Nei Gong Notes, December 19, 2023

Dec 19 2023

Good week. In the Nei Gong course, I did the Taiyi Hundun Qigong 1 lesson. It’s a long enough set that I haven’t practiced it every day; should be fine, I’m doing the Tai Chi course this week, so I’ll have another week to practice that one.

The first time I practiced it, I slept really badly, the worst I had in a while, waking up a bunch of times in the night. It might be a coincidence, but I don’t know what else would have caused that; if that was the reason, then my theory is that it was bringing in Qi through my Bai Hui and trying to bring it down my central channel, but that channel was too closed, so it got stuck in my head. Didn’t happen the other times I practiced, though, so either it was just a coincidence or the channel got opened up enough to avoid that problem or something.

My improved energy levels had been continuing, but after that I (unsurprisingly) was pretty tired the next day. I got good sleep the following night, which honestly surprised me because I’d been out at my wife’s holiday party and had more to eat than I normally do over dinners these days. But my energy level was low the next day anyways; not horrible by my normal standards these days, but I’d been enjoying my energy levels the previous two weeks!

I’m still not entirely sure what caused my energy levels to improve. It was right after an acupuncture session; maybe that helped, but I’ve done a lot of acupuncture, so that alone isn’t an explanation. My best guess is that I’d been doing a decent job of opening up my body, and I’d made it past some threshold where Qi was flowing better, but who knows. (My sleep wasn’t any better than normal; it was fine other than that one night, but not unusually so, definitely room for improvement there.)

My TCM doctor had been talking about my spine in that context for a while, so maybe my Spinal Waves had been paying off? Also I was starting to be aware of ways in which my default posture has my spine misaligned (with my lower spine bending forward slightly); I’d been doing a decently good job of correcting that, I think, and I can feel my spine wanting to extend further when I correct the curve (similarly to how it feels when pressurizing your Yongquan), which reinforces my feeling that this really does help my Qi flow. I don’t think that that kicked off the good period (I didn’t start really making that adjustment until a couple of days later), but I think it helped me keep going; and I think probably the art museum trip was surprisingly useful? It’s got me trying to walk in a more relaxed way; I’m also trying to relax my shoulders and the back of my neck, I definitely feel energy in my armpits when I do that.

Anyways, it was nice while it lasted, hopefully I can get it back. For now I’m trying to just be good about my spine; and I’m thinking I might do some extra Advanced Dantian Gong, maybe that will help with getting stuff into my Dantian in a way that is useful for this. (Or maybe I should get back to doing the Water Wu Xing twice a week.) And actually yesterday was decently good; and in general I don’t think I’m quite back down to my prior normal energy levels, I think I’m doing slightly better than that.

In general, the insides of my body are noticeably more active. I was practicing my Xin Jia, and noticing random stuff inside my body while doing the small movements; I should pay attention to that. And, one day, when going through the Lao Jia form a couple of times, I started noticing circles coming from my Kua; a bit unexpected in that circles are supposed to originate from your Dantian in Chen style, but it was pretty strong! (My Kua are definitely one of the parts of my body that are opening.) And then on Saturday, when going through Silk Reeling, in the two Dantian to Wrist exercises, I decided to focus on keeping a connection between my wrist and Kua the whole time instead of just during the part where I change directions; and when I did that, it felt pretty interesting inside, with noticeable effects on my Dantian; and then when I made it to the next exercise (Diagonal Circles and Lie Splitting), the Dantian connection got even stronger, I actually started to feel a little nauseous. (And I think it was working as a Qi thickening exercise.) And, during the form, I noticed Qi in my Dantian during Hand Maneuvers. And on Sunday my Yellow Court was feeling more active than normal.

So: lots of stuff going on during Tai Chi practice. Good week for that practice in general, I went through everything at least once I did some things extra times, and I experimented with turning one position in the Hunyuan Dao into a standing exercise. (No particular effect that I noticed.)

I also asked my Chen Tai Chi teacher about Li versus Jin; he said that Li is more raw strength whereas Jin is tutored strength, with iron versus steel as an analogy. So, from his point of view, Fa Li is different from Fa Jin, but it’s not clear to me that it’s the same distinction that Damo makes.

I’m doing the Awakening Dragon some days as my standing practice; I rewatched the videos for the steps, though I still need to rewatch the videos for the rest. No big revelations, though I did get reminded to roll my heels when landing on the steps, in order to keep my Qi sunk.

I did Mixing Kan and Li today for the first time in months; it’ll definitely take a while to build things up enough for that to feel super effective. It is good that I’ve been having enough energy to do multiple sitting exercises on most of my days off, at any rate.

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