Nei Gong Notes, January 24, 2023

Jan 24 2023

The main event this week was that I did a three day Nei Gong workshop with Rick. Some amount of arm stretching, though not as much as last time; I am getting better at stretching my arms just by changing focus (alternating between absorbing my attention in my arm and then pulling back my focus to outside my arm), and sometimes I actually got a surprisingly large stretch that way. The most surprising time I actually hit my bone level, all of a sudden feeling a hard cylinder in the middle of my arm; Rick said that, if you go deep enough, you can even feel the bone start to stretch, but I didn’t get that far. There was also some hint of the spread going into my chest, hopefully I can continue to have that happen a bit.

So I’m excited to keep on doing that; though, unfortunately, the previous week my right thumb started to occasionally give me a twinge of pain, and noticing more when that’s happening, I’m realizing that it’s not triggered by thumb exercise (e.g. I’d thought that practicing piano had set it off, and while it’s still possible that’s the case, I haven’t noticed the pain appear while practicing piano), but it does get triggered sometimes when I just straighten my arm. So I’m worried that it’s being triggered by having the tendon be pulled by my arm, which makes me think that doing active stretching is a bad idea until it gets better; maybe stretching by just alternating attention would work because that activates my fascia instead of my muscles, but still, seems dangerous.

Anyways, the workshop was mostly focused on building internal connection, using the first few Ji Ben exercises as a vehicle for that. So get everything set up doing Wu Ji, paying particular attention to connecting your shoulder blades to your Kua and your Kua to your Yongquan; and then, maintain that connection during the Ji Bens, and let that connection move your arms in synchrony with your center of gravity.

And I got some refinements on my Wu Ji. In terms of getting into Wu Ji, Rick mostly repeated what he said last time, but hopefully it stuck a little better: before settle down, first spread your hip joints and settle your pelvis on your femurs, and then sink down a bit; then relax the area around your tailbone, and sink down a bit more; then spread your Mingmen in all directions and sink down to the full proper depth. Doing all of that lets the base of my body feel pretty floaty. And, at some point (or periodically), give all of your joints an instruction to expand. And, as you sink your shoulder blades, let that travel down into your arms, and let your arms curve; you’ll end up with your hands pointed somewhat inward, instead of forward.

So that was the workshop; a good three days. It meant that I didn’t go to Tai Chi class on Saturday, though at least I did manage to practice some yesterday, because it’s finally not constantly raining. In terms of other stuff that’s going on, I’m noticing more tension inside my chest, at some point I should spend time with Song breathing. (Not the first time I’ve said that!) And I’ve added a “jogging” entry to Streaks; for now I have it configured to urge me to do it three times a week, though I’m thinking four might be a better idea: I think I’m making a bit of progress three days a week but it’s uncomfortably close to maintaining a steady state, so I do think a fourth day would make a difference. But for now I just want to make sure I’ve got the habit established in a way that works with my days, so I’ll leave the reminder at three days, and maybe I’ll do more days some weeks but maybe I won’t.

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