Archive for November, 2020

Nei Gong Notes, November 24, 2020

Nov 24 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

This week’s lesson from Damo was on Pushing Your Tides, an arm stretching exercise. The main goal of the exercise is to realign your shoulder positioning; and maybe to open up your arm channels? It’s one of the few exercises in the course where Damo explicitly says you don’t have to do it for very long, once you’ve done it for a couple of weeks, your shoulders will be in the right place. And I’m not sure I’ll even stick with it that long: I’ve been working for years to realign my shoulders, and I feel like that’s been pretty successful? And certainly from doing Tai Chi, something is coming to my hands pretty frequently, which makes me think the channels are at least somewhat open.

No Saturday Nei Gong class this week; we did have a Tai Chi class, despite having gone up two tiers in our COVID rating. The class still seems to be legal, if I’m reading the county’s website correctly? Not sure what I think, I might pause attending for a while after Thanksgiving…

Sleep-wise, last week was iffy, but this week started off well, at least. And I feel like I’m doing a better job of sinking and relaxing during Wu Ji: doing a better job of relaxing my diaphragm, and different parts of my legs / kua.

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Nei Gong Notes, November 17, 2020

Nov 17 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

One thing I forgot to mention last week: just as you’re supposed to work on noticing when you fall asleep, you’re also supposed to notice when you wake up. Still no real progress on the former, but I actually was, I think, completely successful on the latter once: I thought “I just woke up” right when I woke up and could actually trace the feelings in my mind back to right before I woke up, so I did really feel like I was aware of the transition itself.

Anyways, sleep-wise, this week hasn’t been good. (Though last night was just fine, at least.) Still don’t really know what’s going on there; I think it’s allergy side effects, but I’m not completely sure. So I didn’t get quite as much practice done this week, but still, I did something every day.

On which note, I guess I might as well write down my regular practice routine. 20 minutes of seated meditation in the morning; these days I’m doing the Calm-Abiding exercise. Which is super interesting: not currently getting the blissed-out state that I sometimes got with it, but it feels good, and my Dantian is buzzing, with some of the latter continuing (mildly, admittedly) into the rest of the day. So I’m really liking that, and feeling that it’s useful; on days when I have more time I’m spending more than 20 minutes on it.

Then, over lunch, I do standing work. Some stretching, some Wu Ji, something else. I go through the Ji Ben Qi Gong over the course of the week, two at a time; I try to do Thickening the Qi once, and I try to do Dantian Gong once (split over two days). And sometimes I do the Wu Xing.

If I’m tired, the stretching is short, I do 15 or even 10 minutes of Wu Ji plus some Ji Ben; 25 minutes or so in total. If I had a good night’s sleep, I do the Dantian Gong, because it’s the most work; unfortunately, this last week, I only managed to do half the Dantian Gong, because I just wasn’t up for it other days. Which is too bad, that exercise really is useful, if I were more awake I’d try to go through it twice a week instead of once (and twice for Thickening the Qi too), but that’s not where I’m at right now.

And, if work gets done reasonably early, then I’ll spend 15 minutes or so doing some back stuff.

Also, recently I’ve been getting more disciplined about going through Silk Reeling during work meetings, doing that twice a week; that feels good, I really think it’s helping. And it helps me pay attention in meetings, too, it’s great for meetings where I don’t have to talk but I do want to listen, because it means I can’t switch over to Slack or pull out my iPad or whatever.

 

Anyways, enough about the general practice routine, back to this week. Sleepy, but I kept going, and seated meditation and Silk Reeling were actively good. This week’s lesson in Damo’s course was around gratitude; I didn’t find as much time to practice that as I should have, probably because it doesn’t fit quite so neatly into either seated meditation or into standing work. So I guess I should do that a little more this week? Though temperamentally I’m not feeling super drawn to it. (Maybe that’s a sign I need to practice it more…)

In the Saturday Nei Gong class, in the Wu Ji at the start, I ended up feeling significantly more pressurized on the soles of my feet than I normally did. So I was relaxing better, or something, I should try to build on that? I’m trying to bring that back to my Wu Ji practice in general, in particular working on relaxing my diaphragm, relaxing my kua, and relaxing my pelvis; I feel like I’m getting better but am still feeling things out, and I haven’t yet repeated that pressurized feeling. It might be starting to help with my leaning, though.

As to Tai Chi, we started the Lao Jia Dao this week. And I did get in a decent practice on Sunday. Not so much the Lao Jia first form, but practicing the stuff that’s newer that I need to solidify: the Lao Jia second form, the Xin Jia first form, and the Jian. Though Santa Clara County’s COVID restrictions have gone up again, so I don’t know if we’ll be able to keep on doing Tai Chi in the group in the park, we’ll see…

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Nei Gong Notes: November 10, 2020

Nov 10 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Somewhat better sleep this week than in some recent weeks, though still not great. I didn’t wake up in the middle of the night as much, and in general I didn’t feel allergic, but I often woke up 30 minutes or so before the alarm, which kind of had me on the edge of having enough sleep.

Still, some days were fine, so I got in a decent Nei Gong practice on those days, and I got in some practice on the other days; made it through all the core stuff I wanted to do over the week.

This week’s lesson was on waking up, complementing the one on going to sleep a few weeks back. Partly about paying attention to exactly when you wake up, mostly about your behavior after that, which was a mixture of sensible sounding advice and weird sounding advice that’s easy enough to follow so I might as well do it anyways. So I did most of it; the main thing that I’m not doing is getting out of bed as soon as I wake up (because I think Widget and Liesl would be a bit taken aback by that), but I’m trying to sit up in bed instead of lying down, in hopes that my body and mind will see that as enough of a transition? Oh, and there’s also the advice to either not use an alarm or to change the alarm sound to something less jarring; haven’t done that, but the good side of waking up early is that the sound of the alarm wasn’t relevant most days…

I skipped the Saturday Nei Gong class because I had the Sunday Tai Chi class this week. And in the Saturday Tai Chi class it was my turn to get instruction; notes from that are that in the opening, after hands come down, I should spiral more when going left. And I have more work to do when relaxing at end of Dantian Change. In Flash the Back, the emphasis isn’t on the blocking, it’s about having the other arm vanish. When flashing your hands in the flip right that, have the energy go to the tips of the fingers, don’t have the hands curled. When punching, make sure my wrist is straight in the punching hand, and in the other hand, have the fingers straight and a little more energy in the elbow. And, in the reverse version of the Oblique Posture, don’t have my right arm behind my center.

We’re done with the Jian form, switching to the Dao next; I’ll definitely want to make suer to practice the Jian regularly to solidify it more. (But, unlike the first time I went through the Jian, I should be able to remember it this time if I practice.)

And a note from Sunday: in the second form, after Taming the Tiger, when you stomp down with your right hand also going down, your feet are next to each other. Then step forward with your left foot while turning your right hand palm up, before doing the brow strike.

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Nei Gong Notes, November 3, 2020

Nov 03 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

This week’s class was another mental exercise, separating the Shen and Qi: you’re supposed to visualize a yellow triangle while keeping your Qi sunk. I can’t say I was super successful at visualizing the triangle, but at least on good days I did feel some amount of separation?

Nothing in particular to report about the Saturday Nei Gong course, though at least I felt up for doing the whole thing, which hasn’t always been the case recently. And on Saturday afternoon I led the start of Tai Chi, we’ll see what advice Tony has for my form next Saturday. He talked some about Song, which was pretty interesting: saying that, when you relax in postures with your arms out, your arms should actually end up further out because the muscles aren’t tightening them up. Which fits in with what I’d been feeling recently in my arms while doing Wu Ji? And we finished the Jian form, I think I’m getting the end down, so hopefully the whole form will stick.

In terms of practice, I’m still more tired than I’d like, and I don’t think the change of allergy medicines is having the desired effect. But I kept things up, and ended up doing a decent amount of practice, I think. And I’m working on relaxing my legs in a similar way to how I’ve been relaxing my arms; I’d actually been doing that a few months back, but I’d gotten out of the habit, so I’m starting to pick it up again. And it feels good, which is nice, and hopefully it’s doing something useful to the tendons on the inside of my thighs.

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