Nei Gong Notes, November 29, 2022

Nov 29 2022

Surprisingly interesting week. Health-wise, my sleep has been okay, but not as good as it was the previous two weeks, which was a bit of a disappointment. Though on Wednesday my stomach felt surprisingly good, even though I’d eaten spicy food for dinner; I’d done a 40 minute Liver Hui Chun session that day, I wonder if that was linked? And then my stomach felt surprisingly off on Thursday, though actually I think “surprisingly off” meant “back to my baseline of how I’d been feeling for the last few years”; I wonder if what I ate for breakfast was relevant, I might want to pay more attention to how food is affecting me. Also in terms of things that were a bit of a disappointment, I did a decent length Jing Gong session on Friday, and I didn’t really feel any bouncing inside.

But then when I went in for my appointment on Friday, Dr. Yang said that my Liver was doing very well, so that was good to hear? Hopefully that means that my sleep will get better again soon.

He also mentioned that one factor in my Kidney issues was that there was a place in my spine where it was getting blocked. Which didn’t surprise me, I’d noticed a couple of months back that there was a spot at about where Dr. Yang was pointing where I didn’t have the flexibility / sensation that I expected. So that was something I’d been thinking anyways that it would be good to have fixed; and I’m happy to have Dr. Yang help with that.

That reminded me of the video on the Clipping Passes from Damo’s public Microcosmic Orbit series: I remember that making my back feel good when I went through it before, and I thought one of the clipping passes was in about the right place. So I watched that on Sunday, and I figure I’ll try going through that most days for a while. Which actually does mean that I’ve got a bit of pressure on what I do with my practice time, because I also want to keep on doing Hui Chun exercises and to do Self-Healing exercises; I am managing to do two sitting exercises on some days, but still, maybe not great? In practice, I think it means that I’m not doing nearly as much Hui Chun as I have been (though I’ll still make sure to do a couple of 40 minute sessions a week); we’ll see what comes of that. Hopefully I’ll be able to open up my spine soon and then I can stop doing that one. (And hopefully opening it up will help my energy levels!)

As to the Self-Healing exercise, I haven’t been doing it every day, and when I’ve been doing it, I’ve switched it to my knee sometimes and my ankle sometimes. I’ve actually been getting unusual ankle pain this last week; first in my right ankle, though that went away after a bit, and more recently in my left ankle. I think my posture has maybe been changing a little bit, at least when I’m doing standing practice; hopefully the ankle issues are just a temporary reaction to that? They don’t seem to be particularly chronic, so that’s good, at least; and actually my right knee is doing better recently too. But I can’t give any credit to the Self-Healing exercise for any of that, I haven’t been doing it enough on those body parts to have any real effect, I think. (And that also means that it’ll be hard for me to tell if it has any effect at all, because clearly the baseline level of variation in the aches and pains in my body is high these days!)

In terms of standing practice: that has been very interesting. I mentioned a posture change above; I’m sinking into my left Kua more, and I think that’s helping me be less shifted to one side while still feeling like my weight is balanced between both feet. So hopefully I can develop that habit, and maybe it’ll even help with my spine alignment.

And that had me paying more attention and experimenting more with where my weight was landing, and one day, at the end of my Wu Ji, I noticed that, when I landed on my Yongquan, I felt a noticeable amount of upward force in my legs. (Enough that I actually felt a little uprooted; makes me wonder how I should balance that with sinking.) So the next day I did a longer Wu Ji session and I started trying to recapture that feeling right from the beginning; I did manage to get to the right weight location fairly quickly. And, as I stayed there for a while, my legs started feeling really energized: staying up on their own, and I kind of felt like a stick figure with lines of force going through them.

So that was pretty interesting, but it was also localized in the lower half of my body more than I would have liked. So, after 20 minutes or so, I decided to stretch up my head a bit, and rotate it forward slightly as well. And wow, that was surprisingly effective: I started feeling the same sort of energy in my head, arms, and upper torso. And my arms and the tops of my shoulders wanted to spread in response to that pull; so I just let them, and I ended up feeling like I had a ton more space in my shoulders / armpit. (And my arms ended up pretty wide, too.)

With that, both the top and bottom of my body felt more energized than they ever have while I was doing Wu Ji. There was a gap, though, which was basically my back / spine. I did wonder if some of that was related to the spine blockage I mentioned earlier; I did try pulling my head up more and I could feel the energy make it further down my spine, so that’s another thing to try, it might just be garden-variety collapsing.

At any rate, I definitely want to experiment with that more; I’m going to do Wu Ji as the standing part of my daily exercise almost every day this week, to see if I can build on that. Today was interesting; I didn’t feel as strongly energized as on Sunday, either on the top or bottom of my body, or feel as strong a stretch in my arms, but I did feel some of both. But what I did feel was the energy starting to make it up my spine from the bottom, not just down from the top; and when I relaxed more, my spine stretched up on its own more. (Which is something I’ve felt, Qi inflating it.) That seems like a better way to get energy going through my spine than yanking on it from the top, so I’ll definitely want to try to keep on doing that; though if I can get my whole spine feeling energized by yanking on both ends, then that’s what I’ll do!

So a good Nei Gong week. As for Tai Chi, I didn’t do a ton of practice last week because of my right ankle. (Probably the right choice, because my ankle felt a lot better by my Saturday class.) On Saturday, during the Jian practice, I realized that I’m probably not supposed to actually be shifting how I grasp the Jian when you stab down to the right near the start: I should just be turning my wrist while maintaining my grip. So I’ll have to work on that. And I’m caught up on the Guan Dao, which is good; I might even try to get a little bit ahead over the next week and a half, before the December Sunday class.

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Nei Gong Notes, November 22, 2022

Nov 22 2022

When thinking about my knee twinges, I remembered that Damo had a lesson in year 2 about that, so I went looking for that. It’s called “Self-Healing”, and actually turned out to be the last lesson that I watched before I put a pause on new lessons; at the time, I didn’t try it out, but I guess now is the time. Pretty simple concept: if something’s wrong with a part of your body, do calm-abiding with your attention on that part of the body.

I’m actually not doing it on my knee right now, because I got a new bit of physical weirdness elsewhere; the joys of getting old. And I haven’t done it every day, because I still want to keep up with the Hui Chun exercises; I have been doing it most days, though, because it’s been easy enough to find days when I can do two sitting exercises. I haven’t seen any particular clear effect yet: the new bit of physical weirdness is probably a little better than when I first noticed it, but I suspect that’s just random variation? Who knows. And I also haven’t been doing super long sessions, most of them have been around 20 minutes. Hopefully I’m at least doing the exercise more or less correctly, I feel like I am getting sensations in the target area that could plausibly be labeled as manifestations of Qi, but who knows.

Some Tai Chi notes: when stepping out to the left in Dantian Change, I should keep my weight on my right foot until my left touches down. When punching, I should involve my Kua more. And I’ve got a few things to work on during the Guan Dao form: when turning the Dao on the right side (e.g. in Martial Flower bits), my arms feel a little twisted up, I should figure out how to avoid that; when turning over the Dao in Embrace the Crescent, it feels like it requires a little more energy than is ideal, my balance point might be off; there’s a part at the end of the left side of Martial Flower where Tony holds the Dao with one hand, I should experiment with that; and I still need to make sure I’m more secure with the details of the cartwheel bit.

Anyways, a mellow week in general. I had my COVID combined booster on Saturday, so I didn’t do any practice at all on Sunday, but I was back to feeling completely normal on Monday, so fortunately I don’t have to worry about building back up there like I would if I were actually sick.

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Nei Gong Notes, November 15, 2022

Nov 15 2022

It was a good week overall. On Wednesday, I did the Liver Hui Chun; I’d been a little worried that that would make my Liver Heat situation worse, but I figured I should give it a try, because if it helped regulate my Liver Qi, that would be good. And I’m glad I did; I was worried for a bit because, after the first three parts of the middle section, I was feeling kind of buzzy. But then when I got to the last part of that section, where I’m encouraging the Qi to go down, it did; I was glad I was doing 5 minutes per section, because it took a minute or two to get started, but eventually the sensations moved from the top of my head to the middle of the back of my head to lower down in my body, and while they weren’t all the way down my body, they were far enough down to make a difference, I think, because I slept pretty well that night. (Which hadn’t been the case earlier that week.) So I’ll definitely keep that up; not sure yet if it will be an every week thing or every other week or what, and I don’t think I’ll do 25 minute sessions on work days of the week, but I do want to experiment with that one more.

On Friday, I did Jing Gong for the first time in a while. And there was noticeable bouncing in my Dantian; it came and went a bit, and when it was present it wasn’t intense or anything, but it was definitely strong enough to be noticeable, probably actually a little stronger than I’ve felt it before. So it’s nice to see another piece of evidence that my Dantian is filling up; not sure how often I’ll do the Jing Gong, but I’ll probably return to it occasionally.

In general, right now, I’m actually not sure what I should be doing as my set of standing exercises; though the good news is that I’m continuing to feel that Wu Ji is more productive than it has been, so defaulting to that is probably a fine thing to do! One thing I was noticing during this last week is that my stomach muscles are starting to relax more while I do Wu Ji, and I’m feeling a sensation like a fairly large mass of liquid is going down my torso (more like a big ball going down than fluid seeping down); I guess that’s the liquid center of mass that Damo sometimes talks about? I’m still not 100% sure whether or not it’s going down quite to the right level or if it ends up an inch or two too high (maybe around my belly button height instead of my Dantian height?), but it’s either in the right position or close to it.

Acupuncture on Friday went well: it felt surprisingly refreshing, and I slept through the whole night after that. And my doctor said that he saw improvements from his side; in particular, he mentioned that my neck was doing much better, which he thought would help with sleep issues. Which links with what I’ve been feeling: I had been feeling that my neck was occasionally wanting to stretch on its own, and while I’m not feeling that so much these days, I’m now feeling much more often that my head is just floating (and, even when I’m not feeling that, if I just relax a bit, I can get it to float), so I think it’s pretty plausible that the stretching open has had an effect and now my neck is doing a decent job of maintaining an open state.

I’m also noticing other parts of my body feeling more open. In particular, when I’m doing Tai Chi, by body is also feeling more spacious, so it’s not just a Nei Gong thing now. Which is probably helping with my Tai Chi, and it’s certainly making it more interesting, giving it a bit of a Qi Gong feel.

On my Saturday Tai Chi class, my teacher told me that I should get my Kua involved more when I’m punching, so I should work on that. He showed a couple of ways of doing that, once of which involved spiraling energy up my leg that involved a knee shake; I think I’m going to avoid that second method now, though, because actually my knee is giving me noticeable problems when I’m doing Tai Chi. I don’t know that it’s gotten any worse, but I’m wanting to sink more, and when I do that, even with good posture, I think it’s a bit more than my knee is comfortable with. It would be nice to find a way to improve my knee, but for now I think I should probably not sink as much as I would like.

I’ve made it through Damo’s set of recordings from his various summer classes; there’s probably more stuff in the library that I haven’t watched (though I have gone through a fair amount of it), but I think I should probably react to that by spending Thursday evenings working on my Silk Reeling notes. Because I’ve been stalled on that, but I still think it’s a good idea, so I do want to get it out there.

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Nei Gong Notes, November 8, 2022

Nov 08 2022

Pretty solid week. On Wednesday, I went through an hour-long Spinal Dao Yin video from Sweden; it was more internal than I expect from Dao Yins, but it seemed pretty effective in opening up my spine, I think I’m going to do that once a week for the next while. On Friday I did a 45 minute Wu Ji session; I’d been planning to do an hour, but for whatever reason I didn’t, in retrospect I think I should have pushed on? Still, the longest session I’ve done for a while. My energy level did start to dim after maybe 30 minutes, and I was getting some unexpected pressure on the inside of my thighs towards the end; nothing bad or anything, though. And on Sunday, since I’d already done long versions of the Kidney and Spleen Hui Chuns that week, I decided to do a long Calm Abiding session, for the first time in I don’t know how long. That one I did manage to keep going for an hour; I was worried that I was going to fall asleep partway through, but I got a second wind maybe halfway through and then kept it up. I did have a weird feeling where I wasn’t sure pretty much the whole time whether my attention was quite on my Dantian, but also my attention was staying surprisingly well fixed in approximately the right area, so that was good.

And yesterday and today were the monthly full moon practice. Though my sleep wasn’t that great last night, so I worked from home instead of going into work, and I decided to use the extra commute time by doing a 40 minute Kidney Hui Chun instead. I am getting worried that I might be backsliding on my sleep, so I did the Liver Wu Xing this afternoon; I might try out the Liver Hui Chun tomorrow morning to see how that feels?

I got an email about the next local Nei Gong workshop, in January; glad that those are happening regularly again. I’m still really getting a lot out of the last one, my Wu Ji is continuing to be much more interesting and, I think, productive. (Also, in terms of random recent changes, I feel like I’m relaxing my stomach more while standing and letting stuff sink in a productive way as a result?)

In terms of Tai Ji: I was thinking about something Damo said about moving via releasing, and I’m thinking about where that might apply in the form that I’m doing. One place I had in mind was Reverse with Spiraling Forearms, where I feel like I can push out my arms via Songing; I asked Tony about that, and he said that you can either do as a Fa Jin, so more of a strike, or you can do it as a push, with the energy going out to your palms. Also he mentioned again on Saturday that, when kicking with one foot, you should use your back arm to balance the kicking foot; I think I’ve been having both arms be behaving similarly instead, doing it as he suggests definitely helps with my balance.

And the Jian continues to be interesting. I was noticing a lot on Saturday how it feels in the curve of my arm, especially the arm that’s not holding the sword. In general, a lot of the moves feel like that; some of them are more Fa Jin (and those are the ones I have the most trouble with), some are moving like they’re creating more of a plane rather than a curved line, and there are a few where you turn your hand that I should probably think of as more of a spiral?

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Nei Gong Notes, November 1, 2022

Nov 01 2022

Good week. Not an abnormally large amount of practice or anything, but a decent quantity, and my body is doing well. In terms of stuff that I’m getting TCM treatment, this weekend I slept through the night once for the first time in ages; sleep had been getting better, but still, nice to see that. And I’m also not feeling like I need to pee as often, which can be a problem if your kidneys aren’t doing well. On which note, Damo posted a public video about the Kidney system in TCM, and it’s really interesting, makes me wish I could watch all of his TCM videos. (But it doesn’t make me wish it enough to actually sign up for that course!)

And I like how my body is responding to Nei Gong. It was definitely feeling active over the weekend, and today was interesting too: I was doing the Kidney Hui Chun this morning, and for whatever reason I felt an unusual (but, I think, good?) sensation on the front of my forehead, at about the level of my upper Dantian, so I sat with that for a while longer. And I was doing Wu Ji at the end of the day today, and that felt really good: energetic stuff going on in my body, good connection and relaxation, and my mind is doing better at sinking and paying less attention to the physical details of what’s going on in my body.

A couple of times over the last week or two I’ve done other sitting exercises, like Anchoring the Breath. At first I was wondering if I should stop the constant Hui Chun and go back to my prior practice regimen, since things are going better. But I think that what I should do instead is mostly keep up with the push to get better: I don’t want to backslide from the current state, and my energy levels could still use a boost. So I should keep things up, and try to get things to a level where I can stop the TCM treatment: I certainly don’t want to be doing that forever!

Oh, and one other thing I’ve noticed over the last few weeks but I’ve forgotten to write about: when working on reducing my intensity when paying attention to things during my practice, I’ve realized that my default state has my brain feeling like it’s going forward pretty much all the time. When I relax it, my eyes also go back a little bit; I wonder if it’s related to my vision? Something to work on when I’m relaxing, at any rate.

In terms of Tai Chi, Saturday’s class was fine but nothing special. But then on Sunday, I went through the first form; I’d occasionally been noticing that I was leaning forward a bit, but this time I realized that I’m literally doing that in almost every single move. Which is a little embarrassing to only notice this now, given that I’ve been doing this for seven years! But hey, good to be getting more in touch with my body. So I did the form a couple more times trying to fix that. I realized that, if I don’t lean forward, I feel like I’m not going forward enough, so apparently I’m doing that to try to lower myself in a way that avoids my legs, for whatever reason. But once I was aware of that, I started lowering myself with my legs more, and it felt fine, not sure why my body didn’t want to do that? And actually it felt better: I’d been feeling stress on my right knee some while doing Tai Chi, and when I didn’t lean forward, that went away. So hopefully making this change will actively help reduce the strain on my body; that would be nice.

And I think I’m more or less caught up on the Guan Dao form? (At least up to where we were two months ago, but I heard that we didn’t do anything new last month.) I’m getting to the stage where I forget bits but can then make sense of what I’m doing wrong on my own, which is a good sign in terms of actually solidifying my knowledge of the form, it gets it in a better state in my memory than when I do it right but can’t, for example, replay it by memory in my head.

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Nei Gong Notes, October 25, 2022

Oct 25 2022

So I expected this week to be a week where I didn’t have anything to report for Nei Gong: I had jury duty and a work special thing, so I was at jury duty when I would normally practice on Wednesday and that meant that, even though I did have Friday off, I had three separate medical things to go to (nothing worrisome or anything, just allergy shots, acupuncture, and new glasses) plus one shopping thing that I needed to get out of the way, so I didn’t do a long practice then either. I did my normal 45-minute-ish practice those days, so it’s not like I didn’t do any Nei Gong, but nothing special.

But I did do a longer than normal practice on Sunday morning, maybe an hour and a half? And it actually felt really good: my body felt alive, stuff was moving around. And it was moving around more when I was standing in Wu Ji, in ways that seemed related to the exercise that I’d been doing before the Wu Ji: that is honestly something that never happened to me for the first couple of years that I was doing Nei Gong even though teachers always talked about it, so it was nice to see that.

And actually practice on Saturday, yesterday, and today was good too. And I even noticed some times today when I was just sitting at my desk but my spine was feeling active. So my body seems to be doing well; I’m starting to get optimistic that I can get back to working on Dantian Gong soon? Not sure, I’m nervous about not doing Hui Chun almost every day, and that does take up my sitting practice time, but it’s something to think about.

Also, in terms of things going well: my energy levels might be getting better? I don’t feel perky, I still feel a little blah, but one thing that I realized this week was that, even on days when my sleep wasn’t as good as I’d like, I didn’t actually feel like I really wanted to take a nap in the middle of the afternoon. Kind of depressing to have that be a potential sign of things potentially improving, but I’ll take it.

So yay for Nei Gong. And Tai Chi was similar: I did almost no Tai Chi practice last week (literally none on Wednesday, and a very minimal amount on Friday), but Tai Chi class on Saturday was interesting in ways that felt good. I’m enjoying the Jian, and I feel like my Jian must be significantly different / better than it was a month and a half ago; but also I’m enjoying feeling how my body is moving during Tai Chi, the shifts of muscles and the opening of my armpits. (I’m noticing my armpits being more open and my arm positioning changing during Wu Ji, too, it’s not just Tai Chi; presumably that’s because of the arm stretching in the workshop a couple of weeks ago.)

And I had a good Tai Chi practice on Sunday, too. Not super long, I’ll try to do a longer practice tomorrow, but I enjoyed playing around with the Jian form and going through the Lao Jia first form.

We’ll see how this continues, but it would be great if things stay at this level. And it would be extra great if my energy level can improve and I can get back to longer practices.

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Nei Gong Notes, October 18, 2022

Oct 18 2022

Wednesday was, I think, my best Nei Gong practice day in a couple of months. (Other than the workshop last weekend, of course.) I tried doing some arm stretches from the workshop, then I did the new Dantian Gong exercise from the workshop; it was doing interesting things to my torso. (So maybe I shouldn’t think of it as Dantian Gong, or maybe I should think of it as Dantian Gong for all three of my Dantians?) And then I spent maybe an hour and a half going through a seated video from the Maryland workshop, on Qi thickening. So, a lot of practice, and it felt good. Though I also felt noticeably wiped out later; I’m honestly not completely sure if it’s a good idea for me to continue that level of practice or if I should wait until my TCM treatment has gotten farther? And then on Friday I did arm stretching and a couple of standing Dantian Gong exercises from the workshop, and then a 40-minute Hui Chun; a solid session, albeit not quite as long as on Wednesday.

And other practice sessions went well, too. I’m finally starting to feel that Wu Ji is actively energizing, which feels like significant progress. And when I practiced the Dragon Dao Yins, I was feeling more forceful (i.e. actually treating it like a Dao Yin) and more connected than I had been. So hopefully I’m doing better at that.

In terms of Tai Chi, I did kind of minimal practice this week – enough to keep stuff in my head, and I did work through the Jian a bit, but not enough to make progress on the Guan Dao. (Fortunately, it sounds like they didn’t do any new Guan Dao moves last Sunday.) But Tai Chi class on Saturday went well: I picked up on more details on the Jian that I’d gotten wrong / forgotten, and my Jian is feeling more connected.

Unfortunately, this Wednesday I have to be at jury duty and then work, and on Friday I have four things I need to do out of the house, so I don’t expect much practice this week! Still, nice to have a good week under my belt.

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Nei Gong Notes, October 11, 2022

Oct 11 2022

Not much to say about the normal stuff this week: normal Nei Gong practice during the week, noticeably less Tai Chi practice than normal because of having busy afternoons and being more tired than I would like, and I had to miss Saturday and Sunday Tai Chi classes.

But the reason why I had to skip those classes was a good one: we had our first local Nei Gong workshop since covid happened, so I spend Friday through Sunday at a workshop. It was labeled as a foundations workshop, which was kind of vague, and I expected it to be going over the basics (which wouldn’t have been bad, I’ve probably been neglecting those a bit), but it was actually rather more advanced than that.

The main theme of the workshop was tissue work. Every morning, we spent a significant amount of time stretching out our arms: different variants of holding your arms in some position, stretching them out, twisting them, and stretching them more. Except that it frequently wasn’t active stretching: sometimes it was relaxing your arms and moving your attention to different locations, and my arm would stretch on its own. And also sometimes Rick would come over and help us stretch our arms: it felt to me like he was actually tugging on them, but he said that he was mostly touching my arms in ways that let me relax? At any rate, it was really interesting when he did that: after a couple of seconds, my arm would extend noticeably, in a way that didn’t feel painful at all but that did feel like my arms were taffy that was getting pulled.

Not the most pleasant experience (holding your arm up for a while isn’t comfortable), but manageable; it would be nice to think that it’s because I’m getting better at this stuff, but also Rick has mellowed a bit in his teaching. (Though I have gotten better since earlier local workshops; it was nice to feel like I was one of the people in the middle of the range of skill / experience there instead of being right at the bottom. And it was nice to never feel like I’d reached my limit and have to stop for a while while other people kept on going.) And I feel like it really is having an effect in terms of creating more space in my arm and letting the fascia start to do its own thing instead of being stuck too closely to my muscles (and I assume the taffy feeling is related to that): it was definitely the case today that, if I paused and relaxed my body, I would feel various parts of my body expand. I hope I can keep up that looseness in my body: I don’t know for sure how frequently I’ll stick with that exercise, but I should probably at least do it some. (I will miss having somebody there to tug on my arms, though, but I can get some of the effect doing it myself.)

And we also did some other exercises that were working on expanding the body in different ways, and also setting up connectivity across your body. The most important one of those for me was a different way of setting up Wu Ji; not radically different or anything, but slightly different fine points to focus on while arranging your body at the beginning, mostly around generating more space in your body. And doing Wu Ji felt significantly better than normal after I set things up that way: in particular, it took quite a bit less effort to stay up when I do this. (And I think doing that combined with the relaxing and letting my fascia have room to expand will work help me build Spleen Qi instead of messing up my Spleen Qi.) So I am definitely going to work that approach into my Wu Ji from now on, that will be a big help.

And there were a few other things. There was a standing Dantian Gong-ish exercise that I’ll probably try to do once every week or two? And we did some sitting exercises that are related to the firing process; not sure if I’ll do those regularly or not, I’m honestly not sure how well I remember them and also I feel like, once I get back to thinking about that sort of thing, what I should really do is work on the Microcosmic Orbit preparation stuff from the middle of year two and from the Maryland workshop.

Anyways, yay for in-person workshops, I am definitely looking forward to being able to do those a few times a year.

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Nei Gong Notes, October 4, 2022

Oct 04 2022

I switched back to Nei Gong standing stuff instead of that one Tai Chi exercise this week. Which frequently just meant doing Wu Ji, but I did do Dantian Gong for the first time in a while. Fortunately, it seemed to be going well, I certainly didn’t get a feeling that my Yin field in my Dantian had degraded or anything. My standing stamina might have, but I think actually I might have been standing a little low, because of the practice I’d been doing the previous weeks? The next time I did Wu Ji I experimented with height control, I think I’m doing a better job of feeling tingling in the right place when I’m at the correct height? And I think it is plausible that I had been standing a little low that time.

In terms of sitting, I mostly was doing the Hui Chun, including sitting along with an hour-long video of the Water Hui Chun. Though I also did something else sitting for the first time in a while, I felt like doing Anchoring the Breath one day. Which was a little surprising: when my attention was in places that were close to my spine, that part of my spine would start stretching on its own. One of the clearest signs that I’ve seen of attention giving rise to Qi.

The main interesting thing from Tai Chi was watching my teacher do bits of the Jian form: it’s a lot more flowing than I’m used to. So I’m starting to get a sense for what he means that you should imitate a dragon in that form; definitely something for me to work on.

I’ll be at an in-person Nei Gong workshop this Friday through Sunday, I’m definitely looking forward to that! Too bad I’ll have to miss Tai Chi on both Saturday and Sunday, but there’s not much I can do about that.

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Nei Gong Notes, September 27, 2022

Sep 27 2022

My sleep was better this week; I did quite a lot more shutting down after exercising (especially the standing exercise that I’ve been doing), and my hypothesis was that it helped? My doctor didn’t think that that standing exercise was relevant to my problems, though, so I’m probably wrong about that.

At any rate, I’m going to switch back to some of the basic standing exercises for a while now, Dantian Gong and Wu Ji and Ji Ben Gong or something like that. The Chen Qingzhou version of Zhan Zhuang actually was starting to get slightly interesting, probably helping my legs more than some other exercises that I do, but I think right now I’d rather avoid doing an exercise that sends energy straight to my head like that. And hopefully if I get better at relaxing my legs during Wu Ji then I’ll be able to get more benefits on my legs that way as well.

Not a ton to report on Tai Chi, though I’m glad to be going through the Jian again, I definitely have fine ponts to work on there. When practicing push hands, I asked my partner to try out the exercise where one of us pushes harder and harder on the other person’s torso and that person tries to ground it; kind of interesting, though I think I’ll need to try it a lot to get significant benefit out of it? I don’t think he’s interested enough to want to work on it regularly, though, but maybe I’ll be surprised, I’ll see if he brings it up.

I haven’t been doing a ton of Tai Chi practice on my own, I should get back to that; this week was a little busy and while my energy levels weren’t horrible, they weren’t enough to get me actively excited. I did at least work on the Guan Dao a couple of times, though, so I’m pretty close to having the stuff that we’ve covered in class so far memorized. Which is good, because I’m going to have to miss the next Sunday class, so it’s important for me to keep up with things on my own…

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