Nei Gong Notes, February 21, 2023

Feb 21 2023

Very little to say this week. I’ve been on vacation, and my sleep just hasn’t been consistently good enough for me to want to get back into practice: sometimes I’ll have a good day and think I’m in good form, but then the next day my sleep will be crappy and I’ll be afraid that I’m going to get sick again if I push myself. I think the sleep problems are related to the quantity of food that I’m eating, which is probably higher than normal given that one of the benefits of this vacation is being around good restaurants; fortunately, the better restaurants actually have quite modest portions, so it’s not as bad as it could be, but still.

Anyways, the one thing that I have been doing along these lines is I’ve been trying squatting with my feet on the ground. I saw some videos on that a while back that made me think that it might be worth trying: something that people in many parts of the world do in complete comfort, whereas Americans have trouble with it. (I can squat fine on the balls of my feet, but the mechanics of that feel different, like they’re putting / transmitting weight in unhealthy ways.)

When I’d tried it before, I had a hard time keeping it going for more than a few minutes; I wanted to relax more but never felt like I could. But I decided to give it a try during this trip while waiting for Liesl as we were going through a museum; and, after a bit of experimenting, I actually did manage to relax more and feel decently comfortable squatting that way? I don’t know that I could do it for an hour or anything like that, but it definitely felt like progress compared to how it had been for me before.

And it also felt like probably useful body mechanics from a Nei Gong point of view. When I relaxed enough, my pelvis was definitely sinking, enough to put a quite strong stretch on my lower back: I could feel stuff popping in there as it got dragged down. It took my a little bit of fiddling to get my weight in a position that felt stable, and I suspect that, as I relax more, that positioning will change, but the positioning that I ended up with was also activating my Yongquan a noticeable amount.

I’m also pretty sure that it will help me better understand the default positioning of my back and lower body, and ways in which my habits in that regard are not so healthy. In particular, my left foot was turned noticeably further out than my right foot; I’m not treating this like Wu Ji or anything, I expect my feet to be turned out, but I would also want them to be turned out symmetrically, and that definitely wasn’t happening. So I’ll want to understand and work with that; maybe if I can get them turned more symmetrically then the weighting of my pelvis will help get stuff aligned to a better positioning?

One thing that did surprise me what what it felt like when I stood up: I was usually noticeably light-headed after doing that, much more so than I am when sitting on the ground or squatting on my toes. Not sure what the deal is there, and whether it’s transient or not; I’m not worrying about it or anything, it didn’t take that long to recover, but it was a surprise.

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