Nei Gong Notes, September 15, 2020

Sep 15 2020

We steam cleaned the carpets just over a week ago, and I think it must have made a difference with my dust allergy because I started feeling more awake: no more wanting to take a nap in the middle of the afternoon. Which helped with my Nei Gong practice, since I basically always felt fine at lunchtime, and I was also up for practice at the end of the afternoon. Unfortunately, at the end of last week, we got a quite heavy smoke load here from the wildfires, so I’m again not feeling great; hopefully that will be a temporary thing, though, and I can get to a steady state where I feel more awake. (And where we clean the carpets when I’m not!)

The lecture in Damo’s class this week was on Spine Waves. Which was an exercise I already knew how to do, but he presented a way of doing it in a more intense way, not just as a warmup. Do Spine Waves for 5 minutes, then do it for 5 more minutes while sinking your awareness into the part of the spine that’s the crest of the wave, then stand for 5 minutes without doing the waves but with moving your awareness up your spine as if you were. (And then do Wu Ji at the end.) I was worried that this was going to feel boring / pointless, but it turned out to be really interesting, especially the second and third parts of it: in particular, once I started to pay attention to what was going on, I realized that there’s a section of several vertebrae in my lower back that are moving as a unit, instead of curving individually. (I think the rest of my vertebrae are all bending individually in a reasonable way.)

If I slow down and go over that area of the spine in the wave, I can find one position where I’m sort of pushing away at the middle of that area; nothing’s moving yet, and the push feels a lot weaker than at other parts of my back, but hopefully if I keep that up, it’ll start moving? And if I’m not doing the wave but just moving my awareness, the sensations are weaker on that part of my spine, but sensation is definitely there, and gets stronger if I rest there for a while; so hopefully if I spend time doing that, it’ll encourage soft tissues and blood vessels to be more active there? It’s also interesting just going up the whole spine with your mind; it kind of feels like there’s a click when moving from vertebra to vertebra. Though I don’t actually know if I’m just imagining that I’m correctly sensing individual vertebrae, for all I know my mental movements are going through locations that don’t actually match up with vertebrae.

Also, after doing this for a couple of days, my back started to feel noticeably better in general; though, unfortunately, that went away a few days after that. (It didn’t feel bad or anything, though, just not as actively good.) At any rate, this all has me thinking that I should keep this up, maybe even make it part of my daily routine until my lower back starts to unfreeze (I hope that the vertebrae aren’t actually fused together there); the only downside there is that, if I do 5 minutes of Wu Ji before and after, then the whole exercise takes 25 minutes, which is a pretty long time for a daily exercise. But if it makes a difference on my back health, it’ll be worth it, for general health as well as for Nei Gong reasons.

I’m curious what the next lesson will be like; it’s also on the spine, so hopefully it will help as well and will give me another angle to approach the problem. And at some point I should learn the Dragon Dao Yins, because I’ve heard that those can help the spine a lot.

I’ve also been going through the lectures on Qi Deviation; hadn’t really had high hopes for it, it’s not a topic that I’m particularly interested in, but it was on the recommended supplementary study list, so I did it anyways. And they’re surprisingly interested; targeted at TCM students instead of Nei Gong students, so parts were a bit of a review, but a welcome one, and I just got to a lecture where he talked about Yin Qi and Yang Qi in a way that did a very nice job of explaining steps leading up to Microcosmic Orbit work.

Sunday Tai Chi this weekend, so I didn’t do the Saturday Nei Gong course. My notes from Sunday:

In Pao Chui: in Wrap and Change to Cannon, visualize being wrapped by your opponent, and when you break out, sink down with your fists in a way that has the force coming from your center. In Beast’s Head, the right hand starts up, arcs right and down, and then comes up from the back on the right; it ends out a little to the right of your head, not in front of it. In Overdraping Posture, both fists are palm-down in the first half, and the front fist goes up a bit, attacking the throat; in the second half, your right fist is palm-up and it ends up a little higher than in the first half. In Taming the Tiger, try to stay vertical. In Wiping the Brow Forearm, your right hand starts with an open palm up, spiraling forward. And in the transition from Taming the Tiger to Wiping the Brow, keep your right arm up (I think) until it comes down when you stomp with your right foot; and I think I need to turn a bit more so that then my left foot on the left side of my center line instead of being straight in front of my right foot.

In the first form, when switching from Reverse with Spiraling Forearms to White Crane, there’s a Lu where you you grab your opponent at the start and guide them down, don’t just move your arms without relating to an opponent. And then do a bit of a half circle with both arms so your left hand is straight above the right hand, and then move into the final part of White Crane.

I didn’t do much Tai Chi this week (maybe none outside of class?) but I did go through Silk Reeling a couple of times, at least.

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