Nei Gong Notes, March 23, 2021

Mar 23 2021

Good week. This week’s lesson from Damo was about walking, presenting three separate techniques: a very slow, meditative form of walking; a fast one useful for regular walking around town; and a moderate one used for connecting with nature. I didn’t try the third one, I’m deferring that until later, but I did the first and third.

The first one was pretty straightforward; but it is interesting moving slowly and watching the details of how my muscles and body react to movement. And also to realize that I find it hard to relax while moving my leg; something to work on? The brisk walking, though, was surprisingly interesting: it has you pushing forward from the ball of your foot while walking, and it’s honestly the first time that I’ve really felt that putting pressure on my Yong Quan is leading to more feelings of energy in my body. So I’m definitely glad that I was trying that out, I’ve really felt good this week, I’ll keep it up as a daily practice. (I’ll keep up the slow walking one, too, but probably more of a once-a-week thing, mixing it in with the random Dao Yins and what not.)

And the other benefit of that fast walking exercise is that I was doing it during my morning walks, which meant that I wasn’t looking at my phone while walking. (I was still listening to podcasts, though; which I think is fine, it’s not presented as a form of meditation, just a way to use your body well.) Which is also good, in that it gets you more involved in your environment; I’d been thinking I should do that more when walking, so I could use the nudge. The downside is that, much of the time, what I’m looking at on my phone is Japanese vocabulary, so I’ll need to find another time to fit in those review sessions; I think that’s okay, though, I can do it in spare moments at home instead of doing puzzles or something. And I’m leaving in the Japanese review in the end-of-day walks: I’m walking Widget then, which means that my walking has a lot more stops and starts, so it’s not so great for working on the details of how I move my body.

Also, general practice went well most of the week and quite well the last few days. Yesterday, when I was doing Anchoring the Breath, my body wanted to breathe much more deeply and forcefully then it basically ever has before. That’s one of the things that I read about as a benefit of meditation, but I’d never really experienced it: my breathing had gotten lower in my torso, but the volume of breath hadn’t really increased. But the volume definitely increased yesterday.

And then today I did Song Breathing, and I managed to get back to a surprisingly relaxed state. It wasn’t quite as dramatic as it was two weeks ago, I didn’t get the same sort of tingling sensation in my chest that lasted for an hour, but there was definitely something going on there. And I think maybe that tingling sensation was a bit of a one-time thing of some blockages clearing, or something like that; if so, it would make sense that it didn’t recur. (And my chest has felt somewhat more relaxed over the last two weeks than it had been; though there’s still room for improvement, so who knows.)

And in general I feel like my Dantian is maybe starting to feel a little more substantial; and on Sunday I did Calm Abiding followed by seated Dantian Gong followed by Jing Gong, and while the Jing Gong didn’t do anything super interesting, I felt like maybe I’m getting closer? So I’m going to try to set up my routines so I’m doing Calm Abiding on Sundays, to experiment with that trio of exercises again; that means that I’ll have one day a week that doesn’t fit into my current three-exercise rotation of seated meditation exercises, but that’s okay, I’d been thinking I should get back to doing a Ting exercise and/or a reverse breathing exercise, so I’ll fit one of those into the Saturday slot.

And both yesterday and today I did the standing Dantian Gong in 3-minute blocks instead of in 5-minute blocks that I was trying to divide in two by counting. And that’s definitely the right choice for me, my mind is more relaxed there. (Though I should still work on not having my mind wander and having it spend more time on my Dantian.) It means that I have to spend 39 minutes with my the lower half of my body in pretty much a static position, but it’s been fine yesterday and today, so actually that longer duration is probably a benefit in that it’ll help build up my endurance a bit. (At some point I should get back to trying out longer Wu Ji sessions! But, for now, spending my time on Dantian Gong is probably the right choice.)

Tai Chi has been going fine; not much to report there, we’re starting the Hun Yuan Dao form, and I’m finally getting around to working on Sweeping the Hall Leg, which is the move in the second form that I’m by far the worst at. Once I get competent at that, I’ll try to up the quality of my performance of the second form more broadly.

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