Nei Gong Notes, January 10, 2022

Jan 10 2023

Interesting week. The main topic for the week is sleep: my sleep was continuing to be not great; when I mentioned it to my doctor, he switched me back to the Liver Heat herbs, instead of the previous herbs that were partly for Liver and partly for Kidneys. I had pretty dreadful sleep that night (though I can’t blame the herbs for that, I think I was still finishing off the previous batch), so I asked the IAA forum about that. One person suggested concentrating on sinking my Tian Tu, another person suggested concentrating on Anchoring. (Presumably Anchoring the Breath.)

And I’d been worried that the progress that I’d been making on my spine and Kidneys might lead to some amount of energy going up and getting stuck in my head; and working on my neck should, I think, help with Liver, but maybe the attention I was paying there was getting Qi stuck in my head? So working on sinking and anchoring sounded plausible; and also I think I probably should put a pause on the spine work (since it was largely motivated by my Kidneys and they are okay), and maybe also not do so much Wu Ji (since right now the interesting effects I’m getting out of that involve sending energy up my body from my Yong Quan), though I’m less sure about that.

So I’m trying to do Anchoring the Breath every day; I’ll still try to stick with the long Hui Chun sessions on Wednesdays / Fridays / Sundays, but hopefully I’ll have time to do both. And on Sunday I did some of the Tai Chi version of Wu Ji (and I did it with my weight in the middle of my foot instead of over my Yong Quan); that didn’t feel too energizing, and actually I felt a decent amount of sinking, with my legs getting full. So I think I’ll stick with doing that most days for a while: it’ll probably help (or at least not hurt) with my sleep issues, and it’s been a while since I’ve done that for a noticeable length of time in a row, and I think I’ll learn something from the experience this time.

And sleep on Sunday night was pretty good, and sleep last night was actually the best sleep I’ve had in a few months – I woke up once in the middle of the night, I’m fairly sure, but I went back to sleep immediately and I don’t think I woke up beyond that. So that’s a nice sign.

Anyways, other Nei Gong notes: I’m noticing the Ming Line show up during random seated exercises. Another part of the reason why I’m worried about energy making it up my spine on its own, because my Dantian seems like it’s doing pretty well. And when I was doing the bit of the Liver Hui Chun that is basically Pushing the Tides, something interesting happened: I felt something (fascia?) open up a bit, but it was actually across my chest instead of in my shoulders or arms. So I’ll definitely want to try that out more; admittedly, the opening up might be a one time thing, with something getting unlocked, but maybe my chest will continue to loosen, or maybe something in my arms will loosen?

Also, when working on sinking my liquid center of mass, I’d been having a hard time getting it as low as it should go, and that seemed to be related to some tenseness at the bottom of the front of my torso. And I realized that that tenseness might actually be largely mechanical: if I lean forward more, it gets stronger, whereas if I angle back a bit, it goes away. So I guess I’m leaning forward too much; which fits in with a bunch of other different observations I’ve made about me being too forward-oriented in different parts of my body. I think I’ll write a post about that on my other blog soon.

In terms of Tai Chi: after the last Dan Bian in the Xinjia first form, go left before right, and close the left fist as you go left. And when doing Head On Cannon in that form, your fists should be somewhat high: not all the way to your chest, but maybe at the height of your solar plexus? They’re lower in Laojia, but your upper arms are in about the same place in both forms; because you turn your hands, your elbows lower a bit in Laojia. But your fists aren’t as low as the Dantian even in the Laojia case. (And hopefully now I’ve seen the end of the form enough times that I’ll actually be able to do it at a basic level; I should start practicing it more.)

And I did finally make it to the Sunday class. In Paochui, I should work on wrapping more (right arm on the outside) in Wrapping Cracker. And in the Guan Dao, when transitioning from presenting the teacup to the next move, I shouldn’t take a step with my feet: you turn around, but your feet turn rather than shift. In general, I’m doing a good job of keeping up with the Guan Dao, even though I’ve missed a bunch of classes; I’ll miss next month, too, but while we’re getting close to the end of the form, I’m pretty sure we’ll continue at least through March, so hopefully I’ll have at least one more class to learn it instead of depending solely on the video for the last part.

I listened to a Guru Viking interview with Adam Mizner; a similar take to Damo’s on Tai Chi, maybe going into slightly different details? A reminder that there’s a lot more for me to go into, if I’m up for spending the time/effort there. (Which I’m probably not…)

Also, all of this working on spinal / body alignment has had me noticed how I frequently twist up a bit while sitting, which reminded me of something Damo mentioned in one of his lectures, along the lines that sitting at ease isn’t just sitting comfortably or sitting without moving, it’s sitting in a relatively straightforward position. So I spent some time at work today trying to just sit with good alignment and without crossing things; it’s pretty hard! Which feels like it’s something that is worth working on: there’s programming in my body that I kind of feel like isn’t a great idea and that’s deeper rooted than I thought.

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