As we know, Yoga comes from India and Qigong comes from China. Interestingly, although they originate from 2 oriental civilisations where the culture, history, and philosophies are different, we can find some similarities in the philosophy and practices of Yoga and Qigong.
The Energy System – Prana (Yoga) and Qi (Qigong)
In both Yoga and Qigong, there is a concept of “vital life force”. It is referred as “Prana” in Yoga and “Qi” in Qigong. In Yoga, there are 5 main categories of Prana: Apana Vayu, Samana Vayu, Prana Vayu, Udana Vayu and Vyana Vayu. Comparatively, the idea of “Qi” in China has been applied to Traditional Chinese Medicine, which refers to 6 common types of weather, “Feng”(Windy), “Han”(Cold), “Shu”(Hot), “Shi”(Humid), “Zao”(Dry), “Huo”(Heaty). The disturbance in the energy results in diseases.
The Storage of Energy – Chakra (Yoga) and Dantian (Qigong)
In Yoga, there are 7 Chakras in human body, which are Muladhara Chakra, Swadhisthana Chakra, Manipura Chakra, Anahata Chakra, Vishuddha Chakra, Ajna Chakra and Sahasrara Chakra. However, in Qigong, it is believed that Dantian is the only place where stores “Qi”.
The Channel of Energy – Nadi (Yoga) and JingLuo(Qigong)
In Yoga, there is an idea of “Nadis”, which are channels that energy flow through the body. There are 3 principal nadis that run from the base of spine to the head, and are the ida on the left, sushumna in the center and pingala on the right. Ida is associated with the lunar energy, it controls more mental process. Pingala is associated with solar energy which controls more vital process. Sushumna interpenetrates the cerebrospinal axis and it refers to both nostrils being open and free to the passage of air.
In Qigong, energy is channelled via JingLuo, aka meridians. There are 12 main meridians which connects between organs in the human body. There are 2 types of meridians, “Yin” and “Yang” respectively, where Yin can be mapped to “Ida” in Yoga and “Yang” is mapped to Pingala.
We can see the similarities and differences behind Yoga and Qigong. There is no concrete rule saying which idea is superior to the other. Today, we can see that both practices are adopted for individuals’ health and wellbeing. And one may see a trend of convergence in these two practices in the future. Adoption of whatever practice depends very much on individuals’ preferences. The ultimate idea is to achieve the balance among individuals’ mind, body and spirituality.