Greetings, Qi Gong community! My name is Ian. I’ve been writing the weekly blog articles at Holden QiGong for almost five years now.
Here’s a picture to put a face to my name:
Since I began working with Lee and the Holden QiGong team, I’ve written about numerous topics relating to Qi Gong and wellness. I’ve also interviewed many students and teachers in order to help share their stories with our community. Needless to say, I feel extremely grateful to be part of Holden QiGong’s important mission.
Today, I’m going to turn the microphone around and share my own Qi Gong journey.
How a Cup of Coffee Led Me to Qi Gong
I moved to Santa Cruz, California in the fall of 2016. I had just returned from Europe, where I had spent much of the summer sailing and climbing in the Greek islands.
I’ve always loved exploring. After finishing college, I spent a lot of time traveling and living in different places. On several occasions, I moved to the mountains to ski during the winter, and then spent the summer living out of my backpack.
My passion for exploration often expressed itself externally, but I was also interested in self-discovery. When I was twenty-four, I did a ten-day Vipassana meditation retreat in Thailand, which forever changed my life. After that, my love of travel persisted, but I also realized that the answers to many of life’s most important questions lie within.
A few weeks after moving to Santa Cruz, I was sitting in a local coffee shop enjoying a latte with my good friend, Spencer. He mentioned that he was thinking about attending a Qi Gong class later that day and invited me to join.
I had no idea what this strange practice was, but after a quick Google search, I decided to give it a try. I had zero expectations and a lot of curiosity.
A few hours later, we arrived at the ‘Chi Center’ and took off our shoes. A man walked into the room and introduced himself as Lee Holden. He seemed relaxed yet full of life. I listened intently as he talked about Qi Gong and instructed us to take a few deep breaths.
After breathing deeply, we did an exercise called Knocking on the Door of Life, which included rotating the body and tapping the hands on the lower abdomen and back (maybe you’ve done it before?). It felt good, but I was also slightly confused. I considered myself to be a pretty open-minded person, but what exactly were we doing? I was relieved that the classroom was on the third floor and no one could see me through the windows.
After a few more strange ‘Activating’ exercises, Lee guided us into movements which he called ‘Flows.’ This is where things really got exciting.
Within 30-seconds of starting the Flow exercises, I felt my energy shift. My mind became calm, my nervous system relaxed, and I could feel a distinct energy moving throughout my body. I listened to Lee’s voice as he invited the class to move deeper into our state of effortless flow. In some ways, it felt similar to surfing, even though I was standing in one place. With each moment that passed, I experienced the energy growing stronger and stronger within my body.
Following Lee’s prompts, I attempted to circulate this energy he referred to as “Qi,” to different parts of my body. It seemed as though each cell filled with Qi and became infused with pure vitality. Within minutes, my entire body felt relaxed yet energized. I knew that I had just discovered something very special.
When the class ended, I approached Lee and introduced myself. I expressed my appreciation and told him I’d return. After that, I began to regularly attend his in-person classes, and also started watching Qi Gong videos at home.
Becoming Part of the Holden QiGong Team
As I continued practicing Qi Gong, I discovered more and more ways it could benefit me. Emotionally, it helped me feel inspired, yet grounded. Mentally, it allowed me to focus and concentrate when my mind was running wild. If I felt upset or stressed out, the practice empowered me to release old energy and return to a calm and centered state of being. Over time, I realized that there are literally limitless ways in which Qi Gong can help people live better lives.
I continued to attend Lee’s classes and got to know him better. During this period, Lee was seeking to build a team to share qi gong more widely, which was spearheaded by Ben Cox. I had experience writing articles for sailing magazines and had a passion for Qi Gong. After a few conversations, we all decided that it made sense for me to write the weekly blog articles for Holden QiGong. A few others, including Robin and Chen, also had early roles with Holden QiGong and are still with the team today.
As the blog writer, my job is to interview Lee on various topics related to Qi Gong and wellness. I’ve cherish the opportunity to speak with Lee on a regular basis and distill his knowledge into helpful blog articles to share with our community. Needless to say, my role as a writer has taught me volumes about Qi Gong and overall wellbeing.
Since becoming part of Lee’s team, I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in his many workshops, courses, and immersion programs. These experiences have further deepened my practice and enabled me to learn numerous styles of Qi Gong. Like any dedicated practitioner, I’m constantly integrating new lessons and insights into my daily practice.
Not surprisingly, the Holden QiGong Teacher Training program was a pivotal experience in my path as a Qi Gong practitioner. To me, the Five Elements and Three Treasures was an exciting exploration of self. Not only did I learn about different parts of who I am, but I also gained invaluable tools for thriving throughout life’s varied experiences.
As the Holden QiGong team has grown, I’ve taken on some additional responsibilities. Today, I work with about twenty other team members, all of whom I appreciate very much. It feels great to be part of an organization in which everyone’s unique skills and perspectives are valued.
In addition to practicing Qi Gong, I continue to love playing outside and traveling. Some of my favorite activities include surfing, backpacking, skiing, sailing, whitewater rafting, and dancing. Naturally, I feel that the energies I cultivate through Qi Gong are present throughout all of life’s experiences.
I’m grateful to be part of our global community and look forward to celebrating more Qi together.