Nei Gong Notes, January 18, 2022

Jan 18 2022

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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