We had the good fortune of connecting with Lea Williamson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Lea, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
Apparently Floridians exude a particular essence because for years when I introduce myself as a Space Coast, Florida native the response is, “I can see that. You have that Florida vibe.” I like to think it’s a vibe of relaxation and openness to playing in the outdoors. Before big houses became the norm in Florida, the small house lifestyle was typical because most of one’s time was spent outside enjoying the plentiful outdoor activities that can be enjoyed year-round here.

That’s how I was raised: pure Florida wild child. All the kids in my neighborhood would get the boot out of the house after Saturday morning chores were done and we spent the rest of our weekends (and holidays and summers) running free in the nearby orange groves or century old wooded cemetery. Without my neighborhood playmates, I would ride my bike to the Indian River and fish or to the Merritt Island Wildlife Refuge and explore both on and off the trails. Before the internet, before cell phones, I really didn’t know anyone my age that wasn’t into playing outside, alone or with others. It didn’t matter if it was raining, blazing hot or in our minds colder than the arctic outside. We grew up using our legs and our lungs running, yelling, singing in the wilder places we could easily get to without helicopter moms or cameras.

This outdoor Florida lifestyle molded me into someone who loves playing in nature. In fact, that’s a major part of who I am and how I define myself. When I started my tai chi community, BeachsideQigong.com, it didn’t even occur to me to hold classes indoors. Outside somewhere was where I had mostly practiced tai chi for the past 20 years so it was natural to host my first class at my favorite nearby park, Gleason Park in Indian Harbor Beach. Local parks are still my utilized teaching venue even though I have hosted workshops and classes at indoor facilities. Most participants say they prefer being outside for class, even when it’s drizzly or cold. It was certainly a blessing during the COVID lockdowns to already have established classes outside that were allowed to continue under the governor’s “Essential Services” lockdown exemption. We never stopped our outdoor tai chi and qigong classes and every person who continued to attend said it saved them mentally to have this one solid connection to people and a sense of stability through the consistently of the practices. I must confess that my own personal daily qigong practice is what gives me a sense of stability and continuity in a world that is changing more and more rapidly.

Being raised with the outdoor Florida lifestyle has shaped how I lead both my personal and business life. I’m fortunate that I’ve often been able to combine the two and offer outdoor workshops, classes and retreats that help put others back in touch with the healing power of nature. After COVID effectively shut down the launch of my first book Surfing the Sea of Chi, half a year later I was able to offer the first Surfing Chi Workshop and Social on Melbourne Beach. What a blessing to connect people who, like me, were afraid of going in the ocean, to its healing power through the art of surfing. Once I realized that surfing uses the same elements as tai chi (stances, breath work, feeling the movement of energy, flow) a few others have been able to overcome their own fear because of the familiarity of doing many of the same things in the water when surfing as we do on land when practicing tai chi. In both we learn to move like water and in so doing we begin to flow with our own natural rhythms and live genuinely as ourselves. It’s quite powerful. None of this would exist if it hadn’t been for being raised a Florida wild child! I’m so grateful that I grew up without the internet and know how to still enjoy the world without it, untethered and free!

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business, BeachsideQigong.com, started because I did not find a chi community where I was living, so I started my own. It began as a very casual, part time venture and has blossomed into a YouTube channel, a dedicated website and blog as well as spilled over into my first book. It’s been very slow growing because I’ve done it through years and worked only when I feel inspired to. BeachsideQigong.com tai chi and qigong classes are actually fun exercise. Having taken loads of classes from other teachers through the decades I found that most teachers have a very strict, old-school mentality to teaching these arts. What sets our classes apart is the fun aspect. Taking care of ourselves doesn’t have to be grueling or a chore. It can became a welcome and fun part of our every day routine and that’s what all my endeavors, including my book, are about: inspiring others to live their best life.


Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If a friend visits me when I’m in the Melbourne area (I live between two states now), first we’d have sunrise meditation on the beach followed by brunch at one of the cafes on 5th Avenue in Indialantic. The rest of the day might be spent exploring Turkey Creek by paddle board, visiting Pelican Island, the world’s only nesting place for white pelicans or perhaps just a leisurely beach day. Dinner would be at my favorite restaurant, Thai Thai Bistro in Indian Harbor Beach. What a fun day! When do we go?!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’m grateful for the support of all those in my chi family and at BAMCommunity11.com who’ve encouraged and supported me and my efforts. I’m also extremely grateful for The Work of Byron Katie which has helped free my mind and recognize there are no enemies, only friends who are teaching me the defenses I’m hanging onto.

Website: Www.BeachsideQigong.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SurfingtheSeaOfChi

Youtube: https://youtube.com/channel/UCydkPhN5NA1arrNGSwarx-w

Other: BeachsideQi@gmail.com

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