Archive for July, 2023

Nei Gong Notes, July 25, 2023

Jul 25 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

Another week dominated by having a new puppy; no long practice sessions, and sleep was interrupted that even my shorter practice sessions weren’t great! They did happen, though. But I should be careful with not backsliding on my back; e.g. I’d been letting up on stretching my back while touching my toes, I should get back to that. Though actually I’m doing a decent amount of stretching my back by squatting, there’s frequently time to do that while Velvet is sniffing around outside.

My TCM doctor thinks things are going well, at least; he says that my right Kidney is at the target level that he’s looking for. Hopefully the left Kidney will be there soon; I think probably either way I’ll stop soon, or significantly slow down my rate of appointments.

I had something interesting happen when I went through the Dragons on Saturday: during one of the Wu Ji sections during that, I felt a pretty strong line on both arms, going up from my thumb. Looking at diagrams, I think it was probably related to the Lung channel? And there was a quite noticeable feeling of wind inside my body along my hand, near the base of the thumb / wrist, especially on the right side. No idea what triggered that, but presumably it’s useful progress.

I did a decent amount of Tai Chi practice on Sunday, at least; not sure if I’m going to hit every form this week but it was a good start. One thing I noticed was that I was off balance when stepping up in Jing Gang but I could fix that by turning forward / closing my left Kua and opening my right Kua before stepping up. Which I feel like I’ve noticed in the past, but it’s time for me to notice that again!

In Damo’s Tai Chi course the lesson was Wu Song Shen Fa 2, which also has the first Push Hands video, on receiving force. I don’t know that that Wu Song Shen Fa exercise had a big impact on me; maybe I’m doing a slightly better job of releasing my feet, but I’m still not great at that? I should try out the receiving force exercise with my Tai Chi partner (we’ve tried it out once before but haven’t made it part of my routine), but we had other stuff that we wanted to work on last Saturday and probably will this Saturday as well.

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Nei Gong Notes, July 18, 2023

Jul 18 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

Not a ton to say: because of poodle care and my wife being out of town most of last week, I was doing more maintenance levels of practice. Mostly Hui Chuns for the seated part (and the days when I tried to do something else happened to be the days that I was sleepy enough to interfere with the work); for standing practice, I was actually mostly doing stuff from Damo’s Tai Chi course.

That part was interesting. Usually I did 10 minutes of either Wu Ji or Taiyi followed by 10 minutes of Ba Men 2. And I did like the Ba Men 2; for whatever reason, I felt like I was sinking a lot more effectively there than during other exercises I do. And I was starting to feel the release when I shifted my weight off of my foot; though, oddly, it seemed like I was feeling the release and expansion a little more during the first half of the week than the second half of the week. Not sure what the deal is there, I’m not going to worry about it too much.

I didn’t do almost any of my regular Tai Chi practice: I went through a few forms one day with Velvet on a lead, but I didn’t practice on other days. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to that this week, and I should go to my regular class this Saturday.

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Nei Gong Notes, July 11, 2023

Jul 11 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

As mentioned last week, the new puppy is throwing a noticeable wrench into my Nei Gong and Tai Chi. Especially right now, since my wife went away on a trip starting last Saturday and lasting through next Saturday, so I’m doing all the puppy care myself. That means less going out for stuff (so I’m skipping Tai Chi class both Saturdays; on Sunday I did go to Tai Chi class but only for the staff portion of the lesson), and less time and more fragmented time at home.

Having said that, I am starting to get a feel for my puppy’s rhythms, and actually there is enough downtime that I can at least get some Nei Gong done. Basically, she goes through these cycles where she’s kind of bonkers for an hour and a half or two hours, and then mellow and even sleepy for a couple of hours; and I definitely have time for a 20-30 minute session during the sleepy bits, and if I get the timing right I can even fit in a 40 minute session. So I can’t do hour-long single exercises, and I can’t combine seated and standing work in a single session, but I can definitely do the sorts of minimum amount of work that I’ve been doing on work days, and, with care, I can probably get a 40 minute Hui Chun done on most of the non-work days.

I haven’t done so much Tai Chi: I tried that once with her leash tied to a tree, but she wasn’t thrilled with that and got a little tangled up, and I think (I can’t remember if it actually happened or if it was just something I was worried about) she was also chewing on her leash. So I’ve bought a 10 foot tether with a cable that I’m less worried about her chewing on it; I’ll try her with that tomorrow, and see if I can get a somewhat longer Tai Chi session. (And I’ll think about what other stuff I can bring outside with her to give her something else to do while I’m doing that.) Hopefully that will let me do a bit more practice this Wednesday and Friday (and future Wednesdays and Fridays, because the plan is for my wife to do puppy care on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the work week and for me to do puppy care on Mondays / Wednesdays / Fridays); we’ll see.

In terms of standing work, I’ve mostly been doing stuff from Damo’s Tai Chi course rather than his Nei Gong course. Hopefully I’m making progress there; though I still feel like releasing my feet is hard, though I can feel the release as it moves further up my body. Just now, though, I watched the Ba Men 2 video, and in that one he talks about releasing by moving slightly forward / back, and I think that’s working for me; so I’ll spend a decent amount of time on that one this week.

(And watching those videos does make me continue to wonder if Chen Tai Chi experts are doing the same thing or if they’re doing something pretty different; once I get a bit further I’ll see if I can articulate that question to my Tai Chi teacher in a way where we’re not talking past each other…)

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Nei Gong Notes, July 4, 2023

Jul 04 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

A change in my situation this week: we got a new puppy on Friday! Which is a very good thing, but it also means that, until our puppy is more housebroken, I’ll have to fit in my practice during times when she’s asleep during the day. (At least on days when I’m home alone looking after her, which includes the days when I’ve been practicing the most, because those are weekdays when I’m not working, and, not unreasonably, I’m doing primary puppy care those days instead of Liesl. And she’s going to be out of town for a week soon, which means that I’ll be doing solo puppy care.) Fortunately she sleeps long enough during the day that fitting in 30 minute sessions seems pretty workable.

And also right now my sleep is getting interrupted multiple times each night because of having to take her out, which certainly doesn’t help with things. Though that interrupted sleep is actually not interfering with things as much as it would have historically: my energy levels continue to be better? I really do think that something is changing in my back; I can feel it being more active, in ways that feel like there’s Qi bubbling around there and that I’m doing better at relaxing / releasing it, and my TCM doctor has been saying for a while that the blockage he’s been targeting is in my back, and recently he’s been thinking it’s getting better. So hopefully this improvement is real and will continue; if the improvement pauses for a bit because of the puppy, though, that’s okay, puppies are important!

Anyways, not a lot to say on the Nei Gong front; I’ve been keeping up basic practice fine, at least, just Wednesdays and Fridays aren’t as involved. Besides my back, I’m also wondering a bit what’s going on in my solar plexus: ever since the workshop before last with Rick, it’s been feeling better in a way that’s hard to describe. (“Bright”, I’m tempted to say, but I don’t think that would make sense to anybody else.) And I was noticing that a bit more recently; I actually wonder if it’s a sign that some sort of firing process is getting ready to happen or already low-key happened? Who knows.

On the Tai Chi front, my regular class has been going fine; though I’ll probably have to skip it the next two weeks because Liesl is out of town. And I’ve been keeping up my practice; hopefully I can stick with that even with the new puppy, I think I’ll try bringing her out to the yard with me while I’m doing Tai Chi and attaching her leash to a tree? We’ll see how she reacts to that…

Also, a couple of people have mentioned that they wished they could have gone to my Silk Reeling course. So that makes me more motivated to give it again; not now but maybe in the fall or something? I’m also thinking I might do it once a month instead of once a week next time: you can make a good case that that’s a better schedule for learning the material, since it’ll give people more time to practice, and also I can be more flexible about the time and even the location then (since making an exception about that once a month is easier for me than once a week), so hopefully that will make it possible for me to reach people who couldn’t make it this last time.

I’ve also been thinking about something my Tai Chi teacher said during a podcast interview: he talked about spending time with his fellow students, critiquing each other’s form. And I feel like there are a lot of things that I’m noticing in my practice that would like to be able to talk about with other fellow students, and maybe the other more advanced students also feel the same way? It’s a little odd, because a lot of what I’m thinking about is coming as much or more from my Nei Gong practice than from my Tai Chi practice, and I’m not sure how those disparate influences would play out if we were to spend more time talking about stuff, but maybe there’s something that we could do there. I don’t know, and I also only have some vague ideas about the format, but I might raise the issue with one or two of the other students and see if they’re feeling the same way and, if so, if they have ideas about the format? (And I should re-listen to that interview.)

And I’ve also been continuing to go through Damo’s Tai Chi course; I’m still going through the early lessons again that I tried going through a couple of years ago, but they’re being a lot more interesting this time. I (kind of accidentally) went through two last week, which is just as well since I’m not sure I’ll have time to do one this current week. In Ba Men 1, the thing that struck me this time is that the feeling I get when pressing my arms against each other during the Ji part of that is similar to the feeling that I get when lightly squeezing my thumb during the mudra in the Spleen Hui Chun, or even to the feeling that I get when standing with my weight on my Yongquan, basically with an expansion inside my body that’s making it feel more structured somehow. I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t feeling that at all the last time I did that course, and I suspect it’s a sign of something important / useful; I’ll probably ask what. And in the Fang Song Gong version of Wu Song Shen Fa 1, I’m doing better at releasing than I was before; I’m still not particularly good at kicking off the release from my feet, but I think I can get the release somewhat in the rest of my legs. (I’m trying to go after the same feeling that I get when I relax my neck and my head floats up and back, or when I relax my back and it uncurls.) And I’m also doing better at the sinking part, I think. So I’m feeling pretty motivated to keep that up; most days, I’m doing Tai Chi stuff during the standing part of my practice instead of Nei Gong stuff.

Fun and interesting; I’ll be curious to see if it starts affecting my Push Hands.

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