I was reading about kundalini yoga on this page and elsewhere. Kundalini roughly sounds the same as prana, which seems to be essentially same concept as qi. However it’s not clear to me yet from limited reading what relationship kundalini yoga has to qigong, other than that monks brought meditation and other exercises from India to China and that may have influenced qigong (Buddhist as opposed to native Taoist or any other kind of qigong that may have already existed).
They talk about “awakening kundalini” which roughly sounds like becoming aware of qi, but with a much heavier spiritual emphasis. They also emphasize energy traveling up the spine, consistent with the “Great Central Channel” – the Yang (back) side. In contrast, in Taoist qigong and taijiquan, with reverse breathing, one wants to also have the flow continuous, not only going up the back (Yang) but also down the front (Yin) back toward the dantian, stored there.
I assume at the moment that Chinese qigong became more highly developed as these channels are mapped (though the Great Central Channel and the other “Strange Flows” are not going over meridians as far as I know) to meridians and specific acupuncture points outlined in Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as the Taiji philosophy with yin and yang energies and organs. Someone said these are different paths up the same mountain, which seems like a good analogy, but I’d like to know where those paths cross and which routes are better. (Better yet, I’d like to have a map, and these maps exist, though they are very hard to understand.) At the moment, as a practical matter, I find yoga (hatha and vinyasa) is better for opening up my joints, increasing flexibility and reducing tension, which should all allow for improved qi flow. On the other hand, whenever I do yoga, I think of it as qigong and zhan zhuang and that seems to help with the postures.