Nei Gong Notes, December 26, 2023

Dec 26 2023

Another good week. In terms of my energy levels, I talked to my TCM doctor and he said that my Qi levels looked higher to him too and that my back was cleared up, so that gave me a feeling that my basic diagnosis for why things had gotten better was correct. But my energy level, even though it had gotten better, didn’t feel as good to me as it had a couple of weeks better; what was the difference there? My guess was that I needed to build more Qi in my Dantian, and if I could do that, it would be able to make it up my spine to my head, and that would help.

My first theory was that I should try Advanced Dantian Gong; and I am planning to do that once a week. Though if I want to give that a serious try, I should probably do it more often than that? But then one day I did Wu Ji for about 20 minutes; doesn’t sound like much, but honestly I’ve been doing other kinds of standing work most days for the last several months, so my Wu Ji was pretty sporadic. And when I did that, and got into a good position (relaxed and expanded properly, with my weight going down to my Yongquan in a way that let energy flow up) then, sure enough, my Dantian started feeling good and that feeling went up my spine and to my head. And I felt noticeably more awake that day, like I had a couple of weeks back.

So that’s my current theory / plan: I think my spine is in good enough shape that things can make it up my spine. (I had a good Spinal Dao Yin session, too, Qi was moving back from the center of my torso into my spine pretty readily during that session, so another sign that my spine is loosening up.) And I think my Wu Ji form / body preparedness is good enough that I can generate a noticeable amount of Qi. And, if I put those two things together, then good stuff happens inside my body in general and in my head in particular. So my plan is to try to find time to do 20 minutes of Wu Ji every day; I’ve been doing that the last few days, and my energy level has been noticeably better. I’m really feeling optimistic about this: it feels to me like something sustainable that will leave my health in a significantly better situation.

And also I’m optimistic because one of my other goals is to get to where I can kick off the Microcosmic Orbit without having to spend a week at a half at a workshop dedicated to that! But one of the big stumbling blocks there was that I just wasn’t convinced that I had enough juice, especially since my spine was iffy enough that I thought I needed some power to make it through the blockages there. But those are the exact same two areas where I think I’ve made progress recently. So hopefully I really will be able to kick off the MCO in a few months; I’ve started adding in the exercises right before the MCO lesson back in (Mixing Kan and Li, The Lesser Orbit, Orbit Preparation), and I’ve also gone back to my notes from the Maryland workshop and gone through an hour-long Qi thickening exercise from there. It’s a decent number of exercises, especially since I still want to work on some of the earlier ones (like the Line of Ming one), but hopefully I’ll make progress by chipping away at it, and hopefully with my energy levels I’ll have more days when I can work through multiple of those exercises.

Not the only thing I’ve been working on; and also the time for Wu Ji is taking away from other standing work. Some of that standing work had actually been from Damo’s Taiji course instead of Nei Gong work, and actually I feel like I’ve been regressing there: I feel like I was starting to feel Jin before but now that’s pretty faint. So I think the lesson there is that I should get serious enough about the Taiji course to carve out time specifically for that, instead of having it steal time from either my Nei Gong or my Chen Taiji; and, as part of that time, I should keep on mixing in the foundational exercises, spending more time on those than on the form. Though I definitely want to progress with the form, too, of course; and I want to pay attention to what Damo said about having the Jin constantly being on the move during the form.

And, to make the time crunch worse, I do want to stick with my newish plan of getting back to the Nei Gong course. (So I’ll alternate weeks between the two courses.) This last week was my second week working on Taiyi Hundun 1; I think maybe things are opening up inside a bit? It’s also the full moon, which had me working on that exercise, which is also related to opening the central channel. And I’m chipping away at the dragons; I watched a couple more Awakening Dragon videos and had one or two practice sessions on that specific dragon, and also I did my weekly session of all four; that latter one went well, Soaring Dragon in particular felt quite effective in terms of opening my chest.

Chen Taiji is going fine. It was raining so I couldn’t do my regular practice on Wednesday and Friday, but things were clear enough for class on Saturday, and that went well. Not as dramatic as the previous week but I felt more stuff moving around inside than had been my norm before this week, and push hands felt kind of interesting. And on Sunday I practiced the Guan Dao / staff / spear; I watched my teacher’s Guan Dao video to remind myself of a few points, and I was struck by how the circles of the Dao in the video looked, how they were flowing in a way that related to his body. So I tried to pay attention to that; and yeah, if I can get the weapon moving smoothly and balanced properly, then it goes in circles without too much effort, and I can feel the changes from the weapon feeding back into my body. So that was cool.

It’s supposed to rain some this Wednesday and Friday, but fortunately Christmas meant that I could practice Tai Chi on Monday as well, so I’ve gone through all my forms for the week. And if I’m lucky I’ll be able to get in practice tomorrow before the rain starts; we’ll see.

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