After graduating from a top sports academy in Shanghai, Ye Yongxiang worked as a Taiji instructor.
In 2014, she competed in the Hong Kong Wushu Championship. After earning gold medals in all three main Taiji events, Ye became China's youngest Taiji master.
Determined to share Taiji with a wider audience, she then went to study humanities at the Queen Mary University of London.
Ye Yongxiang said: "Taiji is more than a set of martial skills. It embodies a coherent code about how to live and how to conduct yourself. It's not merely about kicking and punching. It's a mental process."
For Ye Yongxiang, Taiji is a way to integrate the body and mind. In pursuing the wholeness of the self through Taiji, she has come to learn perseverance, forbearance, and focus.
Early in 2017, Ye Yongxiang set up her own Taiji studio in Shanghai.
Tapping into the country's fast-growing online community, she began using video streaming to teach the martial art. But the plan didn’t run smoothly at first. "I felt a lot of stress when I first started my studio. There's a lot of rejection,” she said, “Some suggested that I'm too young and lack seniority. And some simply dismissed me as nothing but a pretty face."