In 2011, while writing her dissertation, Felicia discovered a lump in her breast. At 39 years old and as an Asian, Felicia had less than a 0.5 percent chance of having breast cancer. Along with the cancer, however, came profound life-altering perspectives, experiences and gifts.
Amid chemotherapy, surgery, radiation and seemingly impossible life and death choices, Felicia found her oasis, her greatest passion and purpose — QiGong, an ancient healing internal energy art form. In 2011, Felicia was certified as a QiGong and tai chi instructor. In 2013, she earned her Ph.D. in East Asian studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, and in 2014 Felicia received a Radiant Lotus Women’s QiGong instructor certification.
QiGong, a playful invitation to moving meditation, is a path for finding peace, healing and transformation — and not only rehabilitation, but reinvention. The practice includes ancient forms known as animal frolics (Wu Qin Xi). Each shares wisdom: The crane models living with an open heart; the bear reveals how to let the earth cradle us in fear and grief; the monkey’s approach to life, change and impermanence teaches us to face the unknown, not with just trepidation, but curiosity and humor.
Felicia also teaches women’s QiGong, which encourages people to love and accept the body. QiGong has been Felicia’s path to achieving peace, empowerment and well-being, and she is delighted to share it with you!
What is your favorite form of mind body movement or lesson you teach, and why?
My favorite form to practice and teach is the Radiant Lotus Rises. In Chinese cultures, the lotus symbolizes the ability of flowers to bloom wherever they are planted.
The lotus is especially known for growing in the dredges of the earth, where nothing else survives, and rising out of the water untainted and pure. It thus symbolizes each of our potential to rise and face all of our challenges with ease and confidence. The lotus transforms through an endless process of letting go, and from drawing strength from the mud of its life experiences. As monk Thich Nhat Hanh says, “No mud, no lotus.” It is from the challenges that true character is forged. In this way, the form not only works with the physical body, but also serves to balance emotions, calm the mind and heal the spirit.
What is your favorite song or type of music you listen to when teaching?
I love Nawang Khechog’s “Tibetan Meditation.” It was my late teacher Paul Russel’s favorite CD to play. It contains Tibetan meditations and prayers, and I love the way it incorporates some chanting, with music and also nature. One of the songs has a thunderstorm, which is believed in traditional Chinese medicine to be good for the body systems, particularly the kidneys.
What inspires you?
My students never cease to inspire me! They are so full of courage, strength and determination. Many have serious health challenges and continue committing to coming to class. I love the humor and play when we gather. The older participants have such wisdom, and the younger participants have such energy and fire. Our energies really balance each other out and support each other well.
But what really moves me is how kind students are to each other. That never ceases to inspire and awe me and always makes my day!
What is a quote or mantra that you live by?
“Today is the best day in my life. For today is the only day and the only moment that I can truly experience and live.”
What is your haven?
QiGong and the beautiful people who come to practice with me are my haven.
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