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Difference Between Yoga and Tai Chi

tai-chi-300Yoga vs Tai Chi

Yoga originated from India. It is based on breathing, exercising and meditating to facilitate the enhancement of physical and mental health. Yoga instructions usually depend on the needs of the person. Today, it is commonly practiced to relieve one from stress, and for peace of mind. The usual pattern of yoga includes different positions or postures on the floor, either sitting or standing. It often uses the arms to hold the body’s weight, in order to develop strength. Sometimes it causes pressure on the wrists and shoulders. Changes can be made to lessen the stress on the joints. The right information is essential to avoid accidents and injury.

The significance of yoga teachings are grouped into three parts: the physical aspect, mental aspect and spiritual aspect. The physical aspect includes flexibility and good balance. It has also been discovered that yoga can help increase energy, improve breathing and circulatory health, relieve pain, increase vitality, cause weightloss and make one feel and look younger. It also builds muscle tone, and helps alleviate asthma and carpal tunnel syndrome. Secondly, the mental aspect includes relaxation, especially in handling stressful situations, peacefulness of the mind, and helps to foster positive thinking and self-acceptance. The spiritual aspect promotes consciousness of one’s feelings, body and the environment. It encourages reliance between the body, mind and spirit. Pain is not the virtue of yoga.

Tai Chi, ‘supreme ultimate’, came from China during the 1300’s. It is a soft martial arts, designed to work out the muscles and joints using a gentle and low impact method. It involves positions or postures while standing and taking steps. The legs are used to carry the body, while the arms are moving slowly and gracefully in the air. The posture is continuous to make certain that the body is in unvarying motion. The movement should come from the internal part of the body (the abdomen and the back), and not from the external part (arms and shoulders).

Tai Chi is good for relaxation and concentration. It can develop strength, balance and flexibility. It also helps in staying stress free, and boosts stamina and energy. It’s low impact helps lubricate the joints, and is good for those suffering from arthritis. Tai Chi is more of a mind, than body exercise, with gentle movements. It can be practiced at any age.


1. Yoga originated from India, while Tai Chi originated from China.

2. Yoga uses the arms to carry the weight of the body, while Tai Chi uses the legs to bear the weight of the body.

3. Yoga is a practice of the body and mind. Tai Chi is more a practice of the mind.

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  1. I really don’t agree with point 3 in the summary above. Tai Chi is definitely a practice of the mind AND body! Although the movements are very slow, you definitely exercise your body and work up a sweat when learning!!

    • I also disagree with point three. Yoga and tai chi are both mind-body-spirit exercies. Tai chi has been called a “moving meditation.” Both yoga and tai chi link body movement to the breath and this is the bridge to linking the movements to the mind and enhancing one’s awareness.

  2. Which is best for a 76 yr old in good mental and physical health, but is not exercizing at all

    • You could do either. Try them both. Some teachers allow you to take your first class for free. You may want to see which class is easiest for you to attend in your area.

  3. I disagree with 2 and 3. Tai chi is continual slow movement totally on the legs/feet. Yoga can be on the feet/legs, arms/hands, seated or lying down. Its hard to describe the difference but the two disciplines are very different. Both relaxing for the mind, body and spirit!!

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