Archive for August, 2022

Nei Gong Notes, August 16, 2022

Aug 16 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

This week’s lesson in Damo’s course was on Self-Healing. Which, basically, is using attention (but not intention!) to help your body heal itself. I don’t have any current physical ailments that I particularly need to recover from right now, so I didn’t spend time trying it out, but something to keep in mind the next time I strain something.

Though I do have an energetic ailment: I’d been feeling better about my Liver Heat improving and was looking forward to focusing on my Kidney deficiency, but then the Liver problems were actually kind of annoying the first half of this week. I decided to spend time doing the Wood Wu Xing and I asked Damo about it and he recommended the Water Hui Chun, so I’ve been doing those, and it really did get significantly better over the weekend (and my doctor agreed when I saw him yesterday); yay. When I did the Wood Wu Xing the first time this week, I had a noticeable tingling in my Bai Hui, and that went away after about five minutes of the exercise; I’m not used to that clear a concrete effect.

That got me thinking, though, that right now my main issue is this energy problem. And, until I get that sorted out, I’m just not going to be able to do stuff at full capacity. And, if I’m focusing on sorting that out, it seems like that can make a difference; so that’s what I should be doing as my top priority.

And, in terms of other priorities, my next priority is getting the Microcosmic Orbit going reliably: that’s definitely more important to me than Damo’s class. But, also, I was sitting this weekend and thinking “my chest really does feel tenser than would be ideal, I should work on that”.

So, right now, I feel like my priority should be 1) getting healthy; 2) the Microcosmic Orbit; 3) going back to foundations; 4) continuing with Damo’s course. And there’s no way I will ever find time for the fourth of those, given that priority stack; honestly, even three priorities feels wrong. The only reason why I’m not saying that I’ll just do the first two is that that would basically have me only doing seated work, and that feels wrong: my natural tendency is already to seek out seated work and avoid standing work, and I don’t think that’s healthy. So I should keep up the Wu Ji, I should probably work in some Dao Yins (given that I’m noticing tightness in my chest, maybe spend some time on the Lotus Dao Yin?), I should keep on throwing the Wood Wu Xing into the mix, and it’s probably not a bad idea for me to go through the Ji Ben exercises some.

But, given those three priorities, even once I do have the health issues sorted out, I’ll probably still want to stay paused on new lessons for a bit while I get the Microcosmic Orbit under control? Also, I should probably find time on the days when I’m working to fit in a second seated session, so I can do a Hui Chun plus poke away at MCO stuff; fortunately, if I’m pausing Damo’s course, that opens up some time on Tuesday and Thursday evenings that I can use for that. (Or at least it does on Thursdays; I have a Tai Chi course on Tuesdays for the next three weeks that’s keeping me unusually busy.)

One other thing I did this week was trying out Damo’s advice for driving a car: relaxing my arms and getting a stretch in them. Pretty interesting; my hands seem to be asymmetric, so if I want them to feel like they’re stretching the same amount, I need to move the right hand up the wheel. (I don’t think that’s me, I think probably the seat isn’t quite centered in front of the wheel.) And he talked about paying attention to the cars around you; I noticed that actually do feel a bit of pressure in the appropriate direction, but only when they’re quite close. I’ll play with that a bit too, though not at the expense of actually looking around me!

Tai Chi is going okay; I haven’t had the energy to do as much practice as I should, but I did manage to successfully get caught up with the spear, and to remind myself of one bit of the Jian that I was starting to stumble on. I need to work on the Guan Dao this week, though, there’s class this Sunday. (It’s the annual picnic, so maybe we won’t have time to do Guan Dao, but I should be prepared in case we do.)

And I’m chipping away at Push Hands. Still a huge amount of work to do there, but it’s something. I learned the moving two hands version tonight; and in terms of stuff to work on, I need to work more on turning my waist and on sticking to my opponent.

One of the senior students asked if I was doing instructor certification; nice that she thinks that I’m doing well enough to ask that question! I’d been thinking about it but hadn’t heard that it was scheduled, but it’s coming up in September. So I should look through what’s necessary for that; when I’ve seen people do it in the past, they’ve demonstrated the Lao Jia first form and one weapon, and I feel comfortable enough with that (I’ll probably do the Jian), but I should make sure to put in a bit more time when practicing just to make sure.

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Nei Gong Notes, August 9, 2022

Aug 09 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

Good week; not 100% back to normal in my practice, but a lot closer than I had been. I did one of Damo’s lessons for the first time in over a month; it was the Qi Mobilization version of the eighth Ji Ben Qi Gong exercise. Which was pretty interesting: like the seventh, it’s about mobilizing the Yin field, and as long as I did the actions slowly enough, I think I was correctly feeling the field’s existence and then how it moves and stretches as I do the exercise? Makes me wonder if there’s something about the Zhan Zhuang hand position that makes it easier to feel that field, since both the seventh and eighth exercises in that series have you start with your arms in that position, and they both can be used for feeling the Yin field. And actually Tai Chi felt different today when I was going through the form, in a way that might be relevant; it would be good if my sensitivity in that area was starting to increase.

And I started going through the various seated exercises that I’d learned on the lead up to the Microcosmic Orbit, trying to get back into shape there. And that felt pretty good: I don’t feel overflowing or anything, so there’s work to be done, but I feel something? I had been thinking that I might try out the MCO this week, but now I’m thinking I’ll do another week of prepwork: partly because I’m busy tomorrow morning, which is normally one of my practice times, and partly because I’ve been surprisingly sleepy over the last week, so if that continues, I won’t want to push my Nei Gong practice. Also, some of the things Damo said in this week’s lecture made me think that it could be interesting to go through all the Qi Mobilization exercises in a single session, which would take a good chunk of time.

In terms of Tai Chi, I’m pretty much caught up with the spear form; some details that I don’t quite have, but at least the basic movements are all there. And I did more push hands on both Saturday and this evening; hopefully I’m getting better at relaxing and rotating instead of trying to force things, one of the senior students really helped me with that this evening. I mostly did minimal amounts of practice outside of class, though I did go through the Dao and Jian forms; I was a little disturbed to find that there was one spot in the Jian that I didn’t quite know what to do, so it’s good that I’m getting back to doing that! And I need to get back to the Guan Dao, given that I missed two Sunday classes; fortunately, the Sunday class this month won’t do any Guan Dao, so I’ve got a full month to catch back up. (And I do think that I learned everything from the June class, so I just have to make sure I still remember that and then do the bits we added in the July class.)

If I weren’t having sleep problems this week, I’d be optimistic that the acupuncture is helping; Dr. Yang says that my Liver heat problems are doing better, though not so well this week (hence the sleep problems), and he’ll soon switch to focusing on my Kidneys. (Which he says are also doing better, but are still low enough to noticeably affect me.) It would be good if that actually turns out to have a real effect on me; right now I’m pretty convinced that some of the physical readjustments he did have made a noticeable difference, but my energy level changes are still within the realm of potentially just being random fluctuation.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention last week: Damo put out a really interesting video on relaxing during Wu Ji. Basically, he was saying that, when doing Wu Ji (or other standing meditation), he really does feel like his muscles are completely relaxed, but as long as he keeps his attention appropriately in his body, the Qi provides enough buoyancy to keep him up without effort beyond the attention. (But then if he’s in that state and removes his attention, he’ll collapse.) More encouragement for me to listen to situations where my body feels a little puffy: I definitely notice that sometimes (especially in my arms after the first three Qi Mobilization exercises), hopefully I can get that feeling across more of my body. One positive recent sign that might be related is that I am still periodically noticing that, when I’m relaxing, my spine does occasionally want to spontaneously stretch out a bit; hopefully that means that it’s creating space for that sort of puffy feeling to build into.

I also reread Chen Xiaowang’s book on The Five Levels of Taijiquan; I’d forgotten how much of that book talks about Qi development, in ways that are consistent with the previous paragraph. So hopefully that can be a way in which Tai Chi and Nei Gong can work well together.

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Nei Gong Notes, August 2, 2022

Aug 02 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

Last week was the closest to normal in a while. I finally tested negative for COVID last Wednesday, and I’ve been continuing to feel better; my cough hasn’t gone away yet, but it’s certainly improving, and at times over the last few days I’ve been feeling actively good.

In terms of Nei Gong, I didn’t do any new lessons and I didn’t do extra practice on Wednesdays and Fridays, but I did a solid seated practice session every day (alternating days between the Water and Earth Balancing exercises), and I got back into doing Wu Ji, starting at a minimal amount but ending up at an amount that at least I don’t have to feel ashamed by. The balancing exercises continue to be interesting, I like paying attention to the inside of my body during that. I don’t know for sure if they helped with the post-COVID recovery, but based on my experience, they certainly didn’t hurt, and might have helped?

And I went to Tai Chi on Saturday; I wasn’t quite at my full energy level, so I skipped the Xin Jia part, but otherwise it was good. I do have a noticeable amount of spear to catch up with, and not a lot of time to catch up to it in (we’ll finish the form this week or next, though hopefully we’ll have another week or two where we go over the whole thing?), but I think the bits I missed are going to be manageable; I tried going over them on Sunday with the help of a video, and while I didn’t quite get it all down, I feel like, if I do the same thing tomorrow and Friday, I’ll have a decent chance of being able to follow along well this Saturday.

Tony started his Summer Tuesday course, and this year he’s planning to focus on push hands and on Xingyi. I don’t have any interest in Xingyi, but push hands is something that I’ve been wanting to work on and that hasn’t been happening as regularly on Saturdays as I would like. (That lack is partly because of me, to be sure!) So I attended that tonight, and I’m glad I did; so much in the basics of push hands that I’m just not getting right at all, I really need to keep on chipping away. For now I want to focus on turning a little more, and I think I should make a habit of trying to do some push hands every Saturday after class even on weeks when Tony isn’t formally teaching it.

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