From the moment I stepped into my first MogaDao class with Zhenevere eleven years ago, I knew I had found what my soul had been praying for: a careful, somatic practice of qigong and yoga that was infused with a coherent philosophy that would fully engage my intellect and spirit. From a young age I had been searching for sincere teachings that would integrate the power of my sexuality with my spiritual yearning. In Mogadao I found a practical methodology embedded within a unique atmosphere of both safety and exploration that enabled me to become more sensitive and sensually alive while connected to my inner truth.
I first began my study of taiji, qigong, and Traditional Chinese Medicine in England in the mid-1990's. Over the years I studied with various teachers, but never stuck with any of them. Without being able to articulate it, I always felt there was some depth and some deeper purpose to the practices that was missing. I met Zhenevere in 2012 when a friend recommended that I attend a men's workshop. Before signing up for the workshop, I went to a class at the Railyard to make sure that I felt the teacher was of integrity and had something to offer. From that first class I had no doubt - she was of the utmost integrity and most certainly had something to offer. What I had been missing in all my previous years of study and practice was present, and abundantly so.
The truth is really quite simple: I am more truly myself, and more fulfilled to be so, because of
MogaDao and the careful, care-filled guidance of Zhenevere Sophia Dao.
When I first came to MogaDao for a week long immersion, I was in a uniquely difficult, bordering
on crisis, place in my life. As I began practicing this Qigong, I could palpably feel trauma and
grief metabolizing in my body. By the end of the week,
My first experience of Zhenevere Sophia Dao, preceded her physical body, like so many others called to this tradition, and was initiated by my preliminary study of Qigong, afforded by a student's son who had studied with Zhenevere. The practices stayed with me, incredibly, for 14 years, until I had the opportunity to move to Santa Fe and begin study with Zhenevere in person. I knew through my very first conversation with Zhenevere that I had found a phenomenally unique individual, who encompassed an unparalleled and diversified knowledge of rigorous physical practice, original philosophy, embodied mysticism and deeply held integrity.
My experience of practicing in the vast techne of MogaDao, of studying the emerging philosophy of post-Daoism, and of training personally with Zhenevere Sophia Dao has been transformational in my life. I’ve become more centered in my own authenticity; I’ve cultivated a nuanced and embodied self-awareness; I’ve come to see through limitations and into possibilities I’d nearly given up on. Have I been stretched outside of my comfort zone? Yes. Thankfully. And always within an atmosphere of encouragement to answer the call to become, in this brief and precious life, the human I feel I was born to be.
Regarding the allegations against Zhenevere, I cannot but fall on my own experience at Mogadao and personal interactions with her. In 2019 there were multiple classes offered every day, at least 5 days a week for the entire year, taught by Zhenevere - I attended every single one of them. Throughout the whole year, my body would be taken over by an overwhelming feeling of being at the right place at the right time - I will never forget that new sensation of trusting myself so thoroughly. The orienting experience of coming back to myself as well as the disorienting experience of realizing I had forgotten myself in the past and I would continue to be disoriented as I brought my head to my body and heart. This experience would become a recurring phenomenon throughout my time at Mogadao, the reason I moved to Santa Fe.
Today, as I was preparing the paperwork to offer Mogadao Qigong classes at a local Senior Fitness Center a huge wave of continual gratitude came over me as I realized yet again how beneficial have been my 25 years of Qigong studyand training with Zhenevere Sophia Dao. My life has been completely inspired from our first encounter in Taos in 1995 to the present day of continued studies.
I began to study qigong with Zhenevere in 2005, in a precursor to today's school. When that school concluded, she asked us as a student body that if any of us were planning to continue the work, to continue to practice not because of her, the teacher, but because of the practices themselves. The practices have evolved into the richness of MogaDao Post-Daoist techne and philosophy. Zhenevere remains a focused, patient, and compassionate teacher. Even as the techne have multiplied and become more challenging to the body or the psyche, Zhenevere has created within class space and within workshops a respectful and safe container in which to make those personal inward or outward journeys.
I have known Zhenevere as a teacher since 2004, when I first began studying Morning Medical Qigong and Tai Chi in Portland, Oregon. I went on to attend almost every class that she taught from 2017 to 2020, including the Guan Teacher Training Program. The training at the MogaDao Institute was one of the most significant and meaningful periods of my life in terms of helping me to explore my life and relationship to my body so that I could find my own way. The classes in yoga, qigong, martial arts, poetry, meditation, sexuality, and philosophy were professional, intellectual, and physically demanding while always being conducted in an atmosphere of safety and integrity.
I moved to Santa Fe in 2018, quite frayed from un-healed developmental and biographical traumas, low self-esteem, and a desperation to feel and be fed by my own life force and passion. Within a month of arriving, fortuitous winds swept me through the doors of the Mogadao institute. Meeting Zhenevere Sophia Dao and the teachings of Post-Daoism came as a surprise; I wasn’t looking for a teacher and I didn’t know how much my soul needed this intellectual, spiritual, and physical challenge. As a counseling/psychology graduate student, I fell in love with Five-Realms theory and this cyclical, elemental way of approaching pathology and harmony. Post-Daoism also offered me a unique lens through which to understand trauma and the myriad ways we become disconnected from our life force energy. Through devoted practice to the various Mogadao techne, I’ve been on a profoundly embodied journey of rebuilding the connection to my own procreative power.
I stumbled into MogaDao at the beginning of 2019 during a deep depression—wrestling with debilitations from Lyme's disease (fatigue, nerve damage, brain fog)—disoriented in life. Years of spiritual study and practice seemed to have abandoned me in my crisis... even leaving me feeling ashamed of having the illness. Somehow, I had failed.
My first visit to MogaDao was a lecture on sexuality by Zhenevere. By the end of the class, I was awake in my soul. Zhenevere's ability to unwind the troubled territory of sexuality and spirituality filled me with hope. The clarity of what sexuality is with respect to the soul—coming from a transgendered women—allowed me to believe in something more than my cultural, bipolar view of puritans verses pornography (neither one felt right).
I first met Zhenevere Sophia Dao in the fall of 1997 right after I had moved from San Francisco to Taos, a casualty of the corporate world and on a search for something I could feel good about. I didn’t have the words for it then, but I was trying to find my heart and soul. I first met Zhen as Daniel Villasenor, an English teacher at UNM-Taos. Soon after, I learned she was also a Qigong teacher. I had no idea what that was.
I knew from our first phone call, when I inquired about her English classes, that something was different about her, and that I felt deeply seen during that phone call, even though we had not even met. Then her qigong classes rocked my world.
Zhenevere has shown me how to make my life so incredibly worth living. I have learned from her how to be a decent, kind and loving human being to a degree that I did not know existed before she showed me. Through her teachings she has shown me the imperative importance of how to not forsake how much we all truly need connection and one another; human-to-human and human connected to our Mother Earth. Zhenevere has shown me what a woman standing in her inviolable power looks like—Feels Like—and IS. She has graciously taught me how to whole heartedly embrace the paradox alive within me. Her teachings have liberated my life. Truly. I now, long to make love to my life and longingly anticipate my life making love to me. She has taught me how to be a decent, authentic human being who is not scared of her shadow, but rather embraces it with wide swept arms. I am now; thanks to her, a person - decent and true, who wants to LIVE a life worthy of the gifts that a sacred life brings. I wish to walk a life connected, intimately, with the sacredness of ALL.
I first became aware of MogaDao in 2017, enrolling in a depth sexuality series for male-identified people, who happened in this case to be all cisgender. I have lived a sheltered life in this dimension, so at first I had some questions and hesitation about “what goes on in there.” But my worries quickly evaporated as I found that teacher Zhenevere Sophia Dao, and her students, who were all men of rare integrity, intentionally maintained a relaxed environment free, of any kind of pressure to say or do anything. This class was of great value to me. I still have a keen interest in MogaDao’s Depth Sexuality work and have participated in various intensives and classes, but I have branched out into the other MogaDao “techne” which all feed each other in a well-balanced orchestration. I have derived particular benefit from the Qigong, Yoga, and martial arts practices. I have always been interested in mysticism, comparative religion and philosophy, and I find the thinking and methods to be sensible, insightful, fresh and profound. And they are inspiring!
“ How am I to train the Power in me”
Chuang Tzu—The Inner Chapters
I was fortunate to study qi gong, depth sexuality, yoga and meditation with Zhenevere Dao while the Mogadao Institute was still held in the Railyard Performance Center. Not only did these practices regulate my physical health but they deepened my abilities as an acupuncturist to see and treat my most complex patients. Most memorably, Zhenevere gave a definition of illness as “the death of unconscious health” in a workshop that I have since shared in countless encounters with both patients and students in my integrative palliative care clinics and trainings.