Archive for January, 2022

Nei Gong Notes, January 18, 2022

Jan 18 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

This week’s lesson in Damo’s class was on Developing Yi Qi. The URL had it as one of the Qi mobilization exercises, but unlike the previous ones, it was based on one of the Wu Xing Qi Gong exercises instead of the Ji Ben Qi Gong. Specifically, you’re doing the Water exercise, but trying to pay attention to subtler sensations which track Qi movement, and eventually doing that to the extent that you’re kind of losing track of your body. And, in particular, you’re not supposed to work on maintaining good physical structure: if your body moves around as part of this, that’s okay.

At first, I was mostly tracking a tingling sensation, though there were some other different physical sensations, in particular some nausea when I went past my throat. As I practiced it more over the week, though, I felt more tugging deeper within my body; based on what I’ve seen in other talks, that sort of deeper level sensation is probably progress over the surface-level tingling, but there’s also deeper levels; I don’t really know if I was meeting the intent of the body.

I did eventually start feeling my body move on its own while I was moving past certain spots; I don’t think this is a Zi Fa Gong thing, more intentional guided Qi movement having an effect on the body. The other thing was that there were places along my spine where the sensations mostly disappeared; it makes me wonder if those were exactly the Clipping Passes. (One of them was my Ming Men, which kind of disappointed me: I’d been feeling like I’d made significant progress towards opening it up, but I guess I have a ways to go!) If I paused at those places, though, I could get the feeling back, and it would actually feel pretty strong.

At any rate, an interesting practice; I’ll probably pause on doing it every day, but I should still work it in once a week or so, maybe more frequently for the next few weeks. And I should probably try doing a long session, like 30-40 minutes instead of 10-20 minutes: I felt like I was still getting interesting new sensations after 20 minutes, so I should see what it’s like going deeper.

I also did the next lesson in Damo’s Tai Chi course; this was on a second version of Wu Song Shen Fa, where you focus on “Fang Song Gong” instead of loosening. In this one, you’re paying attention to how energy sinks from your shoulder down your torso and legs into your foot, and then comes back up on its own when you relax in the right way. I’ll have to work on it more, I honestly don’t know if I’m getting at the right feeling there or not.

In the Saturday Tai Chi class, we got back to the later bits of the Xin Jia first form; hopefully Tony will make a habit of that, so we’ll make it to the end? (And so I won’t regret having to leave the previous Sunday class early.) The bit that we did this time was a repeat of stuff we’d done on Sunday, though: we did through Swing the Leg. Still, good to be back to doing that. And we’ll start the Hunyuan 48 form from the beginning in a few weeks; I’ll try to learn that, I think I’m at a state where I can add in another new form.

In terms of my practice: a pretty solid week? Friday was good (my hoped for new norm of over three hours across two sessions); Wednesday was so-so because other stuff was going on; I’d hoped to get in an extra long practice on Monday because I had a holiday but I was kind of tired that morning so it only added up to maybe an hour and half of practice that day. (Made up for Wednesday, though, I guess?) I did get in a 57-minute session of Dantian Gong, which is 8 out of the 10 exercises; I could probably do all 10 if I forced it, and honestly I probably should, but at least the good news is that almost an hour of standing in a posture that, from the point of view of my legs, is like Wu Ji, is progress; so just getting to where that happened not infrequently would be progress, and I’ll eventually be able to go further as long as I keep that up.

I also had an interesting experience in the Taiyi standing at the end of the Dragons one time: at first it felt normal, but then I felt one part of my spine relaxing an unusual amount, and then a different part, and then a different part. So that was pretty cool, hopefully it’ll happen again.

The other new thing this week is that I started reading Anatomy Trains. That’s a really interesting book on the interplay of fascia and muscles as a complete system; seems like a similar way of looking at the body as I get in Nei Gong. And one of its points is that the body should be holding together via tensegrity; I’m trying to sense into parts in my body which give a tug that helps stabilize things. Also, one thing that I’ve noticed that is probably related to that: more often this week, I’m noticing a downward tug at the back of my neck in a way that’s holding my neck upright more easily? It even seems to be happening when I’m sitting down, so it’s not specifically related to sinking my tailbone.

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Nei Gong Notes, January 11, 2022

Jan 11 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

This week’s lesson in Damo’s course was a theory lecture, on Direct Experience. Didn’t give me too much that stuck with me, though I should watch it again. I used the week to focus on the concentration exercise that I mentioned last time; a few interesting experiences, but I have more work to do. Though I was also thinking that, before I go into that, I should ask if there are any prerequisites to that exercise, since there are some potentially related exercises in year one that I haven’t gone deep into.

For Damo’s Tai Chi course, I rewatched the four energies video; I’ll move onto a new lesson this week.

My Nei Gong practice went quite well. I’d been thinking for a while that I’ve sort of fallen into a rut of doing one seated and one standing practice a day; on days off, they’re long practices, so it’s a good length of time, but still. I’d originally been thinking I’d do a morning practice and an afternoon practice, but I really just do not reliably have energy to do a long practice after lunch: my energy level falls after eating and takes quite a while to recover.

So on Friday I decided to get started earlier than I had been doing, beginning a practice at maybe 8:30? So I was doing Nei Gong from about 8:30 to 10:30, then something else from 10:30 to 11:30, and then I did another practice session until some time between 1pm and 1:30. And that went well; I’ll definitely want to try to keep up that model on Wednesdays as Fridays as much as possible. (Though, sadly, not tomorrow, since I have an unusual work meeting on Wednesday morning, from 8am to 10am.)

The other thing that I noticed is that I feel like my posture is getting better while doing seated meditation? I’m getting more sensitive to the right angle, and to having my spine not curving inappropriately in the middle. So it’s getting easier to feel like I’m sitting stably with a good posture without being too tense or using too much energy.

In terms of my regular Tai Chi class, practice wasn’t quite as good; I had to deal with some HOA stuff on Friday, so I couldn’t practice then, though I had a good practice on Wednesday. Class on Saturday was pretty good; I got reminded of one bit of foot positioning right before Oblique Posture in the Xin Jia first form. And there was Sunday class; unfortunately, I had to leave that one a bit early (more HOA stuff), so I didn’t get to see the new bits of the Xin Jia form. Hopefully that won’t bite me…

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Nei Gong Notes, January 4, 2022

Jan 04 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

This week’s lesson in Damo’s course had us continuing with going deeper into the Ji Ben Qi Gong, this time doing the fifth one. Unlike the previous four, it’s not about setting up a pump; instead, it started with working the side branches (which is what is most accessible when you do the exercise normally), and then had me leaning forward in a way that caused the Dantian and Kua to get involved, in a way that Damo compared to Silk Reeling exercises. So that was pretty interesting; I don’t know that it’ll be my favorite exercise, but it was good to feel that connection, and also to feel the movement in my torso?

I also watched an annual predictions video from Damo which led me to watching his 2021 video; the second half of that previous one was presenting a seated exercise around developing concentration. And that was pretty interesting; I’d been thinking I should maybe spend some time working on seated exercises for mental training instead of energy building, so I think I’ll give that one a try?

In general, a good practice week; Wednesday was fine, I didn’t put in as much time on Friday as I normally do but still noticeable amounts on Friday and Sunday, and I did a long practice on Monday as well since I had that day off. And things were getting more active by the end of that; on Monday, in particular, I went through the five energies balancing exercises, and I had several bits where that felt more interesting than it had in the past. Nothing huge, or anything, but still, it felt like a bit of progress?

And I did the Jing Gong exercise a couple of times; not a strong feeling, but there was definitely something bouncing around in my Dantian. I rewatched the Jing Gong 1 video, and it sounds like the sensation should get stronger; I should make sure to keep on doing Dantian Gong, as per the recommendation of that video, but I’ll also keep at the Jing Gong. And I’ll probably watch the Jing Gong 2 video and experiment with adding that in.

I didn’t do any of my regular Tai Chi most of the week, because it was raining outside; I did watch the next video in Damo’s Tai Chi course, though. It was on the first half of his version of the eight energies drill; interesting stuff, among other things because it had me focusing a little more on what my Kua was doing. I’ll also have to be open to the possibility that his interpretation of those energies is different than what I’m used to?

Tai Chi class on Saturday was good; nothing particular to report there. And I did get in good practice on Sunday and Monday as well; on Monday, maybe because I was thinking about my Kua, I think I figured out one thing that had been bothering me. When stepping forward in Jing Gang Pounds Pestle, I often felt off balance; but what I noticed on Monday was that if I closed my left Kua more and made sure I was facing forward, I felt a lot more stable. Hopefully that will stick; if so, good to have it figured out.

I wrote a blog post about relaxing your shoulders; longer than I would have liked, but maybe there’s something useful there. It’s certainly useful to me, in particular thinking about how the shoulder blades affect things.

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