Nei Gong Notes, November 29, 2022

Nov 29 2022

Surprisingly interesting week. Health-wise, my sleep has been okay, but not as good as it was the previous two weeks, which was a bit of a disappointment. Though on Wednesday my stomach felt surprisingly good, even though I’d eaten spicy food for dinner; I’d done a 40 minute Liver Hui Chun session that day, I wonder if that was linked? And then my stomach felt surprisingly off on Thursday, though actually I think “surprisingly off” meant “back to my baseline of how I’d been feeling for the last few years”; I wonder if what I ate for breakfast was relevant, I might want to pay more attention to how food is affecting me. Also in terms of things that were a bit of a disappointment, I did a decent length Jing Gong session on Friday, and I didn’t really feel any bouncing inside.

But then when I went in for my appointment on Friday, Dr. Yang said that my Liver was doing very well, so that was good to hear? Hopefully that means that my sleep will get better again soon.

He also mentioned that one factor in my Kidney issues was that there was a place in my spine where it was getting blocked. Which didn’t surprise me, I’d noticed a couple of months back that there was a spot at about where Dr. Yang was pointing where I didn’t have the flexibility / sensation that I expected. So that was something I’d been thinking anyways that it would be good to have fixed; and I’m happy to have Dr. Yang help with that.

That reminded me of the video on the Clipping Passes from Damo’s public Microcosmic Orbit series: I remember that making my back feel good when I went through it before, and I thought one of the clipping passes was in about the right place. So I watched that on Sunday, and I figure I’ll try going through that most days for a while. Which actually does mean that I’ve got a bit of pressure on what I do with my practice time, because I also want to keep on doing Hui Chun exercises and to do Self-Healing exercises; I am managing to do two sitting exercises on some days, but still, maybe not great? In practice, I think it means that I’m not doing nearly as much Hui Chun as I have been (though I’ll still make sure to do a couple of 40 minute sessions a week); we’ll see what comes of that. Hopefully I’ll be able to open up my spine soon and then I can stop doing that one. (And hopefully opening it up will help my energy levels!)

As to the Self-Healing exercise, I haven’t been doing it every day, and when I’ve been doing it, I’ve switched it to my knee sometimes and my ankle sometimes. I’ve actually been getting unusual ankle pain this last week; first in my right ankle, though that went away after a bit, and more recently in my left ankle. I think my posture has maybe been changing a little bit, at least when I’m doing standing practice; hopefully the ankle issues are just a temporary reaction to that? They don’t seem to be particularly chronic, so that’s good, at least; and actually my right knee is doing better recently too. But I can’t give any credit to the Self-Healing exercise for any of that, I haven’t been doing it enough on those body parts to have any real effect, I think. (And that also means that it’ll be hard for me to tell if it has any effect at all, because clearly the baseline level of variation in the aches and pains in my body is high these days!)

In terms of standing practice: that has been very interesting. I mentioned a posture change above; I’m sinking into my left Kua more, and I think that’s helping me be less shifted to one side while still feeling like my weight is balanced between both feet. So hopefully I can develop that habit, and maybe it’ll even help with my spine alignment.

And that had me paying more attention and experimenting more with where my weight was landing, and one day, at the end of my Wu Ji, I noticed that, when I landed on my Yongquan, I felt a noticeable amount of upward force in my legs. (Enough that I actually felt a little uprooted; makes me wonder how I should balance that with sinking.) So the next day I did a longer Wu Ji session and I started trying to recapture that feeling right from the beginning; I did manage to get to the right weight location fairly quickly. And, as I stayed there for a while, my legs started feeling really energized: staying up on their own, and I kind of felt like a stick figure with lines of force going through them.

So that was pretty interesting, but it was also localized in the lower half of my body more than I would have liked. So, after 20 minutes or so, I decided to stretch up my head a bit, and rotate it forward slightly as well. And wow, that was surprisingly effective: I started feeling the same sort of energy in my head, arms, and upper torso. And my arms and the tops of my shoulders wanted to spread in response to that pull; so I just let them, and I ended up feeling like I had a ton more space in my shoulders / armpit. (And my arms ended up pretty wide, too.)

With that, both the top and bottom of my body felt more energized than they ever have while I was doing Wu Ji. There was a gap, though, which was basically my back / spine. I did wonder if some of that was related to the spine blockage I mentioned earlier; I did try pulling my head up more and I could feel the energy make it further down my spine, so that’s another thing to try, it might just be garden-variety collapsing.

At any rate, I definitely want to experiment with that more; I’m going to do Wu Ji as the standing part of my daily exercise almost every day this week, to see if I can build on that. Today was interesting; I didn’t feel as strongly energized as on Sunday, either on the top or bottom of my body, or feel as strong a stretch in my arms, but I did feel some of both. But what I did feel was the energy starting to make it up my spine from the bottom, not just down from the top; and when I relaxed more, my spine stretched up on its own more. (Which is something I’ve felt, Qi inflating it.) That seems like a better way to get energy going through my spine than yanking on it from the top, so I’ll definitely want to try to keep on doing that; though if I can get my whole spine feeling energized by yanking on both ends, then that’s what I’ll do!

So a good Nei Gong week. As for Tai Chi, I didn’t do a ton of practice last week because of my right ankle. (Probably the right choice, because my ankle felt a lot better by my Saturday class.) On Saturday, during the Jian practice, I realized that I’m probably not supposed to actually be shifting how I grasp the Jian when you stab down to the right near the start: I should just be turning my wrist while maintaining my grip. So I’ll have to work on that. And I’m caught up on the Guan Dao, which is good; I might even try to get a little bit ahead over the next week and a half, before the December Sunday class.

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