Ashley Baldwin @ashley_tqhqigong - Qigong instructor / by daphne youree

Meet Ashley Baldwin @ashley_tqhqigong -a qigong instructor and holistic lifestyle educator in Thailand. Here’s her incredible journey:
“My story is pretty simple. Growing up, I was surrounded by strong women, women who fought hard to earn positions of power and leadership. From their experiences, I absorbed the lesson that we live in a "man's world," that women need to go above and beyond, proving their super-intelligence, fierceness, and ultra-competence to get what they want.
I never liked that. I usually stayed quiet, looping my way through the mainstream system in alternative ways, instead of fighting for my place in it. Whether due to my recklessness or some seriously roundabout inner-wisdom, I tumbled through a series of accidents that landed me in Thailand, where I've been studying a form of medical qigong the past three years. And actually, that alternative environment is where I am learning to become a leader -- without fighting.
Teaching men and women requires different skills. Some of what I do looks like martial arts, but its purpose is completely different. The motions are never motivated by anger, fear, or panic. Instead, you learn that your body is strongest, can gain the most momentum and force, when it is relaxed. And to have a relaxed body, you need to have a relaxed mind.
Men usually struggle with this more than women. It's not a judgment. It's just my experience. I enjoy teaching people that it's not muscles and brute force that makes a motion strong, but the precision, timing, and skillful effort that comes with relaxed mental clarity. There's no greater confidence-booster than being able to gain strength from calmness, rather than anger or fear.
When you cultivate habits of healthy motion with a relaxed mind, through punching, defending, whatever, you're set to handle a whole lot of other real life situations. Your body becomes a microcosm of the world. You learn that when you react with anger or complete tightness to stress -- that's when you lose your power. And for women, knowing a little self-defence doesn't hurt, either.”