Unlocking Your Best Self With Tai Chi

I love helping people become the best versions of themselves. Whether I am adjusting or scanning a chiropractic patient, hosting an event at The Center, leading a Fearless Movement workshop, or instructing a class at Evolve Training Center, I love helping people breakthrough things that have been holding them back. 

We recently hosted Virada Chatikul of The Quiet Fist, and she spent an evening teaching women at The Center about the gifts of Tai Chi. Her passion for this martial art is apparent and we were deeply curious about how it can help us slow down our busy lives. We sat down and she gave us some insights into what she loves about Tai Chi and how to get started. 

Interviewer: What draws you to Tai Chi?

Virada: When I was seven, I wanted to be a Ninja Turtle, but the karate and kung fu classes aimed at kids – with the yelling and shouting – scared me away. It wasn’t until adulthood when I finally found a style that fit me. What called me to martial arts was the discipline, focus and precision. What made Tai Chi so attractive was the hidden power within the calm. It’s simplicity and depth. I just love practicing with the spirit of enjoyment and discovery.

Interviewer: What health benefits have you seen from studying? What other unexpected benefits have you seen? 

Virada: I am better able to notice and pinpoint physical tension areas – and I have a number of movements I can do to help release these “jams” in my body and relax them. Because I also work in an office, I now have a routine for undoing the shoulder and upper back tension from being at my desk as well as ways to relieve stiffness in my wrists and hands from typing and smartphone use. More surprising, recently, I went for a few Thai massages while on vacation, and I noticed that I didn’t walk out of them as “wowed” as I did in previous years. The massage therapists told me they didn’t feel a lot of tension and that is common for yoga or Tai Chi practitioners to not feel drastic results from a massage because there is already ongoing work put into clearing knots and stiffness. Other unexpected benefits are harnessing my own power for punches and strikes and building lower body thigh and squat strength. Better relaxing the body leads to smoother movement.

Interviewer: For a complete beginner, how would you recommend getting started?

Virada: Find a class; don’t overthink it, but stay committed. I have students who begin with no experience and no goal in mind. They sign up for class, and just keep coming. They feel the benefits and don’t overthink it. Lo and behold, we look up and a year has gone by, and they’ve completed learning the full “mother form” of 75 postures without knowing that’s what we were doing or what that meant. They just kept at it. (Ironically, to offer the flip side, I also have students who searched high and low for a martial arts practice, come to a few sessions and tell me they enjoy it, and I never see them again.)

We were so glad to have Virada join us and encourage you to check out The Quiet Fist. She teaches a Friday morning class and has some great graphic tees and tops depicting hand gestures of respect and humility. Be sure to visit her website and sign up for updates at The Quiet Fist.