Nei Gong Notes, April 21, 2020

Apr 21 2020

My Tai Chi teacher has started doing online courses. I ended up not doing the Saturday course this weekend: it’s spending a fair amount of time on Silk Reeling and Qi Gong, and I’m doing Silk Reeling pretty regularly during work meetings and the Qi Gong overlaps a lot with the Nei Gong work that I’m doing. And it’s spending some time on a form I don’t know and don’t want to start learning now, and I don’t have a great location to go through the first form while on video. But we also had the Sunday class; the second form fits a little better into my study, and the Xinjia section is important to me, I definitely want to get better at both of those forms. But I skipped out on the weapon part, doing some stretches and meditation during that.

For the second form: I noticed my knee was a little further inside than I’d like on some moves, in particular during the waist-intercepting strike. In the second-to-last move, where you strike back with your left hand, when you’re moving right before then, your back (left) leg should cross behind your right leg. And in the large forearm strike, you should turn in the middle (or maybe even starting at the beginning) of the second full pair, so you’re ready for the other direction when that’s done.

In Xinjia: in the move after the Jing Gang after the oblique postures and punch, where you move your right arm back, you should also turn your torso: that way your right arm doesn’t end up breaking your energy.

I also practiced the first form a couple of times and the Jian a couple of times. And I got some tips for Jian videos, but I haven’t watched them yet.

 

As for Nei Gong, the second week of the course was on abdominal breathing. Which had a five-step development process, none of which involved trying to breathe abdominally, it’s supposed to happen as a result! Basically, you start by watching your breath but not focusing hard on it or trying to guide it; then it should naturally get deeper, then longer, then it should feel “softer”, which is some sort of change in feeling in how things move inside. Except that’s only four steps, so I should clearly rewatch the video at some point; not worrying so much right now, though, because just observing is really hard: I constantly feel like I’m waiting longer than is natural to breathe!

Though, when I do sit and breathe for a while, I feel like my breathing actually does go farther down in my abdomen than I was expecting. So hopefully I’m actually making progress on the deeper part? And it’s even possible I’m making progress on the softer part, for a while I’ve felt a sensation in the bottom of my torso when breathing that isn’t clearly part of my lungs moving in and out; who knows…

Since there was only one video, that gave me some time to poke at other parts of the library, so I did that, following a recommendation on other videos to watch in parallel with different weeks of the course. For the first couple of months, the recommended pairing is a series of “foundations” videos; I think these are the videos Damo had on Vimeo earlier? They’re about Wu Ji and Ji Ben Qi Gong; I’m actually kind of surprised to see them there, I would have expected them in the main course. (Especially Wu Ji, given how much time the in-person courses spend on that.) Maybe they’ll show up in the main course, just a little more briefly? So far I’ve gone through the a little bit of the Wu Ji section; it was informative.

My Wu Ji wasn’t actually going great for the first half of this week: I’d been hoping to get it to 25 minutes, but I wasn’t always even making 20 minutes, I was feeling a little sleepy. Then I thought that maybe I should try finding a timer that has interval alerts: I might find it easier to keep on plugging on if I had an idea of when 5-minute intervals are happening. (At the very least, I could try to stay to the next interval.)

So I got a meditation timer app, and it actually helped a lot: I made it to 25 minutes today, and I don’t think I would have made it past around 15 without that. Some issues around the haptics, which I think are probably Apple Watch limitations, but still, I like it. And if I’m remembering correctly I did 25 minutes on both Sunday and Monday (and on Sunday that was before I was experimenting with these apps, I was just feeling more awake, I was actually surprised when it ended), so hopefully I’ll be able to solidify that and move on to 30 minutes.

My torso’s also been sometimes feeling floaty when I’m doing Wu Ji, presumably that’s a sign that I’m doing better at my posture in my torso and/or relaxing more? Still having problems in my legs, though. Sunday in general felt like there was a lot of stuff going on in my body, nice to feel like I’m making active progress.

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