Cultivating consciousness is at the heart of the Zhineng Qigong theory and practice. Qigong activates the conscious mind, which awakens expanded perception, mindfulness and self-realization. The body and mind are engaged and united, which naturally creates an exquisite opportunity for healing on all levels.


Born in Montreal, Canada, Martha’s family moved to California when she was a baby. Most of her years growing up were spent in Southern California. When she was 8 her father passed away which led her to find refuge in the natural world. The blue sky, the trees, the earth and the ocean is where she felt at home and perhaps this was the beginning of her qigong practice.

Martha married and moved to the forests of Oregon where she had two children. Seven years later she returned to California. While raising her children alone she experienced a relentless desire to understand more about the human psyche, particularly ways to relieve suffering. She tried different methods of being in connection with the natural world, a variety of yoga systems, meditation and spiritual practices. Martha also discovered that Western medicine did not have the desired effect for her and it became essential that she find ways to stay healthy with alternative methods.

She then began a new chapter with her new husband, Leonard, and her growing children. They built a home in the hills of San Diego where they developed a unique California native landscape on their property along with organic orchards and vegetable gardens. Martha and Leonard became very involved in local environmental issues and co-founded a non-profit land conservation organization to preserve and restore the Escondido Creek watershed. Martha also developed her career in habitat restoration for California endangered plant and animal species.

Despite “success” in many areas of her life, Martha intuitively felt that there was still something special to be discovered. It was then that life took a turn that led to a transformational healing path. A car accident led Martha to an acupuncturist for help in healing her minor injuries. She invited Martha to attend internal martial arts classes to strengthen her body and discover the benefits of internal Chinese arts. Martha began a 10-year study and practice of the internal arts Xing Yi Quan and Bagua Zhang that included classes of Tui Na, as well as Qi, Yin/Yang and Five Elements theory. She was also introduced to different qigong forms which awakened a deep curiosity. Martha’s martial arts teacher encouraged her to follow a path that would lead to a local qigong teacher. Martha visited and practiced with a variety of qigong teachers for a few years and learned important lessons from each one of them. She feels abundant and undying gratitude for all teachers including her original martial arts teacher.

“The key to growth is the introduction of higher dimensions of consciousness into our awareness.
– Lao Tzu

It was Teacher Fay McGrew who introduced Martha to Zhineng Qigong. After her first Zhineng Qigong weekend workshop, she knew the search was over, she had found a practice that would encompass all she had been looking for. She was eager to learn how to cultivate qi. Awakening inherent abilities for healing through connecting with the natural world resonated deeply. Martha felt like she had come home at last.

In 2005, Martha and Leonard took their first trip to China for a month-long retreat with Zhineng Qigong Teacher Mingtong Gu. That full immersion into qigong practice and theory was profoundly transformational. She took a deep dive into the Wisdom Healing Qigong teacher training program and was certified as a teacher in 2007. The same year she returned to China to attend a second retreat and ask for blessings to begin teaching Zhineng Qigong. She traveled home with confidence which supported her to start a program for Western students. Martha and Leonard then built a qigong studio on their property using straw bale construction. This studio has become a qi sanctuary for many Qigong for Life practitioners.

Some beloved qigong friends invited Martha to meet Zhineng Qigong Teacher Jane Jin. Martha’s curiosity was piqued. She was struck by Jane’s way of sharing the depth of qigong theory that was easy to understand and felt like a soothing balm. Martha joined Jane’s core group of students in her Advanced Qigong Program. A new type of transformation began. Jane’s profoundly kind, dedicated and compassionate way of teaching fed Martha’s soul. The core group stayed together, meeting weekly, for over 5 years.

Martha’s many devoted teachers helped influence the way she shares Zhineng Qigong today. Her teaching style is kind, compassionate, direct, patient, fun and filled with nuance and depth. Being with Martha inspires practitioners to cultivate kindness and compassion for themselves, their families and communities. She gently reminds us that qigong will always support us in discovering our own self-healing abilities on all levels.

Martha’s primary Zhineng Qigong teachers:

Fay McGrew

Mingtong Gu

Jane Jin

Yuantong Liu

Jianshe Liu