Nei Gong Notes, March 12, 2020

May 12 2020

This week’s topic in the Nei Gong course was about locating your Dantian. I won’t exactly say that it was farther back than I expected, since I’m used to it being towards the middle of your torso (and maybe feeling farther back than that), but it’s farther back than I’d been paying attention to during breathing exercises. And I also won’t say that I 100% have it located: at first I was happy because I’d found one of the three possible signs Damo mentioned (feeling nauseous) when I put my attention in the right place, but then I realized that I felt slightly nauseous whenever I move my body far enough back in my abdomen, so that didn’t seem associated with a single point. I still think the farthest forward where I feel nauseous is probably basically the right place, and sometimes I think there’s a little vibration there, or sometimes other sorts of oddness, but I’m not 100% sure I’ve got it right.

Anyways, these days when I sit at the start of the day, I’m starting off by working on quieting / sinking my breathing, and then locating my Dantian. No particular progress on the breathing front, it’s not getting any longer or anything. It has sometimes been interesting walking after that, because sometimes my mind does get a little stuck down there; on the Dantian, in particular, which I guess is another possible sign that I’m finding the right place?

And I’ve made it through the videos in the library breaking down parts of Wu Ji; that’s been quite interesting. The discussion of your shoulders talks about sliding your shoulder blades so they line up flush with the back of your rib cage instead of jutting out; I’m realizing I can do that, and it helps the top of my torso feel good. In general, the shoulder blade rotations are paying off; it had been the case in the past when doing Wu Ji that I felt like something was going on in my shoulder blades, but also it was causing them to ache, whereas now I feel much less ache and much more movement. (When I’m doing the shoulder blade rotations now, my shoulder blades come pretty close to touching!)

But also I’m continuing to pay attention to sinking my pelvis (and it’s going pretty far down, though it takes a while), having my neck go up and out, and also I was reminded about sinking my Tian Tu. And I’m managing to do that last one much more effectively now; I get a pretty serious stretch on the back of my neck (both up and down, I try to maintain an active up component but sinking my pelvis pulls it down pretty hard), and a good sink on the front of my rib cage as well. I think the shoulder blade positioning helps the sink in back be in the right place, too? It really does feel like parts of my spine are opening up, especially my neck; and on Saturday in particular all afternoon I was noticing my body feel different.

In the section about your hands, he mentioned feeling the stretch start to go up your arms, so I’m trying to use that as a guide for how much to stretch. And, in feeling out the center of gravity stuff, I’m thinking that I should probably be a little bit lower than I had been? Also, when tilting my torso forward (for spine purposes, not for purposes of where weight hits my feet) I should tilt from my Kua instead of my feet.

And then there’s this stuff about feeling connections from your shoulders / elbows / hands to your Kua / feet. I feel like that’s the next thing to explore; it might even be the topic of this week’s lecture in the main course? I’ll find out…

I’m also getting tired of having tight hamstrings, so I’ve gotten in the habit of trying to touch my toes when my watch tells me to stand up. I think it’s having an effect, though I also don’t feel like I’m super close actually being able to touch my toes.

I did do some Tai Chi one evening last week while Liesl was walking Widget; and I practiced on Sunday, too. And I watched a Jian video; I really am very close to the end of that form, I should just go learn the last couple of moves.

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