Nei Gong Notes, October 11, 2022

Oct 11 2022

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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