Nei Gong Notes, December 1, 2020

Dec 01 2020

This week’s lesson from Damo was about opening the Lao Gong further; some interesting exercises around moving your hands in various configurations with Lao Gong stretched open. Which sometimes led to interesting feelings: sometimes feeling like there were magnetic pushes of my hands acting on each other, sometimes like something was moving inside? So I’ll probably keep doing this one every few days for a while.

My notes on the sequence, since it’s long: rest, stretch and squeeze (for a longer period than the next one), circles, stretch and squeeze. Put fingers in a cage shape and stay there breathing into fingertips, do circles, then stretch fingertips towards each other without actually moving them, then separate and squeeze one finger at a time (including thumb), then do all five, then flatten your hand again and rest while breathing into the palm. Go up and down the arms, returning to neutral between the two arms and after the second arm. Then ditto but also moving in and out as you go up and down. Have one hand flat and the other facing it with fingers together straight towards the flat palm, go in and out; repeat on other side, then rest in neutral position. Do the circles on more time, then widen and squeeze your hands, much wider than the first time. Rest in neutral. Touch your fingers lightly and listen to where they touch. Rest your hands on the knees.

This Saturday’s Nei Gong class was kind of frustrating; Joyce and Rick had us standing in Wu Ji for an indefinite period of time. I gave up after 30 minutes, and I’m glad I did; if they’d stopped after 35 or maybe even 40 minutes I might have felt like I should have pushed it further, but they just kept going, and also I’m not into uncertainty as a teaching technique. I’m actually thinking that I’ll pause those classes after December (I might even pause them now if I hadn’t already paid for December): it’s useful having them point out more subtle points of postures and to critique me directly, but the direct critique feels a lot less useful to me over Zoom than in in-person classes I’ve taken with them, and in general the classes seem a lot more focused on pushing through physical endurance than I want. I actually think I could use a push on that, but I like Damo’s more mixed approach, and I also like the sequencing of topics that Damo’s class provides. (Whereas Joyce and Rick have to deal with people at radically different stages in their journey.) And also I’m still dealing with sleep / fatigue issues that are noticeably interfering with things; it would be one thing to try to push my endurance if I were regularly sleeping well, but it’s another thing to push on that when I’m tired far too much of the time.

Still doing the Tai Chi in the park, though we’ll see if a lockdown gets called soon. One note from that class this week: In the Xinjia first form, when flipping your right forearm over before the first punch, don’t immediately bring your left arm up to your temple: your left arm covers your right arm and you step forward with your left foot. Then, after that, you unfold and move up your right arm, and move your left arm to your right temple to block, shifting your weight to your left foot. And then you do the small jump and punch. So, basically, I was missing a step and conflating two left arm positions.

Not much to report other than that; practice went fine given the sleep issues, I’m managing some Tai Chi and Silk Reeling as well, though not as much Tai Chi as would be ideal.

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