Archive for October, 2022

Nei Gong Notes, October 25, 2022

Oct 25 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

So I expected this week to be a week where I didn’t have anything to report for Nei Gong: I had jury duty and a work special thing, so I was at jury duty when I would normally practice on Wednesday and that meant that, even though I did have Friday off, I had three separate medical things to go to (nothing worrisome or anything, just allergy shots, acupuncture, and new glasses) plus one shopping thing that I needed to get out of the way, so I didn’t do a long practice then either. I did my normal 45-minute-ish practice those days, so it’s not like I didn’t do any Nei Gong, but nothing special.

But I did do a longer than normal practice on Sunday morning, maybe an hour and a half? And it actually felt really good: my body felt alive, stuff was moving around. And it was moving around more when I was standing in Wu Ji, in ways that seemed related to the exercise that I’d been doing before the Wu Ji: that is honestly something that never happened to me for the first couple of years that I was doing Nei Gong even though teachers always talked about it, so it was nice to see that.

And actually practice on Saturday, yesterday, and today was good too. And I even noticed some times today when I was just sitting at my desk but my spine was feeling active. So my body seems to be doing well; I’m starting to get optimistic that I can get back to working on Dantian Gong soon? Not sure, I’m nervous about not doing Hui Chun almost every day, and that does take up my sitting practice time, but it’s something to think about.

Also, in terms of things going well: my energy levels might be getting better? I don’t feel perky, I still feel a little blah, but one thing that I realized this week was that, even on days when my sleep wasn’t as good as I’d like, I didn’t actually feel like I really wanted to take a nap in the middle of the afternoon. Kind of depressing to have that be a potential sign of things potentially improving, but I’ll take it.

So yay for Nei Gong. And Tai Chi was similar: I did almost no Tai Chi practice last week (literally none on Wednesday, and a very minimal amount on Friday), but Tai Chi class on Saturday was interesting in ways that felt good. I’m enjoying the Jian, and I feel like my Jian must be significantly different / better than it was a month and a half ago; but also I’m enjoying feeling how my body is moving during Tai Chi, the shifts of muscles and the opening of my armpits. (I’m noticing my armpits being more open and my arm positioning changing during Wu Ji, too, it’s not just Tai Chi; presumably that’s because of the arm stretching in the workshop a couple of weeks ago.)

And I had a good Tai Chi practice on Sunday, too. Not super long, I’ll try to do a longer practice tomorrow, but I enjoyed playing around with the Jian form and going through the Lao Jia first form.

We’ll see how this continues, but it would be great if things stay at this level. And it would be extra great if my energy level can improve and I can get back to longer practices.

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Nei Gong Notes, October 18, 2022

Oct 18 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

Wednesday was, I think, my best Nei Gong practice day in a couple of months. (Other than the workshop last weekend, of course.) I tried doing some arm stretches from the workshop, then I did the new Dantian Gong exercise from the workshop; it was doing interesting things to my torso. (So maybe I shouldn’t think of it as Dantian Gong, or maybe I should think of it as Dantian Gong for all three of my Dantians?) And then I spent maybe an hour and a half going through a seated video from the Maryland workshop, on Qi thickening. So, a lot of practice, and it felt good. Though I also felt noticeably wiped out later; I’m honestly not completely sure if it’s a good idea for me to continue that level of practice or if I should wait until my TCM treatment has gotten farther? And then on Friday I did arm stretching and a couple of standing Dantian Gong exercises from the workshop, and then a 40-minute Hui Chun; a solid session, albeit not quite as long as on Wednesday.

And other practice sessions went well, too. I’m finally starting to feel that Wu Ji is actively energizing, which feels like significant progress. And when I practiced the Dragon Dao Yins, I was feeling more forceful (i.e. actually treating it like a Dao Yin) and more connected than I had been. So hopefully I’m doing better at that.

In terms of Tai Chi, I did kind of minimal practice this week – enough to keep stuff in my head, and I did work through the Jian a bit, but not enough to make progress on the Guan Dao. (Fortunately, it sounds like they didn’t do any new Guan Dao moves last Sunday.) But Tai Chi class on Saturday went well: I picked up on more details on the Jian that I’d gotten wrong / forgotten, and my Jian is feeling more connected.

Unfortunately, this Wednesday I have to be at jury duty and then work, and on Friday I have four things I need to do out of the house, so I don’t expect much practice this week! Still, nice to have a good week under my belt.

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Nei Gong Notes, October 11, 2022

Oct 11 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

Not much to say about the normal stuff this week: normal Nei Gong practice during the week, noticeably less Tai Chi practice than normal because of having busy afternoons and being more tired than I would like, and I had to miss Saturday and Sunday Tai Chi classes.

But the reason why I had to skip those classes was a good one: we had our first local Nei Gong workshop since covid happened, so I spend Friday through Sunday at a workshop. It was labeled as a foundations workshop, which was kind of vague, and I expected it to be going over the basics (which wouldn’t have been bad, I’ve probably been neglecting those a bit), but it was actually rather more advanced than that.

The main theme of the workshop was tissue work. Every morning, we spent a significant amount of time stretching out our arms: different variants of holding your arms in some position, stretching them out, twisting them, and stretching them more. Except that it frequently wasn’t active stretching: sometimes it was relaxing your arms and moving your attention to different locations, and my arm would stretch on its own. And also sometimes Rick would come over and help us stretch our arms: it felt to me like he was actually tugging on them, but he said that he was mostly touching my arms in ways that let me relax? At any rate, it was really interesting when he did that: after a couple of seconds, my arm would extend noticeably, in a way that didn’t feel painful at all but that did feel like my arms were taffy that was getting pulled.

Not the most pleasant experience (holding your arm up for a while isn’t comfortable), but manageable; it would be nice to think that it’s because I’m getting better at this stuff, but also Rick has mellowed a bit in his teaching. (Though I have gotten better since earlier local workshops; it was nice to feel like I was one of the people in the middle of the range of skill / experience there instead of being right at the bottom. And it was nice to never feel like I’d reached my limit and have to stop for a while while other people kept on going.) And I feel like it really is having an effect in terms of creating more space in my arm and letting the fascia start to do its own thing instead of being stuck too closely to my muscles (and I assume the taffy feeling is related to that): it was definitely the case today that, if I paused and relaxed my body, I would feel various parts of my body expand. I hope I can keep up that looseness in my body: I don’t know for sure how frequently I’ll stick with that exercise, but I should probably at least do it some. (I will miss having somebody there to tug on my arms, though, but I can get some of the effect doing it myself.)

And we also did some other exercises that were working on expanding the body in different ways, and also setting up connectivity across your body. The most important one of those for me was a different way of setting up Wu Ji; not radically different or anything, but slightly different fine points to focus on while arranging your body at the beginning, mostly around generating more space in your body. And doing Wu Ji felt significantly better than normal after I set things up that way: in particular, it took quite a bit less effort to stay up when I do this. (And I think doing that combined with the relaxing and letting my fascia have room to expand will work help me build Spleen Qi instead of messing up my Spleen Qi.) So I am definitely going to work that approach into my Wu Ji from now on, that will be a big help.

And there were a few other things. There was a standing Dantian Gong-ish exercise that I’ll probably try to do once every week or two? And we did some sitting exercises that are related to the firing process; not sure if I’ll do those regularly or not, I’m honestly not sure how well I remember them and also I feel like, once I get back to thinking about that sort of thing, what I should really do is work on the Microcosmic Orbit preparation stuff from the middle of year two and from the Maryland workshop.

Anyways, yay for in-person workshops, I am definitely looking forward to being able to do those a few times a year.

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Nei Gong Notes, October 4, 2022

Oct 04 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

I switched back to Nei Gong standing stuff instead of that one Tai Chi exercise this week. Which frequently just meant doing Wu Ji, but I did do Dantian Gong for the first time in a while. Fortunately, it seemed to be going well, I certainly didn’t get a feeling that my Yin field in my Dantian had degraded or anything. My standing stamina might have, but I think actually I might have been standing a little low, because of the practice I’d been doing the previous weeks? The next time I did Wu Ji I experimented with height control, I think I’m doing a better job of feeling tingling in the right place when I’m at the correct height? And I think it is plausible that I had been standing a little low that time.

In terms of sitting, I mostly was doing the Hui Chun, including sitting along with an hour-long video of the Water Hui Chun. Though I also did something else sitting for the first time in a while, I felt like doing Anchoring the Breath one day. Which was a little surprising: when my attention was in places that were close to my spine, that part of my spine would start stretching on its own. One of the clearest signs that I’ve seen of attention giving rise to Qi.

The main interesting thing from Tai Chi was watching my teacher do bits of the Jian form: it’s a lot more flowing than I’m used to. So I’m starting to get a sense for what he means that you should imitate a dragon in that form; definitely something for me to work on.

I’ll be at an in-person Nei Gong workshop this Friday through Sunday, I’m definitely looking forward to that! Too bad I’ll have to miss Tai Chi on both Saturday and Sunday, but there’s not much I can do about that.

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