Archive for June, 2019

Tai Chi Notes, June 18, 2019

Jun 18 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

This Saturday, my teacher reviewed my form. Notes from that:

  • At end of Oblique Posture, my right arm was a little far back.
  • When doing Reverse with Spiraling Forearms, have my hand circle back more.
  • Always look where I’m kicking. (I was looking away during Kick with the Left Heel.)
  • My arms are going too high when doing the two blocks in Flash the Back.
  • I should work even more on connecting my movements.

And we started the Jian on Saturday; we’ll see if the whole thing sticks this time, it didn’t the last time I tried to learn it. But I also feel like I need to rearrange my Sunday practice time if I’m really going to keep all these forms in my head; and I’m not at all sure whether I should do that or try to learn the Lao Jia First Form plus one other form and let the others fall to the side or just spend almost all my time on the Lao Jia First Form. Though I’m pretty sure the real answer is that my main problem is that I don’t practice Tai Chi enough times during the week…

I ran into an interesting article from the Gokhale folks about cultural differences leading to physical differences in sitting meditation. I’ve been doing that more, and I don’t feel great about my lower back there, so I bought a meditation pillow on Monday; we’ll see if that helps.

Okay Lotus practice on Sunday and Monday; up to 19 minutes of Wu Ji again, I’ll try 20 on Thursday. Though I was also listening to a podcast episode of Damo’s on Monday where he mentioned that even doing Wu Ji an hour a day is only the beginning, so I should keep on cranking it up! But hey, if I can increase my duration a minute each week, then a year from now, I’ll be at the hour mark; more motivation to just keep chipping away.

Not as much energy as normal during Tai Chi class this evening, and my knees felt a little off; not sure why. Also I was noticing that my hands are a little low when stepping back during the initial Jin Gang, and also I should probably turn out my right foot more there.

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Tai Chi Notes, June 15, 2019

Jun 15 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

I was busy evenings this week, so late notes! I’m not going to talk about today, I’ll put that in next Tuesday’s notes.

On Thursday, I did Wu Ji like normal (well, almost like normal, it was later in the afternoon than normal), with Ji Ben Qi Gong after that. And, for whatever reason, I felt different (more energy popping up in my body) for something like two days after that? Which was good news: I’d kind of been feeling like I was on a downward trajectory since the seminar ended, so it’s good to know that I can have sustained upward bits too.

The next question is: how can I do that again? Might have been a fluke, might have been doing Ji Ben Qi Gong instead of Animal Frolics, might have been something less obvious (the time of day??). For now I’m going to switch to alternating Ji Ben Qi Gong with Animal Frolics, instead of doing two-thirds Frolics and one third Qi Gong.

On Saturday, it was my turn to lead Silk Reeling and the first time through the form. I think it went well? One of the senior students mentioned after that that, when doing the block with my left hand in Flash the Back, my elbow is above my hand, so that’s something to work on.

On Sunday, when practicing, I started to feel not so great about about how I do Thrust the Right / Left Foot: I’m not really putting in energy in either the push or the kick. So I’ll work on putting more force into both of those.

On Monday (I think, maybe it was Friday?), I was listening to an episode of Mitchell’s podcast and I decided to practice sinking my Qi while walking around, and I think I’m getting to where I can fairly quickly and reliably sink it to about the height of my bottom of my sternum? Whereas, once it hits that level I can sink it further, but that’s quite a bit slower and less reliable. And, perceptually, it kind of feels like there’s a V shape going down, so I should aim at reliably drilling it down further? Not actually sure that what’s going on there is really the same thing as sinking the Qi, I should try paying attention in other circumstances where I have a slightly better feel for the latter. So it might just be physical relaxation of muscles inside my body; or maybe that’s all that sinking the Qi is… But I think it’s probably a good thing either way – even if it’s just relaxing, being able to easily get relaxed that way seems good, and working on improving that also seems useful.

On Tuesday, it was my next time to do Ji Ben Qi Gong after Thursday; and, unfortunately I didn’t have the same persistent experience. So, whatever’s going on, it’s not as simple as Ji Ben Qi Gong reliably triggering that. The one interesting thing that happened then was that Compressing the Pearl felt quite a bit more physical than it normally does, like there was real resistance there; I feel like I’ve experienced that in a class but not during my normal practice. And, incidentally, I’m definitely glad that I’ve stuck in bits of Wu Ji between each of the exercises there, that feels helpful.

I skipped Tai Chi class on Tuesday evening, because of other stuff that was going on. And I skipped Wu Ji on Thursday, because I was super sleepy and was almost positive that I wouldn’t be able to put in anything like a productive session…

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Tai Chi Notes, June 4, 2019

Jun 04 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

On Thursday, Wu Ji practice started rough, but it got easier maybe five minutes in, and stayed fine after that. Not sure what happened, whether I changed my positioning or something, and, if so, whether I changed it in a good way or in a bad way! And, jumping ahead, on Sunday it was actually basically fine the whole time. I was experimenting a little bit, and maybe I did a better job of lowering myself down like I was sitting on a stool instead of on a chair?

On the Saturday class, I asked about opening your live gate, and my teacher confirmed that you’re supposed to open it in all directions, sideways as well as up and down. Which was what I’d thought from the Damo Mitchell course, whereas before that I’d been thinking it was more just an up and down thing. I also asked about the move right at the end where you lowered my hands: it reminded me of cleansing, but that’s not the intention, the energy is supposed to end in your hands and feet instead of going out of your body. (And it doesn’t start as high, either, it starts at your collarbone instead of the top of / above your head.)

When moving back to the right after Protecting the Heart Fist, I noticed my teacher raising the toe of his left foot but then putting it down in the same orientation. He said that, if you want to do a wider or narrower kick after that, you could turn your foot a little out or in, but in general doing a weight shift off and back onto that foot and then having it end up in the same position is fine.

Not as long a Tai Chi practice on Sunday as would be ideal, but the Lotus practice was good. And doing an hour of meditation in the morning (40 minutes lying down, 20 minutes sitting) helped too.

I’ve been spending some of the week working on neck positioning, having it further back (and hopefully going up more) than I have been. And I’m experimenting with actively stretching it up a bit; not 100% sure if that’s a good idea, and even if it is, I want to balance that against having my pelvis weighting it down, so I don’t get uprooted. In general, I’m trying to spend more time actively maintaining a good (but still relaxed!) position, so I can preserve energy better, since it’s continuing to go away…

I was really sleepy today, so I napped over lunch instead of doing my Neigong practice; I think that was the right choice (or rather, the wrong choice was going to bed late the previous night), it did give me enough energy for the afternoon and for Tai Chi class that night. It was a between-semester week for Tai Chi, so we were out in the courtyard; I decided to spend the first 20 minutes doing Wu Ji in the style of my Tai Chi teacher instead of the Lotus Neigong style. I didn’t feel so much energy, and there was more tension on my calf; maybe the latter is a side effect of being higher? (Whereas if I’m lower, the strain is on my thighs.) Not sure.

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