Interview with the founder of Tai Chi Matrix
After our mind-opening and stomach-healing Qigong class we caught up with Parichard Holm, founder of Tai Chi Matrix, about how the art of Qigong changed her life for the better…
USC: What’s your journey with Feng Shui, Tai Chi and Qigong?
Tai Chi and Qigong are Chinese arts of movement and Feng Shui is the art of placement in space. I am a Feng Shui consultant and I teach Tai Chi and Qigong. They all derive from The Book of Changes and have the same philosophic roots of Daoism so it’s nice to work with all three together; they really supplement each other well.
Tai Chi is a martial art for self defense – Qigong is more like healing movements. It works with Qi – the universal energy – which sounds kind of intense but is very simple.
USC: And how did you first learn about these arts?
I was very active in movement when I was a child. I did 12 years of ballet and six years of step dancing and gymnastics. When I turned 21 I became interested in the movements of Qigong and Tai Chi. I used to wonder why did they move so slowly?
When you’re young you like to have speed and it’s hard to access this kind of slow movement. So I started practicing when I was 26 and it definitely changed my life in a positive way.
USC: How has it changed your life?
I could feel the positive effects of Qigong right away. I always loved dancing – I danced three times a week for 15 years. But I could feel the Qigong and Tai Chi movements helped me access something broader than just the movement itself.
Qigong connects you with the Dao to the Ying and Yang forces – it means you connect to the universe and your environment. It gives you access to experience your internal energy flow. I could just sense that I was moving and experiencing something different to anything before, which made me feel more wholesome.
USC: Do you think that everyone who tries Qigong will experience this?
I think so! People do feel different from their first class on, and often will be curious to come again and learn more. The speed of the movement is unique – you do everything very slowly in coordination with your breathing. You concentrate on how it feels to breathe in and out. Just giving yourself the space and time for this activity is special. Some people start to cry, they’re so happy. They say they never take time to concentrate on themselves and that they felt there was something missing and feel more complete afterwards.
It’s amazing how simple it is – to breathe and put the movement above your breath. It’s about concentrating on your breathing and then letting the movement come from the inside out.
USC: What are the benefits of practicing the art of Qigong?
Breathing properly relaxes you. It relaxes your nervous system, your mind, and it grounds you. It’s meditation in movement and you start to get a different sense of your body and eventually of yourself. In the end you feel more relaxed and happy.
‘Energy’ is an interesting word – but what does it really mean? It’s an internal sensation and something you can only recognise within yourself. Qigong helps open your energy flow and your blockades so you feel better again. Some people feel this straight away –- e.g. if they’vel have had a headache for a couple of days and then, after Qigong, it will be gone.
USC: How did you become a Qigong and Tai Chi teacher?
I learnt Tai Chi in New York City from Grandmaster William C. C. Chen – he is still my principal teacher.
I learnt Qigong here in Berlin, through different institutions and teachers. I worked with Mantak Chia and several other teachers in Germany and the US.
USC: Do you travel a lot with what you do? Do you go to China or Taiwan?
I’ve only been to Taiwan once. But it’s different there – teachers are spread over the whole world and in the US you actually get profound access to these martial arts. The Chinese traditional way to teach is very different to what we know in the Western world.
USC: So this space is rented and you have your own brand?
Exactly. I’ve had it for the last 15 years. The word Matrix is the Greek word for womb. It also means ‘the beginning of everything’. It’s connected to the holographic pattern of universe, so I felt this fit well with the feminine connotation of evolving life force.
I started teaching in Berlin in 1999 and then I moved to Los Angeles in 2002 and spent 10 years there. I’ve been back in Berlin for six years and just had a little boy so am getting back into teaching more regularly.
USC: How did you get your first clients?
Most of the time people would ask me if I could teach – then I would start when I had at least three or four students. That’s how I started here too – in November last year I had two students and now it’s growing steadily, definitely with the help of Urban Sports Club.
USC: Do you have any events or workshops you would like to share?
I offer community meetings here in Schöneberg on a Sunday once a month over summer. This is so people can practice Tai Chi outdoors – it’s a different feeling being connected to earth, heaven and nature.
It’s World Tai Chi and Qigong Day on Saturday 28th April in Gleisdreieck Park in Berlin. I organise it here and brought it over from the US to Germany. Last year we had a get-together of around 60 people doing Qigong and Tai Chi together in a circle. (For all information on this click here.)
USC: What advice would you give to USC members who want to begin practicing Qigong?
To be prepared to explore movement from the inside to the outside. And to be open within yourself, always.
For their latest news, workshops and events check out the Tai Chi Matrix website.