A chat with a Limerick Tai Chi teacher who helps people relax

By Caitriona McMahon

Whether you’re after physical, mental or emotional wellness we can all certainly benefit from changing things up – and what better way to achieve a little yin and yang than Tai Chi in Limerick on a rooftop?

Tai Chi/Qi Gong Instructor Nadine Buttery teaches a class on the roof of Limerick’s Milk Market Every Sunday at 12 noon. The sight of a group of local people connecting to the atmosphere with their graceful, flowing movements, is something that would bring harmony into anyone’s life.

Nadine said:  “I’ve found over the years, when examining an aspect of life that is right under your nose, it’s often very helpful to address its opposite. We live a life of duality, black and white, right and wrong opposites, yin and yang.

Nadine Buttery at the Special Olympics 2010
Nadine Buttery at the Special Olympics 2010

“When addressing the subject of harmony, we look at disharmony. Disharmony, in the human condition can be witnessed from many view points and you can’t have one without the other.

“If there is emotional disharmony, the body is going to show it in posture, organ function and behaviour. Disharmony, suggests all aspects of the individual are not working together, as a team, with grace.”

Nadine’s belief is that individuals need balance to wade through the ocean of life – which can be very choppy and sometimes stormy – but other times blissfully calm.

But where does the art of Tai Chi help a person achieving balance in life?

Nadine said:  “The Tai Chi practitioner, learns, that you as a human can live this life in a more harmonious way, if we use the right tools for the right job. The basic set of tools for life are the body, the mind and the breath.

Nadine Buttery practising Tai chi
Nadine Buttery practising Tai chi

“Most of us spend the best part of our days with our three tools working alone. We wake and our body gets up and dressed, makes coffee and gets us to work, while our mind is remembering the drama of yesterday and wondering how today will go. All the while we take just enough breath to keep ourselves from collapsing.”

I was starting to think Nadine had a camera in my house but without doubt, this lady knew what she was talking about. Like a robot we sometimes go through the motions of life instead of in that moment experiencing what is right in front of us. Do we taste our coffee a drop at a time?

It is by experiencing both positive and negative – a little ying and yang – that we grow as a whole. After all look how successful the selection box has been. I may not be a fan of every bar in the box but I certainly embrace the choice.

We are often surrounded by variety yet we are unaware of its existence as we remain so focused on a set viewpoint. In every situation in life both positive and negative aspects exist or co exist.

Tai chi on a Limerick rooftop
Tai chi on a Limerick rooftop


























Nadine said:  “Practices such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong, get us into good balancing habits. Moving and breathing at the same time while permitting your mind to play an active role in what is happening in that moment.

“Now you have harmony. You are now tapping into a symmetry, a gracefulness that comes from your very soul. Your body moves effortlessly, your thoughts flow and the emotions you feel move through you. You no longer feel the need to react to them or define yourself by them.”

I started reaching into my pocket looking for money because if Nadine is selling this Tai Chi by the bottle I’ll take the lot.  If this was a tablet we would all be at the GP looking for it.

We should all try embracing the yin and the yang of every moment. Don’t rely on one activity or thing to bring balance into your life. Flow from one thing to another and back again as you feel necessary.

A bit of tai chi at the Santosa Yoga Festival, Ireland
A bit of tai chi at the Santosa Yoga Festival, Ireland

A point I believe to be very true as it is often in our greatest times of suffering (the dark) we discover our inner wisdom and true passion (the light). Our greatest musicians, our most outstanding artists and poets have all written their most insightful pieces during their most painful moments.

Caitriona McMahon has suffered depression and anxiety – and after treatment went on to co-found a voluntary help group for those who are feeling suicidal, the



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