Archive for October, 2021

Nei Gong Notes, October 26, 2021

Oct 26 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

Good week. I learned the last of the new set of seated Wu Xing exercises, this time on Metal / Spleen; nice to have that set learned. This one has a couple of positions with your arms held relatively high, so it’s a bit more strenuous than the others, but that’s probably not a bad thing for me to work on? And the video for that talked about doing all of them in sequence; that seemed like it would take a while (close to two hours), but I figured it was worth a try? It’s seated, so it’s not going to be strenuous in a way that a long standing exercise would be, and it has a bunch of different movements, so I wouldn’t be so likely to fall asleep.

So I did that on Friday, and I’m glad I did. In particular, my the time I got to the fourth part, my abdomen was feeling surprisingly puffy, so it feels like it was effective in terms of building up Qi. And sitting for a long time turns out to be pretty manageable; for the last ten minutes or so, the area near my sitz bones hurt enough to start to get distracting (and I can still feel an ache there a few days later!), but it fine, and presumably if I do that more I’ll get used to it.

Having said that, talking it over with one of the senior students, he said that he’d found it useful to do a single element but with 10 minutes per section (80 minutes in total). And that also seems like a good length, and I’m hoping that it’ll help me get more out of each individual element, since I kind of feel like, when I was doing all of them, the later elements were more effective. So I’ll give that a try.

I also watched a video on Thursday talking about how Wu Ji works and what we’re trying to accomplish in our body, and inspired by that (?), I had a quite good Wu Ji session on Friday as well. I set my timer for 30 minutes, but it was going well so I went a few minutes longer; if I hadn’t been planning to do a very long sit after that, I would have gone longer. As it was, I felt like I was doing a good job of relaxing and connecting my body, and also of dropping my weight into my feet and activating my Yong Quan. And I had decent Wu Ji on Sunday as well, not quite as good but not bad.

One interesting thing from Tai Chi on Saturday: in Kick with Two Feet Up, you’re apparently supposed to land stably on your left foot, being similarly stable to how you’d be if you did the version where you don’t jump. That was from a senior student who sometimes disagrees with my teacher, so I’ll have to watch my teacher to make sure he does it that way, but I know my teacher does it that way in Xin Jia, so it seems plausible that Lao Jia works the same way as well. And I tried it out and found it a lot easier to land stably than I expected; that was a pleasant surprise.

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Nei Gong Notes, October 19, 2021

Oct 19 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

A little mellower week than the previous week. I was kind of tired Monday and Tuesday, so I didn’t do Dantian Gong those days; I did go through the Ji Ben over the course of those days, though, so it wasn’t a waste. I was worried that the week was going to continue that way, but the rest of the week was fine, and in particular I went through the Dantian Gong over Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday I didn’t do as much practice as I normally do on non-working weekdays, though, because a couple of different contractors came over to work on the house, so I didn’t have a good block to practice. (I got some done, just not as much.) And I had Sunday Tai Chi, so I didn’t do as much Nei Gong as usual that day, either. Still, practice was fine, just not as long as the prior week.

I’ve done the Water Wu Xing a couple more times, and I haven’t had any nausea like I did a couple of weeks back, so I guess that was a one-time thing? I should probably get back to the Thickening the Qi exercise.

On Monday this week, I did the Dantian Gong, and I was pleased how my legs felt; right at the beginning I was standing a bit lower than normal, and I felt super stable, with my spine a little floaty. Which I was actually a little worried about because I felt disconnected, but I think it settled in fine? And I could have gone longer than the 39 minutes that the normal routine went; I think if I’d been doing Wu Ji I could have gone for at least 45 minutes, assuming I didn’t get distracted by being too bored. So it feels like my legs are pretty well back in shape.

Nothing super special in Damo’s course; the new lesson was continuing the five elements seated sequences, this time doing Earth / Spleen. I’ll do the last of those tonight, I continue to be glad that I’ve been doing them and I’ll miss them when I’ve finished them, I should work them into my routine occasionally.

Not much to say about Tai Chi; been going well, though, I think?

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Nei Gong Notes, October 12, 2021

Oct 12 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

Quite good practice week. I again had two approximately-two-hour practice sessions, and went through a pretty good selection of different exercises over the course of the week, which made me happy with how things were going. And my body felt good this week, noticeably more alive inside than normal. Which I assume is a consequence of the solid practice, though I also feel like I’m doing an unusual amount of back-related exercises (largely because the Qi Gong sequences I’ve been doing the last few weeks have included a spine twist bit at the beginning), and one of the parts of my body that’s felt more alive is my Live Gate, so maybe it’s also a sign that working on my back is useful? Once I’m past his section of Qi Gong exercises, I should seriously consider making sure that I’m doing something back-related every day: maybe back-specific exercises like a few minutes of spine rolls, maybe the Dragons, maybe returning to exercises from this Qi Gong set.

After last week’s Silk Reeling experience, I also decided that I should slow down in that. Which I think is helping, too, I’m certainly sensing things in my body more. (Though probably a lot of that is because of the Nei Gong practice.) Which makes it honestly a little slow for doing during a work meeting, but most weeks I have two meetings that I can do Silk Reeling during, so it should work out okay?

This Saturday I was leaning into that, and honestly probably did Silk Reeling a little too slow during the class. And I almost certainly did the first form too slowly: my teacher went over my form, and one of the things that he noted was that I was pausing for too long between moves. So maybe it wasn’t so much the speed of the individual moves that was too slow, just that I should connect them more? When he showed me an example, it seemed like he was relaxing into the next move instead of relaxing between moves; I tried that on Sunday and it seemed to help?

Some other notes from that: during the reverse version of Oblique Posture, I’m still turning my right arm too far, and not tucking enough. And my right harm might have been a little high? My hand should be at shoulder height, and then I should relax the elbow. And in Teal Dragon my elbow was too high, I think? And in Flash through the Back, I wasn’t straightening my hand enough. In the Xin Jia form we got to the Swing the Leg before the Golden Rooster; I keep on forgetting how your hands are in that one, but both palms are down in Xin Jia.

I also saw a video that had me doing the very end of the first form; I’m leaning forward right after kicking my foot before stepping back, I should try to fix that. The Head-On Cannon looked surprisingly good, at least.

I’d bought a new, heavier Dao the previous week, but it felt unbalanced, so I went back and replaced it with a different one; that one isn’t as heavy as the unbalanced one, but it’s heavier and less floppy than my original Dao, so I think it’ll be a good choice. On that note, I’m missing some of the details of the Lao Jia Dao, I need to work on that more. And I also feel like my Jian is getting sloppy; I think rather than trying to go through a bunch of different forms once during a practice session, I should do fewer forms but do them more times, so I can work on improving them. (But I do want to work on every form at some point over the course of the week, so they all stick with me.)

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Nei Gong Notes, October 5, 2021

Oct 05 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

My best practice week in ages; a combination of my sleep behaving acceptably and me feeling motivated had good results. Yay.

This week in Damo’s course was continuing the five elements seated sequences, this time with Wood. The first bit in the Water sequence (making big circles while twisting your torso) was here too, so I guess that’s common to all of them? Which is good, I like that one, my spine could use the action. Anyways, the surprise with the Wood one is how active it is, with a couple of moves that could be Dao Yins (and maybe actually are, I’ll ask people in the know if they are purging exercises or not). Coincidentally, one of the older lessons that I was rewatching also had a Wood exercise, which talked about how Wood is associated with the tendons, I guess this is part of that.

I still don’t have a feel for exactly when to do the exercises in this new sequence; I’ll wait until I’ve learned all five, but if an explanation of that doesn’t show up, I’ll ask about it.

Anyways, in terms of practice: on Wednesday, I actually practiced a little over two hours in the morning; admittedly, mostly seated, but still. And on Friday, I practiced close to two hours. So it was good to get back into the scene? And, inspired by rewatching old videos, I did go through Thickening the Qi; a little depressing that my Qi didn’t feel as thick as it had sometimes when I did that exercise.

But then I watched the Water Wu Xing video from year one, and decided to do that; normally I just do those five exercises in sequence, but I got the impression that the Water one could stand on its own pretty well, and I feel like I could use the help. So I went through that on Thursday, I think, doing it for 10 minutes? And, after 5 minutes or so, I was feeling an effect in my spine, especially near my neck, so I guess my Qi is a little thick after all. And then I actually started to feel nauseous while doing that, enough so that it felt like a wise idea to stop after 10 minutes instead of going further.

So it was good to get back into older stuff; and I also did manage to go through the whole standing Dan Tian Gong sequence this week, it’s been a while since I’ve done that. And, in general, my standing is now not in the pathetic state that it had been in a few weeks back; I’m not standing forever, but doing Wu Ji for 20 minutes is no problem (I’m sure I could go longer), and doing Dan Tian Gong for 39 minutes seems fine. And I even managed to fit in an extra bit of sitting practice one work afternoon when I hit a break a little early.

In terms of Tai Chi, I led Silk Reeling this week. Tony has been pushing us to do that more slowly, so I did (honestly, I went slightly too slow!), and that was a very interesting experience, getting me to feel more stuff inside my body than I have been. So I’m going to want to continue that. Also it made me realize that my balance just isn’t as good as I’d like on the Circling In To / Out Of Your Kua With A Kick exercises, I need to work on that, and on some bits of the form.

I’m continuing to be optimistic that I’ll learn the Xin Jia first form pretty well this time; I’m up through Jade Girl, and got some help in the transition from Dan Bian into Jade Girl, and now I think I’m solid there. (Bend left, then start facing to the right, with your left hand over your right hand. Circle clockwise down from the right, ending up with chest closed and facing right.) One other pointer from this week: after the flick down with your hands in Xin Jia Oblique Posture, you should let your hands bounce back up pretty high.

I also bought a Guan Dao and a heavier regular Dao this week. Unfortunately, when I started using the new regular Dao, I realized that the weighting is pretty far off; I’ll go back to the store tomorrow and see if they have other ones that are weighted better.

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