Who we are

Our team

Christine Schneider

Portrait Christine Schneier

Born 1962

Christine’s first contact with the Asian martial arts was at a judo class in the 1970’s. In the early 1980’s she began exploring body-oriented self-awareness using a series of traditional and modern methods, including autogenic training, qigong, Feldenkrais, Alexander technique, kinesiology, TaKeTiNa and many more. It became a quest of more than three decades and lead to certifications as a shiatsu practitioner and as a Hakomi therapist, among others. 

By the early 1990’s she had however finally found “her” movement and martial art in taiji. What had begun as a proven method for improving health, self-defense and stress reduction gradually became a holistic path for internal development. 

Christine has studied under Patrick Kelly for 25+ years and belongs to his network of senior teachers. She has lead the taiji-schule since 2011 and teaches outside of Austria regularly in Germany and Hungary, as well as (sporadically) in other countries.

Peter Herein

Portrait Peter Herein

Born 1958

Peter started training taiji in 1986 with Wang Dongfeng and at the Shambhala Vienna (till 1995), and during this time attended seminars with Wilhelm Mertens and many other taiji and qigong teachers both locally and abroad. He completed a qigong certification offered through an association of the Austrian Qigong Society and the Shambhala Vienna.

Like Christine, Peter has been studying under Patrick Kelly since 1994. From 1997 – 2019 he has taught at the VHS-Eisenstadt, occasionally in Wiener Neustadt. In the taiji-schule Peter leads the advanced classes together with Christine.

Niko Leopold

Born 1985

It was the practice of Kyudo (jap.”the way of the bow”), which eventually triggered his interest in eastern martial arts. In search of balance and an authentic spiritual path, he discovered the art of taiji during his musical studies in Amsterdam in 2010. Luckily his first teacher Daniel Smith, a Yang-Style practitioner and Cheng Man Ching lineage descendent, was able to convey the Ying - Yang philosophy in a passionate manner, which nourished Niko’s fervor for the subject even more. This led to an intensive, daily, daoist ritual.

Since 2014 Niko regularly visits Patrick Kelly’s Nine Clouds Studio in Shanghai, as well as international taiji seminars. After desperately trying to find a similar school in Vienna, he eventually discovered the “Taiji Schule”. Here Niko has been training ever since, has taken over the web support role in 2018 and instructs beginners under Peter’s and Christine’s supervision since march 2020.


Brett Carnito

Portrait Brett Carnito

Born 1973

Brett started a decades-long preoccupation with the eastern martial arts in 1991, when he started training aikido at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois (USA). After moving to Austria (1998), the mutually supportive effects of an alternative therapeutic method (Touch for Health) and his ongoing practice persuaded Brett that there was more to training than technique. His instructor Jan Nevelius had often introduced concepts derived from taiji, but it was only after he lent Brett his copy of Wolfe Lowenthal's "There are No Secrets" that Brett understood taiji as something more than an abstraction.

Deepening interest in taiji led Brett to start training under Chaitanya Franz Pölzl and Madrina Rössler at the Shambhala Vienna (2005), where he soon encountered Patrick Kelly at a workshop in Vienna (2007) and, at one of Patrick's workshops in Zürich, Christine Schneider (2010). Brett began studying taiji under Christine's guidance when she founded the taiji-schule (2011).

Brett continues his practice at the taiji-schule to the present day, and regularly attends taiji workshops both within Austria and abroad. Additionally Brett supports the school in IT-related matters.

Chaitanya Franz Pölzl

Portrait Chaitanya Franz Pölzl

Born 1955

As an experienced practitioner and teacher of the art of Taiji, Chaitanya can look back on a career of more than 35 years. From 1999 − 2015 he was a student of Patrick Kelly. Ever since he has been a dedicated follower of Christine Schneider. His training in energy work under Michael Barnett, his many years of zen practice, and his engagement with Tibetan Buddhism count among his most important and influential experiences.

Chaitanya has taught taiji at the Shambhala Vienna since 1994, as well as regularly in Schleswig-Holstein and on Crete. Furthermore he is a board member of the IQTÖ (Representation of Interest of Qigong-, Taiji Quan- and Yi-Quan-Instructors Austria).

e-mail: franz.poelzl@iqtoe.at

Heribert Greiner

Born 1964

Heribert began his taiji training in Freiburg in 1991. To him taiji is primarily an “inner path”, a way of supporting a person’s spiritual development. In 1995 he began to study under Patrick Kelly, is now one of his senior teachers and teaches regularly at Patrick's school in Zurich.

Since 2013 Heribert has, together with Christine, lead the annual summer intensive week in Austria and Hungary.