When asked why Qi Gong is important to her, Angela MacLeod responds with confidence and clarity: “It’s the foundation of my life.” Like for so many of Lee’s students, Qi Gong has become a cornerstone of her daily schedule and an invaluable resource for her happiness and wellbeing.
Today, Angela loves teaching others the practices that have helped her, but her Qi Gong path started long before she stepped into the role of teacher. Over a lifetime of dance and somatic exploration and growth, Angela has learned not only how to help others in deep and meaningful ways, but also how to become personally empowered in a variety of ways through her Qi Gong practice. In this blog post, we’ll be sharing her story.
Discovering Qi Gong
Even though Angela didn’t start practicing Qi Gong regularly until a few years ago, she has been drawn to dance and somatic practices her entire life.
Angela first discovered a love of movement as a child dancing at the ocean shore with the waves.. For Angela, bringing her attention to the subtleties of her body and movement has always brought her to a place of deep connection with herself and the world. When movement was combined with the forces of nature, she felt a deep resonance with the universe.
Looking back, Angela realizes that her most healing and powerful experiences occurred in nature. She loved the opportunity to immerse herself in the ocean and move in sync with its profound grace and rhythms. When she looks back on those childhood times of dancing with the ocean, she realizes that the ocean was her first Qi Gong teacher.
Angela was introduced to Qi Gong in the 90s when a friend invited her to a class he was teaching. She enjoyed it, but didn’t stick with it at that time. Like for many of us, it took a challenging life experience for Angela to really delve in and start exploring the practice.
After many years of struggling with addiction and depression and finally finding her path of recovery, Angela wanted to include movement again on her healing journey. She sensed that Qi Gong might have just what she wanted. And although she didn’t remember the specific Qi Gong movements she had learned from her friend, she knew that the practice was based on the principle of flowing with nature.
Even though she didn’t have a human teacher, she committed herself to listening to the forces of nature as she moved her body. The guiding principles she followed included gentle, slow, spiraling movement, connected with deep breathing, and finding a state of flow. Without instruction from another person, she learned how to tune in to what her spirit needed.
After a few months, Angela decided that she wanted additional training. She asked a friend to recommend a Qi Gong teacher and was introduced to Lee’s online programs. She gave him a try and immediately knew she had discovered the right teacher for her.
It didn’t take long for Angela to delve deeper into Lee’s teachings. In May 2018 she began the Teacher Training program online and in August of 2018, she attended the Three Treasures Immersion live in Santa Cruz, California.
Angela already loved Qi Gong by the time she embarked on her teaching journey, but she wasn’t expecting the power she discovered. For her, the program was grounding, healing, and immensely transformative. She found that it helped her to reconnect with her past as a dancer, as well as to integrate her life’s experiences and challenges. In her words, “it felt like a time of blooming.” Two years later, Angela views the Holden QiGong Teacher Training program as one of the best experiences of her entire life.
Anyone who has gone through the program knows that it helps cultivate a deeper, more connected relationship to self. This manifests as greater awareness of personal experiences, and also mental and emotional patterns.
For Angela, this meant she was able to recognize her previous state of chronic stress and anxiety and transform it into calm and groundedness. Instead of being easily triggered into a reactive, anxious state by external circumstances, she learned how to stay centered within herself amid life’s more challenging situations.
Discovering these powerful practices prompted Angela to study the nervous system. Specifically, Angela wanted to understand more about how people become stuck in various nervous system responses, which often occur after trauma. She realized that Qi Gong is an invaluable tool for both bringing awareness to such patterns, as well as for healing them.
Angela saw that transforming deep-seated patterns could help people with a variety of mental health issues, including addiction. As she points out, the root cause of addictive behavior is often depression, chronic anxiety, and unresolved trauma. Since Qi Gong reveals a path to address these core drivers of unhealthy behaviors, it can be used to overcome them.
Teaching and Helping Others
As a Certified Kiloby Inquiries Facilitator, and a dance teacher, Angela already knew that she had a passion and a gift for helping others reconnect with their body for healing, growth and creative expression. Becoming a Holden QiGong Teacher blended perfectly with her path and provided wonderful tools for her to share with her clients and students.
Within the first few months of diving into the Five Elements, Angela started teaching one of her housemates. After completing all sixteen modules of the Five Elements and Three Treasures, she emailed her list of contacts to announce that she would be offering free Qi Gong classes in order to complete her required training hours to become certified.
Angela started off teaching twice per week, with her classes running about an hour and fifteen minutes long. She modeled her lesson structure off of Lee’s subscription classes. She spent about 30 minutes on Qi Gong warmups and 30 minutes teaching a flow sequence, ending with 15 minutes of guided meditation.
Once Angela completed her practice hours and acquired her certification, she sent out another email to her students to inform them of her progress and tell them that she was going to start charging money for her classes. Many of her students stuck around and continued learning from her.
Angela loves integrating the energies and lessons of each season into her classes. She also enjoys teaching workshops about Five Elements theory and the foundational principles of Qi Gong. Like any good teacher, she pays attention to what her students’ needs are and adjusts accordingly. Recognizing the desire for introductory classes, she occasionally offers six to eight week series, designed specifically to introduce new students to Qi Gong.
The knowledge and skills that Angela gained through the Teacher Training program allowed her to better serve the people she was already working with. As a mindfulness facilitator, she is able to use Qi Gong to help her clients become centered in their bodies and stabilize in presence — an important element in the self-inquiries process. As Angela points out, gentle movement can be a wonderful catalyst for cultivating a still and calm mind.
Angela’s clients and students include Alzheimer’s patients, those in addiction recovery, and local community members seeking resources and support for their own wellbeing. She has even shared her knowledge in a podcast, where she discusses nervous system regulation, Qi Gong, and addiction recovery. Although the current situation is preventing her from teaching in person, she is grateful to be able to continue offering her classes through Zoom.
While Angela has loved the opportunity to help others through her Qi Gong classes, her own practice has continued to flourish. For her, Qi Gong has become her foundational spiritual practice that provides clarity of purpose and alignment with the world around her. She also finds that it gives her more physical energy and vitality, allowing her to feel strong, flexible, and balanced. A wonderful bonus benefit is that regular Qi Gong practice has brought new movement capacities, and creative source to her dancing.
Holden QiGong Teacher Training Program
At Holden QiGong, we’re getting ready to welcome another group of students into our Teacher Training Program. As Angela’s story highlights, this program represents a wonderful opportunity to learn life-changing practices that empower, uplift, and transform.
The program is broken into two primary sections: the Five Elements and the Three Treasures. Together, they teach students how to learn from the elemental energies of nature and how to work with their own internal Qi to experience greater health, emotional balance, and spiritual clarity.
For Angela, the course framework, resource materials, and customer support team made the entire experience extraordinary. Not only did she love the lessons she learned, but also the process by which everything was delivered. The entire course is taught by Lee, so students can feel confident that all of the lessons will have his unique and original feel.
If you’re interested in learning more about the program and deciding if it’s right for you, click on the banner below. You can also check out Angela’s website by clicking here, or scroll down to the bottom of this page to enjoy a brief Heart Flow Qi Gong routine led by her.
From all of us at Holden QiGong, we’re grateful to have Angela in our community and look forward to celebrating more Qi together.
Written by Ian Drogin