJazzTony August 24, 2016 at 5:45 pm #

    I think it really depends on the Qigong or Yoga teacher really. I used to do a variety of tai chi,qigong, and yoga using videos alone for 7 months. When I started practicing Qigong with a master with 30 years of experience I felt like I did not need any of the videos any more. The videos just did not make any sense for any art and if I continued I probably would of ended up injuring myself. Most American Yoga instructors I feel are not authentic to traditional yoga but I believe there are more experienced practitioners in the art. In this regard I think both arts are equal but a good teacher is required to understand either art. But with the over industrialization of yoga I think true authentic yoga is harder to find than Qigong because I think it is harder to tell apart a good teacher from a bad one.

  12. Katherine S August 24, 2016 at 9:37 pm #

    I practice Yoga and have tried Qigong which I love! Yoga is easier to practice due to the abundance of classes available, hopefully Qigong will catch up 🙂

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 25, 2016 at 9:00 am #

      That’s a good point about the abundance of classes, Katherine. However, as someone who ran a brick-and-mortar qigong studio for 8 years, I can say that it’s not easy to keep the doors open, and I don’t know how soon that will change.

      Nevertheless, one of the most beautiful things about qigong is that it is meant to be practiced outside. In urban parks around the world, Chinese communities gather early in the morning to practice. I would love to see Americans embrace this practice.

      • Steve August 25, 2016 at 11:32 am #

        To the person who said she finds yoga easier to do than qigong, I just want to say that might be true for someone who is double jointed, LOL.
        A chiropractor showed me that I was born with my bottom vertebrae only partially formed and I blame this on never being able to touch my toes when I bend over in spite of having done yoga daily for over 30 years. I found yoga to be an effort, but qigong to be close to effortless. Of course, in the West we have changed the intention of the Vedic culture where yoga comes from. It was never meant to be used as a stand alone exercise. Yoga creates a state of mind/body rest which is meant to be done immediately before doing meditation. To do yoga without then meditating seems to me like taking a bath but not using soap.

      • Dee (Dominic) Kwan August 26, 2016 at 10:26 am #

        “In urban parks around the world, Chinese communities gather early in the morning to practice. I would love to see Americans embrace this practice.”

        Sifu, to substantiate what you said, here in Vancouver, many malls open their doors (6 am – 9 am? before the shops do their business) to people who would gather to do Qigong, Tai Chi, dancing etc.

        In the mall closest to where I live, it is jam packed every weekend morning. One has to walk carefully in order to not to bump into exercisers.

      • Rajinder pal December 15, 2016 at 3:43 am #

        Please contact me at [email address deleted for safety] I am convinced from effects and benefitis from qui gong, I do have trouble in walking like a ordinary person and speaking , writing is also distubed , Sir kindly let me know that what I have to do to get healed from these deciciencies caused due to Multiple Sclerosis , though progression of the disease has already been stopped Thanks to qui gong moring 7 mintue exercise by Lee Holden and Diet therapy of Natural life style.

        • Sifu Anthony Korahais December 15, 2016 at 4:24 pm #

          Hi Rajinder. I deleted your email address for safety. My site is safe, but it’s not a good idea to post your address like that unless you want SPAM.

          I’m very glad to hear that you’ve already gotten such good results from qigong. My students with MS have also seen good results.

          I will contact you via email.

  13. claire August 25, 2016 at 12:42 am #

    I don’t think it is an either/or situation, or a competition between the two. Both have much to offer.

    I know more about yoga than I do about qi gong, although I have practiced both.

    Yoga has in a sense been a victim of its own success. It has brilliant teachers, and also some who should not be teaching.

    Yoga is a very diverse modality, and accessible to all, including the old and the ill. Therapeutic yoga, in the right hands, is very effective. In its authentic form yoga is highly spiritual, and postures are but a small aspect of the total picture, which includes breathing, meditation and behavioral codes.

    Yoga is also quite dynamic, in the sense that there are innovative teachers who are developing ‘fusion’ practices which take the best from a range of modalities. Some teachers mix yoga and qi gong principles for a more fluid, energy based practice which also retains the benefits of the classical postures and movements.

    To me, this is the most exciting prospect – the best of both worlds. The best fruits of two great civilizations, Indian and Chinese.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 25, 2016 at 9:06 am #

      Hi Claire. Thanks for the insights.

      First of all, did you mean to imply that my article illustrated an “either/or situation”, or that I believe there is competition between the arts? If so, can you please show me where this message appears in the article? I would like to edit it to be clearer.

      My message was not one of competition, and absolutely not one of “either/or”. People can, and do, practice both arts, including my wife.

      As for fusion between the arts, my only concern is that the artists doing the fusion are well trained in both arts. For example, I have only dabbled in yoga, and would never presume to start fusing it with qigong.

      To fuse 2 arts, you must know 2 actual arts, not 1/2 of each one. Make sense?

      • Claire August 25, 2016 at 6:49 pm #

        Yes Sifu, in response to your question the article to me appears to be saying here are 16 reasons why qi gong is better than yoga (presumably it will be more popular in 16 years because it is more effective?).

        On one category you say “lets call this one a tie”. Which to me reinforced the idea of comparing the two and concluding that one was overall superior.

        In response to your other point, absolutely to fuse the two you must know both.

        On the other hand, it is possible to incorporate some of the basic practices of qi gong into a yoga routine, not quite fusion but a more focussed use of fluid movement and breathing.

        I strongly believe the two are complementaty.

        • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 25, 2016 at 7:12 pm #

          Hi Claire. Thanks for your response.

          Let’s agree to disagree. I don’t think your presumption is accurate, and I don’t agree that the article implies that one is superior to the other.

          The article does, however, argue that qigong is better than yoga for SOME people. And vice versa.

          The “let’s call it a tie” comment was, quite simply, a joke.

          As for incorporating basic qigong principles into yoga, I can’t say if it’s a good idea or not because I am not an expert in yoga. Some of my students certainly do this, and that’s their prerogative. I just want them to get remarkable results.

          Personally, I’m wary of fusion arts because they often end up being neither here nor there. Why not just practice qigong in the morning and yoga in the evening?

          • Terence August 26, 2016 at 8:26 pm #

            You should never combine different types of yoga, let alone different arts. This at best produces nonsense, at worst damages the practitioner.

            When students are doing yoga, they should do yoga. When they are doing quigong, they should do quigong.

            • Claire August 27, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

              The idea that each type of yoga (however defined) is completely separate is just wrong. It is more accurate to say there is one yoga with a variety of different styles and emphases to suit the particular needs of the practitioner. Many of the best teachers draw from and synthesise different styles. It is surprising that you would dismiss their work as nonsense.

              The idea that there cannot be cross fertilisation between yoga and qi gong also seems rigidly dogmatic. By way of example, qi yoga is not fusion, but has developed organically in Japan utilising principles of both.

            • Terence August 27, 2016 at 7:53 pm #

              OK then, good luck.

  14. Marcel Jannink August 25, 2016 at 3:06 pm #

    Dear Sifu,

    I have only been practising Qigong for some 4 years now and my entire being and sensing has changed dramatically. I don’t need any explanation or convincing whatsoever my core has already shown me this is my path. Nevertheless I’ve wandered maybe some day I will teach this noble art to others. Due to my profession I’m interested in your thoughts on teaching Qigong to people who are mentally disabled. From a deep, profound inner feeling I think Qigong could be beneficial even to those who cannot understand nor deeply connect to their inner core. To me personally it doesn’t even really matter that when I say to people I practice Qigong the standard answer is; what? And my standard reply is: do you know about yoga or Tai chi? Well something like that. I thoroughly agree; Qigong will change the course of this world, all in time. I will teach my children, maybe others like my clients who knows; the universe has its own plan and I’ve only begun to tap into it.

    Yours sincerely,

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 25, 2016 at 3:13 pm #

      Hi Marcel,

      I’m go glad to hear that you love qigong. That makes me happy!

      I’m not sure what you mean by mentally disabled. Do you mean a developmental or intellectual disability? If so, I don’t have much experience with that.

      Generally speaking, I think what matters most is that the teacher is well trained. A well-trained teacher can handle a wide variety of different situations.

    • Steve August 25, 2016 at 3:22 pm #

      Hello Marcel,
      I am not sure what you mean by mentally disabled. If that means mental retardation or mental illness? In either case, I can tell you that as a psychologist in a 16 bed unit for the severely mentally ill which also included a few people who also had mental retardation, we taught them qigong 7 days a week and many of them did the forms quite well and gave positive feedback. Early research using Spring Forest Qigong with people with mental illness showed that it decreased their symptoms of depression and anxiety beyond what the researchers were hoping for. I used to use their progress in qigong as one of the measures for readiness for their discharge back into the community since the before and after behaviors in the qigong group were often amazing to witness.

      • Marcel Jannink August 27, 2016 at 5:35 am #

        Dear Sifu, thanks for your reply. What I actually meant was that my clients are born with these disabilities and their grades of disorders vary strongly. Do you have any insight on that?


        • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 27, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

          Hi Marcel. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, any time a patient is born with a specific issue, it is due to what is known as “Prenatal Jing”. Basically, this is an inherited form of energy.

          Qigong will be a great help, and so will acupuncture and herbal medicine. But you must understand that issues like this are deep, and are thus more challenging to overcome.

  15. Vera August 25, 2016 at 5:31 pm #

    Sifu, I am aware that the relaxation you teach is similar to the draining technique I first learned.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais August 25, 2016 at 8:35 pm #

      Hi Vera. I don’t know about this draining technique, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s similar!

  16. Dr. Martin Eisen September 1, 2016 at 11:56 pm #

    Unfotuntely, most people don’t know what Yoga was originally. itwas a spiritual disciple and you couldn’t pay for lessons. there have been may injurues from practicng Yoga.

    Qigong is already undergoing the same fate as Yoga and is being taught for amusement and profit or in a useless manner at many drop in centers at hospitals. Seriously ill people are not told that they must practice for hours daily.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 2, 2016 at 8:24 am #

      Hi Dr. Eisen. Thanks for the insights.

      I agree that qigong has some challenges ahead of it. But I don’t think we see eye-to-eye about how to practice qigong.

      In my opinion, practicing hours per day is not always necessary, nor is it even advisable. I see far better results when students focus on quality rather than quantity.

      Rather than practice qigong for hours, I encourage extremely sick patients to practice 3x per day for about 15-20 minutes per session — and to keep the quality HIGH.

      On top of that, they should be getting acupuncture, taking Chinese herbs, or getting other forms of complementary care.

  17. Edwin September 18, 2016 at 3:19 pm #

    As a qigong and T’ai chi practitioner and teacher i experience the benefits every day, for myself and my students. I can recommend it to everybody.
    However when somebody promisses quick results (without defining them) you should be warned…
    Also qigong requires persistance and practice to become proficient!
    When using it for specific health issues, find a certified teacher with knowledge on TCM, otherwise there is a chance to do more damage then healing.
    15 minutes of practice daily is beneficial, no doubt, only when you also consider your activities of the remaining 23,5 hours in a day.
    Best way killing a fine art is hyping it.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 19, 2016 at 2:55 pm #

      Hi Edwin. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      However, I’m not really sure who you are talking to, or even what you are saying.

      I believe you left the exact same comment on the website that stole my article.

      Did you read my original article here? Or are you commenting on the stolen and bastardized version on the other website?

  18. Numan Pekgoz September 19, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

    I am a lifetime practitioner and instructor of both. “Tai chi is empty without qigong”. I understand what you intend to mean but I am not sure if this is a suitable saying. Tai Chi is very high grade and refined Qigong format. If you master Tai Chi you already master the top level Qigong. It wouldnt be called Tai Chi otherwise.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 19, 2016 at 2:50 pm #

      Hi Numan. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      I’ve met plenty of tai chi practitioners who know little to nothing about the art of cultivating qi. They know a bunch of tai chi forms, and little else. Unfortunately, I think this is the norm, at least in America.

      Can taijiquan be used to cultivate qi? Of course. But that’s just not how most people practice it, unfortunately.

      Also, there are some semantics issues here. For example, some people refer to static zhan zhuang postures like “Holding the Tree” as “tai chi”. I would call that qigong, especially since similar postures are found in several other martial arts.

      I’m curious though. What do you think “tai chi” means, and what exactly do mean when you say “it wouldn’t be called tai chi otherwise”?

      • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 26, 2016 at 5:03 pm #

        Hi Numan. I’m still waiting for your response.

        What did you mean when you said “it wouldn’t be called Tai Chi otherwise”?


  19. Atenea Arcé April 16, 2017 at 11:12 am #

    Gracias . Thanks for sharing your Qigong knowledge . I’ve reading your blog and I really like your ideas about Qigong , I just discovered it some months ago and I wish it would be popular in my country of origin ( I’m mexican but I live in Montréal ) . I’m looking forward to read more about Qigong in your blog cause I’m really enjoying it :). Merci

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais April 16, 2017 at 12:13 pm #

      Con mucho gusto, Atenea. I teach in Mexico periodically, and I also have a certified instructor in the Toronto area. Her name is Monica: http://flowingzen.com/certified-flowing-zen-instructors/

      I also teach in Costa Rica every year: http://flowingzen.com/costarica

      • Atenea Arcé April 18, 2017 at 3:29 pm #

        En verdad? really where exactly do you teach in Mexico? Im interested to know about it and I also read about your retreats in La Montaña Azul in Costa Rica. Im still reading your blog and I like it very much I find it very interesting, the article you posted about the Winter is so useful for me as a Latina living in Montréal winters were temperatures drop to -23 sometimes are tough and you are giving to me new guidelines to continue learning QiGong and applying it to my daily life. Gracias otra vez 🙂

        • Sifu Anthony Korahais April 18, 2017 at 3:34 pm #

          Si claro! So far, I have only taught in Mexico DF, but perhaps when I learn Spanish, I can teach in many places. 🙂

  20. Jarett Sanchez May 13, 2017 at 10:41 pm #

    I agree with your argument for the most part (I think that qi gong especially still has not reached its peak popularity) but if I were to argue against your theory I would say that qi gong will not be as big or bigger than yoga EVER, and for only one reason: Yoga pants. 😉

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais May 14, 2017 at 7:24 am #

      You have a solid point, Jarett.

      • twinfishrising May 16, 2017 at 10:52 am #

        Hahaha… I have to agree on the pants part. Qi gong needs to retrend the flared sleeve shirt perhaps? 😉 .
        Am reading this from Australia ( outside the major cities ) , and it’s very difficult to find a Qi gong teacher here. But yoga teachers litter the countryside. Pilates is also popular here. Perhaps largepeople are tackling obesity by any form of movement they can get, where I live and the perception is that Qi gong just isn’t gonna make you sweat I find that the potential for shifting excess fat comes through the hormonal responses to lowing anxiety and getting the body’s energy grounded lower , into the Dan Tian. No matter how much huffy-puffy you do, you can’t help but stay fat if your stress hormones are too up or too down.. I have studied a little bit of TCM , and Traditional Thai massage , lived in Sichuan and been a massage therapist, so when I found a good Qi gong teacher it came very naturally. I love anything that bridges the East-West attitudes to life . One of the things which people in the West seem to love about yoga is the idea that they have a guru for a teacher ( but they can overlook their lack of experience or training so long as they talk like a guru of yoga ). I don’t know , maybe this dovetailed historically with American and Anglo-European culture throwing off their Christian religion in the 70’s and still needing something of a priest figure but it seems to have become an even bigger deal in the last 7 years, which I previously thought was just via branding and internet marketing but now I really suspect it’s something more about the psyche of the times, that people wanna have a guru type, who they emulate, and it can be as shallow as how they look and speak. Qi gong, conversely seems to attract all sorts of ages and personality styles as teachers, who have that commonality of student-teacher -student respectful relationship.

        Thanks for the great read, it is obvious that you really do care in your practice and take huge responsibility as a teacher. The ability to respond, compassionately and wisely takes dedication. Thank you for investing your life in something that benefits so many…and I may invest in your course down the track.

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