Arlene Faulk is the founder and owner of Faulk Tai Chi. Using the incremental moves of this centuries old exercise practice, often called “A Moving Meditation”, Arlene helps people of all ages, many with chronic health conditions to substantially improve their stamina, range of motion and general well-being through repetition and steady, gentle coaching, enabling her students to quiet their minds and connect to the grounding source energy.
Over the past 20 years, Arlene has studied in California with Troyce Thome, Master Abraham Liu, Master Henry Chueng and at the Taoist Sanctuary and Pacific School of Tai Chi; in Chicago with Hau Kum and Per Kneip; and across the U.S. with Paul Lam, M.D. She teaches in Evanston and Chicago and has continued to add additional classes and workshops, including teaching teens for four years as part of their regular school curriculum at North Shore Country Day School in Winnetka, Illinois as well as growing Faulk Tai Chi by training additional teachers in how to use her positive, encouraging and quietly disciplined teaching philosophy.
In 1970 at age 22 — just three months into her career as a management trainee at a prestigious retailer – over the course of a single afternoon — Arlene lost all feeling from her waist down. Though tests remained inconclusive, the puzzling symptoms remained, forcing Arlene to leave her position. Although the numbness passed, over the years, Arlene continued to battle mysterious and often painful symptoms. But — hiding her illness — she pushed through and ascended the ranks of corporate management to become Director of Human Resource Planning at United Airlines. Developing and leading a major HR department while administering a $10+ million budget, Arlene was in charge of the company’s employee selection and performance review programs, IT, and executive succession planning.
19 years into her career, everything came crashing down. Facing intense pain, brain fog and debilitating fatigue, Arlene (finally diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1993) could no longer work. Having exhausted all medical options, Arlene spent the next two years on her couch desperately hoping to find an answer for how to resolve her symptoms so she could move on with her life.
Discovering Tai Chi
In 1996, at the suggestion of an acupuncturist who had trained in China, Arlene discovered Tai Chi. At age 47 – using a cane to walk – Arlene joined a senior citizen Tai Chi class where she found herself the youngest by far, yet in the worst shape of all the students. Determined, Arlene kept going to class and gradually regained the ability to walk unaided, by daily practice of Tai Chi walking and breathing with an imaginary energy ball. Slowly her balance and mobility improved using moves of the Tai Chi form. In 1999, Arlene began to teach Tai Chi herself, using her planning and training skills to found Faulk Tai Chi.
In addition to teaching Tai Chi and writing her award-winning blog, Arlene is now writing a book chronicling her experience. She serves on the governing board of The Fourth Presbyterian Church of Chicago and served for 20 years on the board for Planned Parenthood of Illinois. She speaks on the topic of how Tai Chi can support and transform health and wellness of all groups, especially the senior citizen population. Arlene is dedicated to reaching as many people as she can with her hopeful and inspiring story.
More About Arlene
Video Feature: Faulk Tai Chi video by Rohan Makhecha and Megan Vratsinas, 1615 Studio.
Feature Story: About Arlene and her classes, “Increase Energy via Balanced Movement.” Reprinted by permission of LifeTimes, a publication of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.
Video Feature: Arlene is featured in a story about Heartwood Center.