Two and a half years ago, Emily considered herself to be a workaholic. As a single mother and driven professional, her life comprised of working long hours and being a parent. Reflecting on her past, Emily realizes that stress and anxiety weren’t just occasional experiences that she encountered. Rather, they had become part of her baseline state of existence. 

Two years ago, Emily experienced a traumatic event that would forever change her life. She fell off a horse while riding and suffered a severe concussion and back sprain. Immediately, the injury forced her to slow down to a pace that was completely unfamiliar to her. She was unable to work for three months, and her daily life became painful and difficult. 

Concussions can have a wide range of symptoms and severity. For Emily, she experienced intense headaches, sensitivity to light and sound and an inability to concentrate. Her injury also negatively impacted her emotional stability and groundedness. 

Shortly after the incident, Emily discovered Lee’s Tao Yin program on YogaGlo. She gave it a try and was immediately blown away by the positive results she experienced. Very quickly after starting to practice Qi Gong, her sleep improved as she was no longer in as much pain from her back injury and was able to stop taking pain medications. She also found that the exercises were extremely helpful for addressing her concussion symptoms, allowing her to regain clear thinking when her mind felt foggy. It also improved her ability to cope emotionally. After a rapid transformation with Tao Yin, Emily knew that there had to be more. She soon signed up for Lee’s online Five Elements Immersion Program. 

If Tao Yin awakened her to the healing power of Qi Gong, the Five Elements Immersion elevated her practice to the next level. She was amazed by the depth of teaching that Lee shared, and found many new practices that helped her with her healing journey. 

While her initial interest in Qi Gong was based on her own needs, a new and exciting thought soon emerged… what if she could start teaching others the practices she was learning? Around that time she realized that the Five Elements was one of the critical steps to becoming a Qi Gong teacher. Needless to say, after the immersion, Emily knew she was going to keep taking more steps along the path she had discovered.

For many dedicated Qi Gong practitioners, the Three Treasures is the natural progression after completing the Five Elements. For the Three Treasures, Emily decided to travel all the way from New Zealand to California to train with Lee. 

She found that the Three Treasures really built on the skill set she had learned in the Five Elements. While the Five Elements is really about understanding the elemental energies that exist within each of us, the Three Treasures prompts students to delve deeply into the essence of who they are. She learned about her physical energy (Jing), emotional energy (Qi), and spiritual consciousness (Shen). She also learned powerful practices for cultivating and circulating those energies within her to bring vitality and health to all parts of her being. After an injury that affected both her mental and emotional wellbeing, she found these practices to be extremely nourishing and healing.

Like any inspired Qi Gong practitioner, Emily wanted others to experience what she had discovered. After returning to New Zealand as a Holden QiGong accredited teacher, she started to share the practices with her friends. At first, she offered free classes at a local park in her town. Not surprisingly, strangers who were walking by quickly joined to see what she was doing. One of these passerbys happened to already be a big fan of Lee’s.

Emily also started offering corporate classes where employees have found Qi Gong to be a wonderful practice for letting go of stress and recharging their energy during long workdays. The feedback she’s received has been very positive, and it always makes her feel great to read messages of gratitude from her students. As any Qi Gong teacher knows, the practice has a profound ability to touch people at the core of their being, making it a powerful gift to share with others.

Now Emily teaches a mix of community classes, corporate classes and in schools. She finds all of these opportunities to be deeply fulfilling for her.

When asked how Qi Gong has affected her, her response is clear: It has profoundly impacted all aspects of her life. In Emily’s own words, “it’s my secret weapon to feeling amazing!”

Emotionally, it helps her to feel positive and uplifted throughout life’s challenges. As she puts it, Qi Gong is the difference between wanting to curl up on the couch and enjoying life. It allows her to not take things too seriously, and to feel positive when situations could otherwise be stressful. In essence, the practice has allowed her to move from “survive” mode into “thrive” mode. 

Qi Gong has also allowed her to cultivate a broader perspective for life. She realizes that before her accident she was so used to feeling stressed out that it had become part of her “comfort zone.” It wasn’t that non-stop action was best for her, but rather, she didn’t really know how to be otherwise. Today, Emily understands how to be happy in stillness and peace and doesn’t require a constant overload of stress to feel “comfortable”. Instead of endless work days and frantic parenting, Emily is now able to choose a life that is balanced and healthy. Since her recovery, she’s decided to work twenty hours a week at her job as a designer, teach Qi Gong classes, and spend more time as a mom.

Although the immersion programs offer lot of Qi Gong in a short amount of time, Emily realizes that it’s essential to stay consistent with her practice. She views Qi Gong as her “medicine” that helps her to be her best self on a daily basis. As any regular Qi Gong practitioner knows, the practice helps you to become very sensitive to your own internal energy. She can tell when she’s missed too many Qi Gong sessions and starts to lose touch with herself. In fact, her children can tell also and will remind her “mom, go do some Qi Gong.” By staying consistent, she’s able to enjoy a positive and fulfilling way of life. 

What’s Next For Emily


Next week, Emily will be traveling to Santa Cruz to take her tier-two Teacher Training with Lee. She’ll be traveling with her good friend and fellow Qi Gong practitioner, Sharon Nepe, who we wrote about in one of our recent blog posts. 

Emily has appreciated the opportunity to connect with other practitioners through the Teacher Training Program, and is excited to meet more teachers in person in Santa Cruz. She especially likes learning all of the different styles of teaching that each person has to offer. 

At Holden QiGong, we are both grateful for Emily’s presence in our community, as well as inspired by her powerful story. We’re very much looking forward to meeting her in Santa Cruz and continuing to be part of her exciting journey.

To learn more about Emily or to connect with her, check out her website at  

Also, click on the banner below to learn more about the Holden QiGong Teacher Training Program that Emily experienced:



Written by Ian Drogin