Trying Tai Chi & Qi Gong for the First Time

Tai-Chi-Qi-Gong-BasicsSure, I dig yoga and meditation. And most would probably consider me to be a little crunchier or more hippity-dippity than your average gal. But despite these things, I had never tried the Chinese martial art Tai Chi—let alone Qi Gong. Heck, I could barely spell the former or pronounce the latter. But after spending about 40 minutes trying each of these martial arts in the new Acacia DVD Tai Chi & Qi Gong Basics (and learning how to properly say “chi gōng”), I have to say that I kind of wondered what the hold up has been.

Both martial arts are like yoga and Pilates in that they combine focus and controlled breathing with movement. In both types of exercise, you move slowly and deliberately,and you’re definitely not worrying about what craziness is left on your to-do list (or at least you shouldn’t be after a few minutes as it’s hella relaxing). Through a series of standing poses, you move gracefully, moving your energy or your “chi” with you. Sure, at times it seems hokey, but it’s also somewhat beautiful, and I can see how with regular practice, it could truly become your go-to happy place.

In this beginner DVD, martial-arts master Matthew Cohen gives you two programs: Tai Chi and Qi Gong. In Tai Chi, Cohen teaches you the basic poses, including form and intention. Then you begin to move through the postures a little more, eventually putting them all together for more of a “workout.” (More on that later.) The second program runs you through about a dozen Qi Gong postures (my favorite being the one where you bend forward moving your head back and forth like an elephant with a trunk), ending with seated meditation. While Tai Chi is taught in a somewhat boring studio, the Qi Gong section is taught outside in front of a beautiful mountain range. Seeing that alone helped me to zen. The DVD also features an interesting and informative Q&A with Cohen about the benefits and history of both programs.

Now this is a bit of an unusual review in that neither one of these programs are “workouts” by our usual definition. Sure, you’re moving, but you don’t get your heart rate up, there is really no focus on upper-body strength (both programs do include some lower-body squats and lunges, along with balance work), and I guarantee you won’t sweat unless your AC is out. Also, from the reviews on Amazon, it’s clear that this is the basic of the most basic DVDs, designed for people like me, who have never tried either Tai Chi or Qi Gong before. So definitely don’t buy this one thinking that it’ll help you fit in your skinny jeans. Instead, think of it more as an addition to your fitness or, better yet, your life.

FBG Rating (Out of 5):
Instruction: ★★★★
Long-Term Likeability: ★★
Music: ★★★
Fun Factor: ★★★
Meets Expectations: ★★★
Overall: ★★★

Fit Bottomed Line: If you’re interested in learning more about Tai Chi or Qi Gong but aren’t sure where to go or how to start, this DVD would be your get-started guide. Just don’t expect anything but a moving meditation mental workout (which is totally awesome, in our opinion)! Jenn



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  1. I would love to try this DVD. I’ve heard of Qi Gong, but I’ve never tried it before.

  2. Thanks, great review! I’ve been curious about both for some time now, but have never tried either.

  3. I would love to try this DVD! The only time I’ve done Tai Chi is during the cool down of the original TurboJam. I’ve always loved that section and wanted to do more! This would be the perfect way for me to fulfill that desire!

  4. I’m looking for a new way to get into shape–I can’t seem to find a yoga or pilates class to keep me interested! This might be exactly what I need to get started.

  5. I have practiced both and love them. Would love to have a new CD for my collection.

  6. Both my husband and I started doing tai chi and Qi gong a few weeks ago. My husband is the only man in the class but he doesn’t mind. He loves doing it. We like to call it meditation in motion. It’s very graceful and brings a sense of peace within .

  7. Ever since Dr Oz said this type of workout would be a good de-stressor, I’ve been on the lookout for some basic instruction. I thought I could get this from the internet but it seems like something you should probably incorporate daily so maybe a DVD would work? Would love to try-thanks for the chance to win.

  8. Great review! I’m looking for a new kind of workout, and as someone who also enjoys yoga and meditation, I would love to give these a try as well.

  9. I would love to try these! I love yoga, and I’m learning to like pilates because of Ellen Barrett, but I have never tried tai chi or qi gong. Acacia makes great fitness dvds, so I’m sure these are great!

  10. I always wanted to try but was afraid to buy DVD’s because so many times I bought a DVD and didn’t like it. Thanks for the review.