Archive for April, 2021

Nei Gong Notes, April 27, 2021

Apr 27 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

I started actually learning the Dragon Dao Yins this past week: on Tuesday, I learned a Qi Gong that starts off the form and started learning some hand motions, on Thursday I got a refinement of those hand motions and started learning some footwork. I was thinking that, on Sunday, I’d move on and put the hand motions and footwork together, but I actually wasn’t feeling great on the footwork, so I figured I’d play it slow? (At least this week, I imagine some weeks I’ll make different choices.) Definitely still stuff for me to work on, though I will watch the next videos today: making sure I’m turning around my spine during the hand changes instead of swinging from side to side, and my balance still isn’t great in the footwork.

In general I’ve been sleepier than I’d like; not horrible, but still not as good as I’d like it to be. I’d like that to get better, hopefully I’ll succeed in improving things, but I’m also trying to accept what it is: it really does affect my ability to practice, and that’s okay.

On Saturday, I asked Tony about my habit of stretching my hand (to connect my Lao Gong with my Dantian) in some moves in the Tai Chi form, e.g. White Crane Spreads its Wings. And I’m really glad I asked, because he gave an interesting answer: he said Tai Chi is about spiraling, so your hand should be a little curved. And when I tried that out, I felt a different sort of connection: going along the outside of my upper arm, and he talked about how it connects up to your Live Gate instead of your Lao Gong. So when practicing today, I experimented with that, in a bunch of different positions, trying to figure out what the natural spiral was in each move and how that affects my arm; lots more to work on there.

Also, one Dao pointer: in White Cloud Shadows Overhead, you should end up in your back foot instead of your front foot; in fact, in the Hunyuan version, you should take half a step back as part of the move.

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Nei Gong Notes, April 20, 2021

Apr 20 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

This week was my first week of taking a break from Damo’s course and spending time learning the Dragon Dao Yins instead. (I mean, it’s still from Damo, it’s just a different part of the website!) It’s broken up into a bunch of small lessons, so I’ll have to think about how to pace them; for now, though, on Tuesday I went through the intro lesson and a few different ones on stretches, and on Thursday I went through one on Wu Ji and one on a different standing posture called Tai Yi. All stuff I’d seen before, but I only barely remembered Tai Yi and had never practiced it regularly; and some of the stretches were ones I didn’t practice regularly, either.

One thing I learned from the Tai Yi lesson is that I’d been doing the Tai Ji mudra wrong: your right thumb is supposed to be on the outside on top instead of inside. Which, in retrospect, makes sense: your right thumb kind of mirrors your left fingers and your left fingers kind of mirror your right thumb. Anyways, Tai Yi seems fine: it’s more focused on your spine and central line. And it feels a little unstable, because your feet are right next to each other, but nothing unmanageable; we’ll see if my balance / sinking ever evolves to a situation where that feels stable.

Tony reviewed my form on Saturday, and he said I was making progress, probably the most positive I’ve heard him be? So that’s nice: it felt like I’d been doing better at sinking since last time, and that must have paid off. A couple of pointers he had: In Reverse with Spiraling Forearms, I should generate power when striking from my rear foot, so my foot has to land before I strike. And in the reverse version of Oblique Posture, I should tuck my tailbone more, and I should adjust my left knee. (Open it, I’m fairly sure.)

In general, a fine week. Less sleepy than the previous week, so I did my full complement of Dantian Gong; but still more sleepy than I’d like, so my practice sessions were more likely to feel like the minimum than like going beyond. I did get a pointer (maybe from the Dragon Dao Yin videos, maybe from the book) about finding your center of gravity that caused me to try to wobble my body back and forth and see where it’s wobbling from; and, at different heights, I do seem to be naturally flexing from a different place? So I’ll try working with that; it puts me at the lower range of where I’d been standing (I usually get lower as my practice progresses and I relax more), which makes sense.

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Nei Gong Notes, April 13, 2021

Apr 13 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

Not the best week in general – I had more sleep problems than I’d had over the last couple of months, so I was tired a lot. So I only made it through standing Dantian Gong once this week instead of twice, and in general practice sessions were short.

Because I wasn’t doing as much Dantian Gong, I did do a little more Wu Ji. I wouldn’t say it was great, but it was good in some ways, and different in some ways; in particular, it felt like there were lines of connection going up into my abdomen sometimes? I’d felt a certain kind of stretchiness like that before in some curves in my body (my butt, in particular), which I’d thought of as tendons maybe starting to get conditioned; I don’t know that there are tendons going in that direction on my abdomen, though, so maybe it’s a huang thing? Not sure, but it was kind of interesting. And in general I get a kind of interesting sensation in my Dantian while doing Wu Ji, so I feel like the Dantian Gong is having an effect. Still no Zi Fa Gong, though, in general I don’t feel like the Dantian is actually really filling up yet, but hopefully it’s conditioned more.

Also, when doing seated meditation, I’m noticing that, if I stretch up a bit and settle down, then I feel more stable in my lower back; I think it’s a sign that I’d been curving my lower back forward a little bit by default, but that I’m learning to counteract that if I prepare right. So hopefully I can become more stable that way. The other thing that I’m noticing is that, if I sit on my meditation cushion, I’m leaning forward too much in ways that make me realize that I’m actually sliding forward; I’ll try to work on sitting further back on the cushion and sitting a little more vertically, but it might also be related to something in the cushion, since that doesn’t happen when I’m sitting on the edge of Widget’s dog bed. (How thick the cushion is, the material that it’s filled with, something like that.)

Finished the first year of Damo’s course; now I’m going to take a break from new lessons for maybe a couple of months and I’ll go through his Dragon Dao Yin exercises. Hopefully by the time I’ve learned those, the Jing Gong stuff will have started to kick in? We’ll see.

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Nei Gong Notes, April 6, 2021

Apr 06 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

Not a whole ton to report on my practice this week; the main thing that I noticed was that, when I was trying to do Wu Ji, I found it surprisingly hard to maintain my willpower. Not sure how much of that was me happening to feel more tired than normal when doing that (which was certainly the case one of the times, not so clear the other time), how much of that was me getting out of the habit of doing Wu Ji standalone now that so much of my practice is taken up with Dantian Gong, and how much of that is potentially something else. Though when I did Wu Ji today (intentionally short, because I had some one-off sleep issues last night), I felt unusually connected, so that’s something good at least.

Anyways, this week’s lesson was on Preparation for Alchemy. Which was doing two things: one part was a recommendation to take up a more ascetic lifestyle for some temporary but unspecified period in preparation for something that’s coming up in year two of the course, and the other part was some exercises mostly related to opening up channels. (Gives me vague memories of the Heavenly Streams course.)

I haven’t seriously started the former yet, partly because I’m not planning to go straight into Year Two: I’m thinking that the fact that the Jing Gong exercises still aren’t doing anything for me is a sign that I might not quite be ready, so I’m going to spend some time reviewing old lessons and trying to learn the Dragon Dao Yins. But the other part is that I’m not entirely sure what things I want to give up, and also because I’m bothered by the open-ended nature: if I were single and living alone, I’d probably just do it, but I don’t feel great about giving up things in ways that affect other family members?

Also, I feel like there’s some kind of deeper motivation for what’s going on that makes the description in that lesson seem a bit off. E.g. giving up media seems a little off for me – I’m more worried about compulsive behavior than media in general. So it actually feels healthier to me to get better at watching movies without having a second screen open, or to just concentrate on reading books, than to give up movies / books? And if there’s one form of media that does feel healthy to me to give up, it’s social media, but Damo was pretty clearly talking about other forms of media. (Not that he said to keep on doing social media, I’m fairly sure he’d agree with pausing that, it’s just that his examples were other forms of media.) So I need to figure that out for now – should I focus on reducing compulsive tendencies instead of reducing other forms of media, or reducing both, or what?

I don’t have to worry about it too much right now, though, I can wait until I think I’m ready to start year 2.

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