Archive for July, 2020

Nei Gong Notes: July 28, 2020

Jul 28 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

One thing that I noticed while doing exercises that go up and down: I’d been losing contact at the top when starting to go down. I think I want to try to maintain a bit of a tug from my pelvis even at the top; I’d been locking my knees or coming close to that, which eliminates the tug.

Some notes from the Saturday Nei Gong class: In Diagonal Flying, you should keep the hands a little away from the body in the central position, so the bottom hand can smoothly arc up when moving out. And the back hand shouldn’t be too close to the body, either. Also, for the front hand, your thumb should be going straight out (with you looking over it), but the other four fingers are more forward. (Even a decent amount forward, because you want to keep your Lao Gong spread.)

In Cow Gazes at the Moon, when extending your hands out, you should look through a diamond between your fingers, like the hand shape in the Earth Wu Xing Qi Gong. (But your hands aren’t nearly as high, of course.) Does theat mean that my eyes are supposed to be open? I should confirm next Saturday.

And Rick pointed out that I was maintaining a fair amount of tension around my solar plexus while doing Wu Ji; this is true, I should work on that. I think it’s a leftover habit from my back problems; it’s actually possible that it’s still somewhat adaptive, but Wu Ji is probably a good place to experiment with reducing it.

One thing I notice while doing Dantian Gong is that I’m getting a much more concrete feeling of what internal structures (muscles, presumably?) are being affected when I do those exercises. Basically, I get a feeling of specific places in my internal structures moving a bit during those movements; and it all adds up to kind of feeling like I’m exercising the surface of a ball (or at least most of it) inside my abdomen. So I guess this is what is building when I’m building the container for my Dantian. Hopefully it means I’m doing a decent job at that; I still need to work on increasing the Qi level within that container…

Been pretty tired this week, I think some random allergy might be hitting me. But I’ve been keeping up some amount of practice; not as good as some weeks, but not nothing.

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Nei Gong Notes, July 21, 2020

Jul 21 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

This week’s lesson in the Nei Gong course finished off the Wu Xing Qi Gong, going through Earth and Metal. In general, that set doesn’t match my mental model of a lot of the other Lotus Nei Gong exercises: a lot less focus on maintaining specific structural alignments, more different kinds of movements. Interesting to learn them, though; I’ll certainly try to go through the whole set a few times a week.

And on Saturday there was the online course with local teachers; we went through the Swimming Dragon and Diagonal Flying exercises from the Ji Ben Qi Gong. In Swimming Dragon, your top hand goes as high as it can while keeping your shoulder sunk. And when turning your hands, turn around your middle finger, and notice how your Dantian turns as well. Your weight remains at the Lower Dantian, even though your hands are centered higher up. And in Diagonal Flying: your weight is on your front foot, your front palm is straight up, and you should kind of in general end up in a position where you’re lunging forward. Keep your back knee pinned, though, so you open the kua. And when you’ve returned to the center, your top fingers are pointed straight up, your bottom finger down, they’re not pointed forward.

I’d also been wondering about, in Thickening the Qi, if your attention should be going up and down the middle of your body or going up and down your spine; the answer is that it should be in the middle.

I started going through the version of Wu Xing Qi Gong in the Heavenly Streams course; turns out that it’s not the same version as in the main course, it’s a static seated version instead. Not sure yet if I’ll occasionally mix that into my practice or not, we’ll see how I feel when I’m done.

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Nei Gong Notes, July 14, 2020

Jul 14 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Good week: I feel like my Wu Ji is getting better, I’ve felt pleasantly sweaty after doing my Nei Gong every day, my body seems to be responding a bit more, and I’m getting into a good practice routine.

I’m still not doing great on Wu Ji duration: I can do 15 minutes reliably but I haven’t been doing more than that. I’m standing a little higher than I had been a few weeks back but maybe not as high as I was last week? But I feel like the mechanics are getting better: I’m getting better at relaxing my upper thigh and my right kua, and that latter in turn helps me straighten out my body in a more natural way than trying to force it into place. (And the relaxing my thighs is even helping with the squats that I do every evening after brushing my teeth.)

Also, I was noticing that my Wu Ji felt better after doing Qi Gong; I still want to understand that a little better, but when trying to capture that feeling, I think I’m doing a better job of acting like I’m sitting into a chair there, and I’m managing to capture that feeling some during my initial Wu Ji. So I’m sitting back, my spine is a little more upright, my pelvis is being more naturally tucked. Still more work to do there, but it definitely feels like a good direction to go in.

This last week’s lesson covered the Earth and Fire Wu Xing Qi Gong. So for my noon practice, I’m sometimes doing 15 minutes of Wu Ji plus the three of the Wu Xing Qi Gong that I know plus two of the Ji Ben Qi Gong and sometimes I’m doing 5 minutes of Wu Ji plus 10 minutes of Dan Tian Gong (which has me staying standing low for a total of 15 minutes) plus 10 minutes of Wu Xing. Works out well, and I’ve managed to go through all eight of the Ji Ben this week.

Also, my breathing is getting significantly slower, which I’d been kind of stuck on. I think the breakthrough was from the Wu Xing Qi Gong: you’re supposed to synchronize your breathing with your movements, and while my local teachers say to let your breathing speed guide your movement speed, for those it felt bad to move too quickly. So, honestly, I forced my breathing to slow down a bit on those for one or two days; but then once I’d done that, I found that that breathing speed was natural, and it carried over to my seated meditation without needing me to force it at all. So that feels good.

Watched some Heavenly Streams lectures, and did the next exercise from the Microcosmic Orbit course; it again felt like one where I could do what I was being told to at the start but where it will take a while for my body to get the benefit. So I don’t feel like I’m necessarily getting ahead of myself yet in trying out the exercise, but I’m about to be getting ahead of myself. Still not sure how much I’ll keep on going; I might go back to the previous exercise and do it a few times a week to see if I can get the desired effect there?

We had the Sunday Tai Chi course this weekend; in the Lao Jia Second Form, when doing Chopping the Wrist, your left arm should be bent, protecting your head. And in the first form, in Teal Dragon Emerges from the Water, I should work even harder on staying on my left leg, and I should turn my waist but not my hip; and then I should get power from uncoiling it.

Did an okay job of mid-week Tai Chi in the late afternoon; not as much Silk Reeling as I’d like, but I’m noticing that, as soon as I start the Silk Reeling, I feel stuff inside my torso, which I’m sure is a side effect of how the Nei Gong practice is gong.

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Nei Gong Notes, July 7, 2020

Jul 07 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

I kept on not feeling good sinking so low during Wu Ji, and my back was aching in ways that I thought might be related. And then, thinking about it more, I realized that my analysis of how low to go wasn’t necessarily correct: I was making sure I had a connection with my hands while going low, but actually what I’ve felt there is that, if I’m too high, I lose the connection. So it could easily be the case that I still feel a connection even when I’m too low.

So, the last half week, I’ve been experimenting with starting higher up, and then seeing where I lose the connection with my hands, and going just a bit lower than that. I’m not 100% convinced that that’s the right height, it might still have me be a bit high, but practice has been good? Certainly I’m managing to stand for longer; I was back to standing for 20 minutes today, and while it was strenuous, I didn’t feel like I was at my limit or anything. (Which is good, because I want to get back to standing for more than 20 minutes!)

Anyways, going back a bit chronologically: I didn’t do the next installment of the course on Tuesday like I normally did, but I decided to do it on Thursday instead of skipping a week. The lesson covered the first of the Wu Xing Qi Gong, water: moving energy up your spine and down the front of your body. Which was an interesting sort of tingling. And I did a pretty good job of keeping up with other stuff over the week, doing the Qi thickening stuff and going through the Ji Ben Qi Gong over the course of the week. And I think it’s helped: I hadn’t been good about doing Silk Reeling regularly, but I went through the set today during a meeting, and there were a lot more interesting sensations in my torso than there sometimes is.

And I listened to the first couple of lectures in the Microcosmic Orbit course, and went through the first two exercises. I thought and still think that the course is too advanced for me, but I actually think the first exercise would be a useful form of meditation right now, and I could follow what the second exercise was asking me to do as well. (I didn’t get to the the end goal of that exercise, but I think I started it correctly, so probably if I repeated it enough then I would, and it wouldn’t take ages to do so?) Not sure if I’ll actively continue those exercises, and I doubt I’ll go through many more of the exercises in the course, but I might listen to the rest of the lectures. And once I learn all five of the Wu Xing Qi Gong exercises, I’ll be going back to the Heavenly Streams lectures.

Still not doing huge amounts of Tai Chi, but I’m doing some, enough that I don’t feel bad about it. And also still feeling that I have a lot of work to do on my breathing…

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