Nei Gong Notes, August 9, 2022

Aug 09 2022

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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