Similarities and Differences Between Qigong and Yoga

I don’t know about you but I was familiar with yoga and what it was way before I had a clue about Qigong or even how to pronounce it! In this blog I’ll be discussing the similarities and differences between Qigong and Yoga.

Janice Tucker is a practitioner of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Medical Qigong, and the founder of the Space To Relax online programme of Qigong video lessons.

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The Main Similarities and Differences Between Qigong and Yoga

5 Similarities Between Qigong and Yoga

1. Both are Eastern forms of exercise.
2. Qigong and Yoga both teach awareness of your body and mind.
3. Both utilise similar breathing techniques.
4. Qigong and Yoga are both whole systems involving the body, mind and posture.
5. Both are very ancient practices.

5 Differences Between Qigong and Yoga

1. Yoga tends to focus, at least in the West, on more physical postures or asanas. Qigong focuses on physical movements to a lesser extent and incorporates more of the breath and mind in its exercises.

2. Qigong movements are slower and more gentle than yoga movements. Because of this Qigong is often perceived as a bit boring and not as good at getting you fit as yoga. This is not true. Qigong, when practised regularly, can make you very strong and fit. It will unblock stagnant Qi and allow it to flow more freely so that your health improves. Do bear in mind though that Qigong does not offer you instant gratification. Significant results in terms of health are achieved over a long period of time. You should instantly feel more relaxed when you practice Qigong though! 🙂

3. Yoga originates from India. Qigong originates from China.

4. For yoga you may need slightly more athleticism than you will need for Qigong, at least how it is taught in the West. Yoga requires more movement than Qigong. Anyone of any level of mobility can perform the slow and flowing movements of Qigong, even those in a wheelchair or those with severe physical limitations.

5. Nearly every Qigong exercise improves your balance in some way. There are specific yoga balance postures but not every asana in yoga incorporates a balance element to it.

So Which Is Best For You?

If you are more athletic, you may decide that yoga is for you. If you want to address a certain medical issue then you may choose medical Qigong practice. If you are like me, you will do both. As a Qigong teacher I’m also a massive fan of yoga and attend weekly classes as I find that the two blend extremely well together and play a complementary role in enhancing my health and well-being.

What Should I Do Next?

So, if you would like to learn some Qigong for yourself got to the Space To Relax homepage. There you can sign up to receive three free video lessons which will be delivered to you by e-mail over the course of a few days. Also, for a free audio meditation “Calm Your Busy Mind In 8 Minutes” scroll to the bottom of the Space To Relax homepage.

Please don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel by clicking the red “Subscribe” button. Then you won’t miss my regular videos which are full of useful health enhancing tips. Also please give this video a “Like” if you learned much more about the similarities and differences between Qigong and Yoga.

You can also head over to my free group on Facebook, “Space To Relax Free Group” and leave any comments or questions for me there. I’ll be happy to answer them. Also, by joining this group, you will receive regular postings of Qigong articles and videos with really useful tips about how to use Qigong to improve your state of health.



  • Gaye Shepherd

    June 13, 2017

    Thank you Janice for the explanation re qigong and yoga. I am a yoga teacher and have practiced yoga for 50 years and a teacher for 25 years, I am passionate about yoga, but felt the need to bring in something else. I don’t know how I came upon you, but I did, maybe I was guided in some way. Anyway I am simply loving the course and find that they both work beautifully together, so many thanks for your wonderful knowledge and for going viral. Gaye

    • janicetucker

      June 22, 2017

      Thank you so much for your praise and kind words Gaye. I am delighted that someone with your experience finds value in the Space To Relax course. It just goes to show that no matter how much experience and knowledge we acquire, there is always something new to learn! 🙂

  • Satyarth Shankar

    February 17, 2019

    I read this article head to toe. You must realise that the “Yoga” you are talking about is very limited. If you were to religiously study Yoga the way it has been done since ancient India, I am sure you would see Yoga as more than just physical exercises.
    The bottomline I feel is this. The Yoga westerners talk about is a somewhat off-focused branch (the Hatha Yoga) of the Yoga philosophy in general. Read more about Nada Yoga and Kundalini Yoga and you would understand what I am talking about.
    The west has only recently been introduced to QiGong. I expect that within some time, we will see ridiculous advertisements like “Six Pack QiGong”, “Face QiGong”, “Power QiGong”, “Teenage QiGong”.

    I wish to make it clear that I keep both QiGong and Yoga in the highest regards and have no intentions to favor one over the other. Any one (or may be even both) of them studied earnestly will guide you a lot in life.

    Spreading positivity,

  • Leslie

    February 26, 2019

    Which could be more readily, and more beneficially, adapted for someone who cannot stand or be on their feet for very long periods (due to rare bone disease)? Thanks.

    • janicetucker

      June 6, 2019

      Qigong is very easy to adapt for anyone who has difficulty standing for long periods Leslie as many of the methods can be practised from a sitting or lying position. Also it will help you to stand for longer if you practice short periods of standing and gradually build up the duration. You’ll be surprised how quickly you can increase the duration of time that you can comfortably stand up.

  • John Brown

    August 24, 2019

    Hi Janice,
    Please can you tell me the difference ‘twixt Qigong and Chi Kung (from a ‘Practice’ rather than ‘Definition’ point of view ‘cos know they are both forms of ‘Energy Medicine’. I ask because I tried a ‘taster’ session of the latter and found it rather ‘exhausting’and also gave me vertigo (as does Hatha Yoga) – which I practised for some years until I developed a congestive heart condition, and also have MDS (Myelodysplasia) – but feel I need to do some form of exercise.Thanks

    • janicetucker

      September 5, 2019

      Hi John,

      The names Qigong and Chi Kung are interchangeable. Qigong is the more modern “Pin Yin” spelling whereas Chi Kung is the “Wade-Giles” spelling which was popular around 100 years ago. Qigong is the more modern spelling and more widely used nowadays however there are many different types of Qigong. Without knowing what exactly you learned in the taster session it is difficult for me to give you a reason as to why you were so exhausted and suffered with vertigo. Did you ask the teacher why it could have affected you in this way? Usually Qigong is a very safe method of exercise, however I always question my students closely beforehand to find out if they have any pre-existing health conditions so that I can tailor the class to their needs and also make sure that I don’t ask them to work beyond their physical capabilities. I’m sorry that I can’t be of more help but my suggestion to you is to go back to your teacher and ask why this might have happened to you. Best wishes, Janice


    July 17, 2020

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