Nei Gong Notes, January 12, 2021

Jan 12 2021

This week started off okay; Damo’s lesson was on an exercise for stretching your diaphragm, which I’d seen him talk about in a Zoom class, vaguely thought “I should probably do that, my diaphragm is a little tight”, and then forgotten about it. So it’s good to see it again, and it’s good to have a small thing to work on.

And then the first half of the week, I did my usual exercises and stuff, and that was fine. But then I had a day when I decided to try a longer Wu Ji over lunch, and that really wasn’t happening: I was sweating and had my heart racing before I hit 10 minutes, and aside from being unpleasant, that’s a sign that something is seriously off in my body positioning or behavior or something.

Exactly what was off wasn’t so clear, though. I was tired; maybe that has that effect? And my back had been hurting; maybe that was making my muscles tense up in ways that prevented me from relaxing correctly or had me unconsciously standing in a bad position. Or maybe I was just standing too low.

I’m still not sure what was going on, but the weekend wasn’t any better; and even my upper torso felt off, I wasn’t managing to get a good effect from trying to relax the top of my shoulders. The back pain is clearly bad, though: I don’t know if it’s causing problems with my Wu Ji (and actually in the past sometimes Wu Ji has helped with it, now that I think about it), but it might be, and it’s not pleasant either way. Not that it’s horrible or anything, but still, worth fixing. And actually it wasn’t really just back pain: part of it was in my right kua, which feels like it might have been triggered by me trying to relax that more and change my positioning? That part feels worth waiting out, though who knows.

So I’m thinking I should maybe do a bit more Tai Chi: I actually did that over lunch today instead of doing a real Nei Gong session. But also I’m thinking I’m probably standing too low again: that’s certainly reliably led to that sort of sweating in the past, and maybe it’s also causing muscle pain? So I’ll experiment with standing higher; and actually the little bit of Wu Ji I did today was better, my upper torso in particular felt better.

One other thing I was thinking of was that the time when I was feeling like things were going well a few weeks back happened to coincide with when I was doing Coiling Snake, and in particular my back felt actively good then. Maybe that’s not a coincidence? So I’ve been trying to work that into my end-of-the-afternoon practice more often than not; short sessions, since I’ve been feeling bad, but hopefully it will help.

One thing I noticed doing Tai Chi today: the last time my teacher reviewed my form, one of the things that he pointed out was that my arms weren’t properly going over my head during Thrust with the Right Foot and/or Thrust with the Left Foot. I’ve been working on it, and noticed that it went better in Left Foot than Right foot; and today I noticed that I wasn’t turning my torso as much on the Left Foot as on the Right foot; when I turned it more, my arm seemed to arc over the top more naturally.

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