Nei Gong Notes, June 30, 2020

Jun 30 2020

This week’s lesson in Damo’s course was on Thickening the Qi: some exercises where you move your hands up and down your torso with Lao Gong open. At first I thought that my Qi, unsurprisingly, wasn’t yet concentrated enough to notice that, and I’m not getting the kinds of physical movements that he does. But, actually, if I do it after something else to gather the Qi, then I feel something inside, and even pretty strongly, enough to make me somewhat nauseous. So yay, stuff is getting connected inside and Qi is thickening, or something.

And I’m still working on the previous exercise, about extending your awareness past your skin instead of inside your body; I still don’t feel like I’m good at doing that exercise, but I’m getting something out of it, it’s being more interesting than it had been the previous week.

Still having trouble with my stamina during Wu Ji. Last Thursday went well (at least by current low standards) I managed 15 minutes, but then Friday was quite rough, and Saturday’s class was rough too. Yesterday went well, but it also felt like a bit much, and I had rough sleep last night and felt like I was coming down with a cold. So: still pushing away, and I don’t really understand what happened yesterday / last night…

In the Saturday Nei Gong class, we went over the third and fourth Ji Ben; and this week was Sunday Tai Chi, I skipped the second form (I needed to walk Widget), but did the Xinjia.

And I’ve listened to the first two lectures on the Microcosmic Orbit course. Interesting stuff; too advanced for me right now, but I’ll probably listen to the rest?

And one point from that: I really do need to get my breathing better. In retrospect, I think I actually need to work on having it be consistently low (“At Ease”), that’s my next step rather than slowing it. Doesn’t really matter too much, it’s not an active process, I just need to observe consistently…

On a related note, one of the things I really like about Damo’s course is how focused he is on getting basic concepts / capabilities down. The in-person courses from local teachers are very useful for getting my positioning and the like correct, but my experience of them feels more like collecting random forms. Whereas the weekly lessons from Damo feel very different: yes, you’re learning different movements every week, but there’s also this consistent throughline of working on more fundamental capabilities: work on your breathing, locate your Dantian, improve your Dantian’s ability to contain Qi, build Qi in your Dantian, start moving it around. That helps me think, and also helps give me guidance on what to work on next, how much time to spend on different activities.

My back is mostly over the problems it had a week ago: I think changing shoes helped. And I’m also still definitely feeling like I should be getting back to doing more Tai Chi; I put in some good practice yesterday, at least.

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