Nei Gong Notes, May 19, 2020

May 19 2020

This week’s lesson in the Nei Gong course involved an exercise called “Connecting the Hands” where you rotated your hands in a way that’s supposed to help build up the Dantian. Damo said this week was particularly important, so I’ve shifted some of my seated meditation time over to this. Maybe it’s helping a little bit, I might be getting a little more of a tingle down there than I was a week before? Hard to say.

And then in the parallel track of stuff from the library, I’ve finished the videos going into Wu Ji in detail and gone through the Ji Ben Qi Gong. Lots of stuff there that I’ve been doing wrong: e.g. in Flying Hands, my hands were flying too much, and my hands going up are supposed to be close to my body with my Lao Gongs facing the body. Or in Upholding the Moon, you’re supposed to really bend your spine and neck going forward, and have your hands cross over each other so the Lao Gongs are on top of another, and then going up you’re supposed to bend your spine in the other direction so the front of your spine opens up. There’s more stuff I was getting wrong, e.g. in the ones in the second half I feel like I was behaving too much like I’d expect from Silk Reeling. So I’m trying to do them differently now, but I’ll probably want to return to those videos in a month or so.

There’s also the question of how to find time for all of this, since even only six weeks into the course I could fill up an hour of practice time even without Ji Ben Qi Gong. I asked about that, and was advised to think about my practice routine on a weekly basis: don’t try to practice everything every day, but do try to loop back over the week. So I’ve squeezed things a bit to find some time to do a couple of the Ji Ben each day, that seems workable for now. (But I also feel like maybe I should be spending more time on the Connecting the Hands exercise…)

I’m also trying to pay more attention to the height of my center of gravity: the Wu Ji talks mentioned that, and that’s pretty key to the first three Ji Ben exercises, too. And I think I am starting to get a better feel for that; and I also feel like my Wu Ji stance had been a little bit high, with my center of gravity more at the height of my navel than my Dantian. So I’m trying to stay lower (though I keep on popping up!); it feels like it’s helping my breathing be in a better location? Though, honestly, Wu Ji is still kind of strenuous to me, so my breathing is basically never super relaxed… I’m also trying to pay a little bit more attention to the connection between my shoulders/elbows/hands and my feet, and I thought I was doing okay at that, but then today I realized I could relax my shoulders noticeably more and then the connection felt quite a bit stronger. So I guess I hadn’t been doing okay at that!

We had the Sunday Tai Chi class this week. My notes from the Pao Chui section of that: in the Large Forearm Fist / Small Forearm Fist moves, you should tense while your hand is going out and relax while it’s going to the middle. (So this is different from Hand Maneuvers in the first form, where it’s tense on the bottom and relaxed on the top.) In Large Forearm Fist it’s more the upper part of the arm that gets the energy (going as high up as the shoulder), in Small it’s more the part of the arm near the hand. Also, when shaking after Ride the Dragon Backward, I realized my right foot was moving a little forward, I think I should work on having my right foot land next to my left foot so I can stay vertical.

Haven’t been doing Tai Chi on weekdays or Saturdays over the last couple of weeks; that is a gap. The lockdown might ease up here soon, hopefully we’ll be able to safely restart the Saturday class, though even if the Tuesday class restarts I’m not sure I’ll join it. (At least if it’s inside, though in the late summer it’ll probably be outside.)

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