Archive for March, 2022

Nei Gong Notes, March 29, 2022

Mar 29 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

Not a lot to talk about this week. Though actually this week’s lesson in Damo’s course was kind of surprising; it was another seated exercise involving pulling up your Huiyin, which sounds straightforward enough? But then he also talked about not letting stuff escape through the top of your Dantian, and I realized that I was in fact not closing that off. So I think that I’m going to watch that lesson again tonight instead of moving on to a new lesson; he said that this one was harder to get in place in your body than you’d expect, and I think that is proving to be the case.

Not great Nei Gong practice. The sleep stuff has taken yet another turn; I think that now with some bedding changes I’m actually not feeling too allergic overnight? So I can breathe okay, and I haven’t woken up startled for a while. But I’m still not reliably sleeping solidly. Not sure what’s going on there; maybe it’s my brain being funny, maybe it’s Widget spending more time in the bed than he had been, maybe there’s something else physical going on. For now I’m just letting it be; but at any rate I was doing minimal amounts of practice a lot this week.

Though there was one interesting thing related to going to bed – after sporadically trying the Shui Gong 2 exercise once every week or two for a year or so, I started to feel something going down my spine. My memory was that he talked about shaking going down your spine, whereas what I felt was fairly slow waves, so I’m not completely sure that what I was experiencing was what that lesson talked about. I guess it’s time for me to watch that lesson again.

Tony went over my form this Saturday; a bit of a let down, I kept on having Xin Jia leak into my form. We talked a bit about other stuff for me to do, though; he said he was willing to do Push Hands if I could get some people to commit to that. So I’ll give that a try.

I hadn’t been working much on my Silk Reeling notes; not sure how much is being past the initial flush of ideas and how much is that Damo’s generating a new set of videos from his current retreat that are keeping me busy on Thursdays. Having said that, I did realize that I wasn’t making as much progress as I’d like, and I put in some time on that on Saturday. So that’s okay; my goal isn’t to put in huge amounts of focused effort, I just want to chip away at it.

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Nei Gong Notes, March 22, 2022

Mar 22 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

No new Nei Gong lesson this week, because I’d had an interrupted week the previous week and figured I could use the extra time with the current exercise. (Advanced Dantian Gong.) I didn’t get quite as much extra exercise as I would have liked: I was on call, and that interrupted my Wednesday Nei Gong session, so while I did have a good session with the seated Wu Xing exercises that day, I didn’t manage to continue with an Advanced Dantian Gong. But I did spend an hour on it on Friday, and of course I had more shorter sessions.

So, pretty solid week practice wise; nothing stellar, but it was fine. One thing that I noticed when practicing was doing the regular Dantian Gong: at the end, I feel kind of reluctant about doing the Wu Ji at the end, and it’s because I feel that it’s going to make me sink my torso in a way that feels different / tired. And that in turn probably means that I’m holding my torso wrong during Dantian Gong, that I’m not relaxing enough, because I don’t think the feeling in my torso should change significantly in that particular way.

I’d also put off the next lesson in Damo’s Tai Chi course for another week, because it felt like a useful one and I hadn’t really spent much time with it. I spent a bit of time with it this week; but, honestly, my conclusion is that I need everything to go right for me to spend even a vaguely acceptable amount of time on that course, and I basically never actually dive into it. I’m glad I’ve spent the time that I have with that course, but a big part of what I’ve learned is an understanding how the Tai Chi system he teaches is different from Chen Tai Chi (significantly more/different emphasis on Song, significantly less emphasis on the Dantian); so if I really want to learn Damo’s system, it’s not just going to be learning a few forms, it’s going to be putting in significant effort like learning a different martial art. And I don’t want to spend that kind of time on it now; if I were to spend more time on something on my days off, I’d rather spend it playing piano. Or, if I’m going to do something Tai Chi related, maybe find a way to spend time on push hands.

Not much to report on my regular Tai Chi: continuing to chip away, the Guan Dao and the Hunyuan 48 both continue to be a bit hard to learn in real time, but I think I’m keeping up with them pretty well by reviewing videos. I’d hoped to have my teacher look at my form last Saturday, but he was busy; hopefully that will happen this Saturday.

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Nei Gong Notes, March 15, 2022

Mar 15 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

This week’s Nei Gong lesson was on a new form of Dantian Gong; this one, instead of being focused on building up the Dantian as a container, was focused on adding more Qi to your Dantian. Which, interestingly, meant that you don’t want to stretch you Lao Gong as much during this exercise: you need to stretch it a bit to build the connection between your hands and Dantian, but if you stretch them too much, apparently that makes the boundary of your Dantian hard to pass through.

Anyways, interesting exercise: when learning it, I was pretty surprised how quickly / strongly my hands locked into my Dantian, given how far apart they were, and in general it got my Dantian feeling kind of buzzy? warm? Not sure how to describe it, but unusual at any rate. I won’t necessarily chalk that all up to this exercise, since I was feeling some of that after the previous exercise, but this one is definitely helping.

I was hoping to do it more, because it sounded like something you could do for a while. Unfortunately, my practice routine wasn’t great this week; I was working M-W this week and taking Th-F off, but unfortunately I felt mildly sick on Thursday, so I didn’t get serious Nei Gong practice in either day. (I think either a cold or just side effects from being tired; I took a COVID test on Friday and it was negative.) That also meant that I didn’t spend more time practicing stuff from Damo’s Tai Chi course this week, which I’d been hoping to do. So I’m not going to do new lessons in either course this week, to give them more time.

Saturday Tai Chi was good; I led Silk Reeling, which surprised me a bit, I thought it hadn’t been that long since my last turn? I’d been thinking I should ask Tony for advice on what to work on next, though, so it’s good timing. And we had Sunday Tai Chi this week as well. It continues to be the case that both the Hunyuan 48 and the Lao Jia Guan Dao are being surprisingly hard for me to pick up on the fly, but I’ve got good videos of both, so I’m managing to keep up with them both. And I do enjoy both forms; they make sense once I’ve learned them, they just take a surprisingly long time to learn.

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Nei Gong Notes, March 8, 2022

Mar 08 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

This week’s lesson in Damo’s course was continuing the Qi Mobilization series, this time doing the sixth Ji Ben (Diagonal Flying). Pretty interesting one: he was pointing out how that one reinforces your central channel, and indeed if I focus on that during the rest position in the exercise (e.g. stretching my middle fingers), I feel a bit of a stretch in the middle of a body and a tingling at the top of my head. And then when I do the forceful version of the exercise (as with all the Qi Mobilization exercises, there are three versions), I get this interesting feeling like there’s a sheet stretching out. And then, in the final version, it’s nice feeling my arms mostly stretch out on their own.

In terms of general practice, another very good week. I got in three hours on both Wednesday and Friday; and on Wednesday, I did the full Dantian Gong set in a single session. So that’s more than an hour of standing; I need to keep on working on long standing sessions, but that’s an accomplishment. Nothing else that was particularly notable individually, but it’s good to feel like chipping away is helping. And in general I’m feeling like my Dantian is ambiently buzzing a bit more, so hopefully that’s a sign that I’m building things up too. (I did also keep on going with the previous sitting exercise, doing it most days, maybe even every day.)

A new lesson in Damo’s Tai Chi course; it covered Wu Song Shan Fa 3, another way to get at that system’s take on Song. And it felt maybe a little more effective than some of the other ones, I could feel stuff moving across my chest? I am starting to feel like it would be good for me to put in more time into those classes; e.g. I feel like I haven’t been doing Taiyi standing enough, and then actually I realized I’d forgotten the details of that exercise. Not entirely sure where to fit that in; at the very least, I should put in a more serious practice on Sundays, probably going through a couple of different exercises.

My regular Tai Chi is going okay; I feel like my Xin Jia has stopped improving and is in danger of degrading, though, so I should put in a little more effort to shore that up. And I should also find a good Xin Jia video to help with that, the ones that I’ve been using so far are a little hard to learn from…

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Nei Gong Notes, March 1, 2022

Mar 01 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

Quite a good week. As I mentioned last time, I decided not to do a new lesson this week, so I was just continuing with the exercise from last week. And I was definitely feeling better for most of the week; I had a solid three+ hour practice on Wednesday, and while Friday was only a two hour practice, that’s still an okay amount. I decided to try a long Wu Ji but only made it for, if I’m remembering correctly, 45 minutes; I feel like I should work on that, because I bet that there will be some long sessions in the retreat in June?

And then on Saturday something interesting happened: I didn’t have time to do the new seated exercise before Tai Chi, so I did it at the end of the afternoon. And I honestly wasn’t expecting it to go well, because I was pretty tired; but, unexpectedly, I felt two strong sensations on the outside of my abdomen, one in the back on my Ming Men, one in the front on my Qi Hai.

Which rings a bell: I haven’t gone back to listen to it, but my memory is that, in the Microcosmic Orbit preparation video series, there’s an exercise that involves connecting those two points, and in fact it’s the next exercise after the one that involves connecting the Huiyin up to the Dantian. Given that the current exercise is about the Huiyin and Dantian, I’m expecting one connecting the Qi Hai and Ming Men to show up soon, but I wasn’t expecting to start feeling something there now without doing an exercise that directly dealt with those points? But the feeling really was unmistakeable.

No idea why it was so strong that time; it was significantly weaker on Sunday (I’m not sure I would have noticed the Qi Hai part on Sunday if I hadn’t been listening for it), and either not present or barely present on Monday and Tuesday. Still, it was pretty cool.

I also had a good practice over lunch yesterday. I was feeling tired, so I decided to just do 20 minutes of Wu Ji, but they ended up being a very solid 20 minutes. Basically, my whole body felt like it was hanging together in a sort of tensegrity way, I felt a pretty clear line down the inside of my thigh, and I felt really heavy in my feet. Also, in general over the weekend I felt like my back was loose; in general it seems like my back is hanging nicely, with my pelvis providing a tug down and also with a tug down around my neck. So I really do think that I’m making progress towards building up a Nei Gong body?

And Tai Chi also went well this week. In particular, on Sunday I had an unusual amount of energy for doing Tai Chi, so I threw in a practice of Damo’s stuff, and it went pretty well; I did 15 minutes of that form of Wu Ji and was sinking a ton there (with very heavy feet), and then I did the new exercise. Which I’m still learning, and in general I think it will be quite a while before I’m good at using Song to generate significant energy, but I’ll keep on chipping away?

My sleep has been pretty crappy the last couple of days, but I had an appointment my allergist on Wednesday and she gave me a couple of suggestions, one of which I’m pretty optimistic about. So I’ll give that a try this weekend, hopefully it will make a difference.

And I’ve managed to get started on content that I’m planning for my new Silk Reeling website. And I’ve been fitting it into random evenings, which is good: being able to do it in bits and pieces increases the chance that I’ll actually get it done. It certainly helps that individual pages there are quite a bit smaller than my posts on my regular blog, that makes it a lot easier to write it a bit at a time.

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