Is Tai Chi forbidden?

I was talking to a friend, stating that I was considering taking up Tai Chi as a way to relax and get some exercise and de-stress. The response I received was, “Cool, as long as it doesn’t replace religion”. Can anyone tell me why this would be suggested? Tai Chi, as I understand it, is a centuries old form of exercise and is used medicinally in the Orient to calm and center a person. Perhaps I am not as educated as I thought…if anyone knows more about this art and can share with me why it would be a negative, please share that.

Stay away from the medating part of the art. I do not know Tai Chi but I used to study Tae Kwon do. My instructor advise us not to get in to the medating part becuse it could open you mind up to the devil. I have heard of other instructor saying the same thing. It should be good for exercies but the the medating part use the rosary and /or the Psalms.

Tai Chi is very old, and even older than Christianity;. The philosphy behind Tai Chi is that of Taoism, which is just another form of relatist morality since it’s entire message focuses around the belief that everything is subject to change.

God never changes, He is eternal and just, and absolute.

The philosphy behind Taoism is not compatible with Christianity.

So just avoid the Taoism and you should be fine.

So I shouldn’t repeat anything they say out loud but should say my own thing in my head? Won’t the rest of the class notice that? Maybe I should not go at all…I wanted this to be relaxing and it sounds like I am going to have to overthink it to the point that I won’t be focusing on relaxing.

I’m been involved in martial arts for years. It’s the Eastern meditation practice of “emptying the mind” that is the concern. We are rational beings and we are called to focus our thoughts on God - thus, prayer. There is concern that an empty mind, not focused on God, might be open to “suggestion” from elsewhere.

I did take one tai chi class. I don’t believe in their energy concept of “chi” flowing through the body and the world. I think it’s mostly an alternative way of describing the nuero-muscular feeling in their bodies as they move.

There may be tai chi classes taught on a more physical level (less meditation) that you might enjoy. If you are directed to meditate and actively not think of anything, you can just pray instead. No one will know.

The same holds true for yoga. Don’t get into the philosophic, spiritual side of it and if you are going to practice it, just do the basic exercises and not “centering” stuff. It’s very deceptive and alot of people are ignorant to what they’re actually doing when they make certain positions or poses. The truth is, there are many gods in the hindu pantheon, and certain yoga positions are mimicking and paying tribute and honor to a specific diety because that deity holds that pose or position. You wouldn’t want to be engaging in idolatry.

People have got to be careful with alot of these eastern influences. They may be sold and promoted here in the U.S as an ultimate exercise regiment but they’re not JUST exercise regiments, they’re forms of worship and prayer, and what makes it especially dangerous is many americans and others blindly practice these things completely ignorant to it’s deeper meaning, and so are committing acts of idolatry without realizing it and possibly opening themselves up to demonic influence.

Thank you all for the advice and insight. So, is there anything you can recommend for a middle aged woman who is not the most athletic that I can do, other than walking (boring) and biking (can’t stand it)? I want to feel good, energetic, regain some flexibility, etc.,

That I’m all clear on.

I don’t quite understand this concern. I mean, I understand the concern about intentionally opening yourself up to occult influences… but that’s takes a little bit more than just “emptying your mind”, doesn’t it? Maybe I’m not understanding it correctly, but I don’t see the problem.

Don’t we do something like that when we’re trying to go to sleep? Don’t we do something similar when we just stop to try and listen to what God is telling us? …I mean, I can see how “finding your center” and “meditating on nothingness” or something along those lines could be problematic… but just clearing your mind and relaxing? As long as you’re not inviting occult powers to enter your body or something… What am I missing? :confused:

You might look into, which is a Christian alternative to yoga.

There’s also an organization that is gradually working to provide Christian alternatives to things like Tai Chi that you could look into.

God bless,


I would think not. If you use it to relieve stress and calm the mind then no it is not since it can only do good. However if you use it as an alternative thought or with the chance that it could change your faith then yes it can potentially be sinful and/or lead to sin. So thats why I urge you to be strong in your faith when confronted with such things or at least the potential to be.

But participating and exploring it out of mere curiosity or to try for a new experience is not sinful at all in my opinion. It is only when you start using it as a religion or if it lowers your faith that it becomes a sin.

Yes it may have roots in eastern philosophy or religion which is why I urge you to be grounded in christian faith and philosophy before you open yourself up to other’s. This could take years as it took me about 5 years after confimation to read and research enough for me to feel comfortable confronting the most intelligent and most logical of athiests, protestants, muslims, and others in a peaceful state with no worry of conversion.

I also don’t see how the concept of “chi” is anti-christian. If used or thought of as a mystical power then yes it is. But if you use it merely for your own good or calming of the body then no it can only do good. But again it follows with the concept of not using it as an alternative but only as a method. Science has proven the effects too to be medically helpful. I have read a lot and personally expereineced some of it. I merely think Chi in a sense is just another word for “God”. God is all things, in all, and omnipressent. God IS the life force of all things and the truth of all things. What is the conflict with “Chi”? Only when you use it as a power and an alternative to Catholicism is it a mortal sin rather than a healing/calming method.

A number of the saints were said to have been able to levitate, have been able to heal, have been able to so to say “use the force”. Is that idoltry or heresey? Then how can they be saints. quite simply no. We don’t know everything. But we do know that everything stems from God only even the force if it were to exist and that he can allow us to do these things or not be able to at his own accord. Maybe thats why the most holy were allowed to have that ability from God.

“Chi” or any concept of the force or a force in all things is not at all contrary if you also believe that it is coming from God and by his will only. If you use it for power or an alternative or so to say the “dark side” then yes it is sinful as you become prone to misguidance and evil.

Good luck and e-mail me if you have questions

Anytime one dabbles in Asian arts, there’s the potential for embracing either Asian philosophy or religion. It’s not inevitable, but always possible. Zen, for example, is a philosophical mindset that’s very conducive to enhancing concentration, which promotes better performance in the arts. Zen can lead one into Zen Buddhism. Many practitioners of the Chinese arts become Buddhists. Just a possibility. Nothing to worry about if one is strong in his Christian faith.

Simple answer: in the martial arts, which includes tai chi, there is the physical and the spiritual.

The physical exercises are fine. The spiritual ones are not.

If you want to use the different forms (exercises) involved in Tai Chi just for exercise’ sake, I don’t see anything wrong with that.

But when you get into the Eastern philosophies and other false religion-related things, you’re just asking for trouble.

I’m not sure why everyone is thinking I am going to blindly begin to follow Eastern Religion. :confused: I am studying to be a Catholic. This is my path, and where I want to be. I have a strong enough presence of mind and self not to be blindly led astray.

In any event, I asked my question because I received such a reaction from a dear Catholic friend and I guess I never thought of Tai Chi or Yoga as being a possible negative, but I see now how it could be frowned upon.

I think everyone here has highlighted the exercises are ok, if you want to meditate too, you can do it in the Christian sense of prayer, that too relaxes one.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but that isn’t at all what I said.

I just pointed out that Eastern religions are a part of it and you need to show discernment.

I received that message loud and clear, Pastor Jim :wink:

I’d say, depends on who’s giving you instruction and what that person thinks about other religions. For example, there was a Judo instructor used to teach a class out of a local strip mall. I’m not sure what his religion was, but he didn’t extend any of his religious influences on his class, whether he was Christian or not. On the other hand, out of my University, there was a move to make a …ju-jitsu?.. class that focused on the meditative qualities of the poses. They presented themselves to the public as a gentle exercize group (so I’m not sure if I got the right form there or not) but at the same time they seemed to be stressing the Zen beliefs as well, which is probably why I never went to those classes.

For myself, I find that either working out at a women’s fitness club is good - Curves I recommend, because the machines they use are resistance based, meaning they only work as hard as you are physically capable of, without straining yourself, and the whole outfit only takes 30 minutes to complete, plus some mild stretching afterwards.

Another thing I’d recommend is looking for water aerobics at your local pool, if they have an indoor one. Water fitness is safer than just about anything because the buyoncy of the water keeps you from straining muscles, it’s a lot more fun than walking or biking, you can play around in the water after class, and you don’t sweat!

…wish we had one of those in my neck of the woods.

Water aerobics, I hadn’t thought of that but that is actually an awesome suggestion!!! :smiley:

That’s another good idea. After my accident, I laughed when the doctor suggested water aerobics but I went ahead and did it anyway. It helped me a lot and in all honesty, that’s probably the only reason I’m not in a wheelchair today.

Amen to that.

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