Archive for January, 2024

Nei Gong Notes, January 30, 2024

Jan 30 2024 Published by under Uncategorized

Solid week this week. On Tuesday, I did the next lesson in Damo’s Tai Chi course, on Play Pipa; that was fine, some interesting bits about sinking. The other Yang Tai Chi thing that happened that week was one day I was doing Wu Song Shen Fa 3, and again I wasn’t getting the feeling I wanted, but then I realized I was doing the hand movement completely wrong, moving my arms twice instead of once per foot. So I’m glad that I figured out what I was doing wrong, once I fixed that then it was properly effective again.

I had a good Nei Gong session on Wednesday: doing the Hundun Qigong, I could feel the right heights for my hands at all four locations, and I could feel a kind of syrupy column slowly going down my body to those points. So hopefully that’s the central channel opening up, though it didn’t feel like a thread? And then the Water Hui Chun after that felt particularly good, thick Qi moving around. Pretty good Swimming Dragon Dao Yin session today, too.

In terms of Chen Tai Chi, I made a bit of progress on the staff, though I still have work to do there. And Silk Reeling was very interesting on Saturday: it felt like I was doing Qigong, stuff was really moving around inside, seemed like it was a good Qi thickening exercise.

Joyce is holding a workshop this weekend, I’m really looking forward to that.

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Nei Gong Notes, January 23, 2024

Jan 23 2024 Published by under Uncategorized

Not a ton to report this week. It was a week for a new lesson in the Nei Gong class, so I did the Taiyi Hundun Qigong 2 lesson. Which extends that sequence to 55 minutes, which is long enough that I had a hard time fitting it into the current rotation. So I skipped doing the Hui Chuns this week; I think that went okay? (Though I should get back to that soon.) Anyways, I was surprised how strong the feeling was in the middle of my forehead when doing the Taiyi Hundun Qigong exercise. But the parts of my central channel lower down would seem to still need opening up.

Part of the reason why I had a hard time fitting it into my schedule was that my sleep was a little off. Observing that, I decided it was probably allergies, and probably caused by me experimenting with stopping one of my allergy medicines (as an experiment suggested by my allergist); I’d thought at first that it was okay for me to not use the drug, but clearly it wasn’t because I took it in the middle of one particularly rough night and my nose dried up quickly and I slept great the rest of the night.

It was a Spinal Dao Yin week, nad they went well: my spine felt like it was stretching better than normal and allowing Qi to flow a little more smoothly. In the bits in my chest / throat I noticed that I was jamming my shoulder blades together because I was pulling my elbows back too much; once I made sure to pull my elbows out instead of back, that went much better.

Nothing special to report on the Tai Chi front.

And my energy levels are continuing to be good; yesterday I felt particularly energized basically all day. I’m going to experiment with doing acupuncture every four weeks instead of every two weeks; hopefully I just need to keep on working on my back as I’ve been doing and it will continue to improve, instead of depending on the acupuncture.

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Nei Gong Notes, January 16, 2024

Jan 16 2024 Published by under Uncategorized

This was a week for the Nei Gong course, so I did the Opening the Du lesson on Tuesday. Damo warns in that lesson that, unless you’re particularly well grounded, you should avoid this lesson; and, sure enough, my sleep was lousy that night, so clearly that one wasn’t wise for me to pursue. So on Thursday I did the next lesson in the Taiji course, Releasing the Feet for Taiji and Shoulder Dao Yin. Both of which were interesting; I’ll want to keep at the Releasing the Feet exercise to see if it affects my rootedness, and that particular Shoulder Dao Yin does get my body shifting around a bit more than most of those shoulder exercises do.

Chen Tai Chi was going pretty well. We had the Sunday class, I picked up a decent amount of refinements on the Lao Jia second form and on the Xin Jia first form. (The second form is good cardio if I do it enough, I should do it repeatedly more often because I don’t get enough of that currently…) I’m behind on the staff, though one of the other students was helping me with some of the bits that I was getting wrong; yesterday I watched Chen Qingzhou’s DVD on that and I ripped it today for easy reference, so as long as I put in the time I should be able to catch up.

As part of my Microcosmic Orbit preparation, I watched the practice video from the Maryland course. It was pretty effective, as it had been the last time I was watching it, my Dantian was rotating on its own. So I decided to try actually kicking off the orbit, my first time attempting that in over a year; it went pretty well, I think? Stuff definitely went most of the way up my spine; not sure it made it all the way to the top of my head and down, but that’s okay, it went as well as it did during my first attempt in the workshop itself, I think.

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Nei Gong Notes, January 9, 2024

Jan 09 2024 Published by under Uncategorized

Pretty good week. Health wise, I was feeling like I was starting to feel a little tired, and then on Friday I was definitely feeling it during my Nei Gong practice; I had acupuncture that day, and my doctor noticed one part in my spine that wasn’t quite right, so maybe I’d been being sloppy with how I hold my back? Though I’d done Spinal Dao Yins a couple of days before, I would have expected that to last.

Anyways, he adjusted my back a bit, and then on Saturday I was doing the Dragons and my energy started to feel better in the middle of that, so I think that must have been it. (The other hypothesis I had was Ping Heng Gong, which I hadn’t done as much recently because of the rain.) And I’ve been focusing on proper alignment on my lower back; I’m pretty sure that’s been helping. When I make that adjustment while doing Nei Gong, it feels like the lower half of my torso is like a cylinder (or maybe a cyclinder-like thing with an oval cross section); interesting feeling, but I’ll take that as a good sign.

My Chen Tai Chi is going well; I’m feeling like both my Xin Jia first form and my Lao Jia second form are getting to a shape where I know them pretty well and can work on doing them better. (At least except for Sweeping the Hall…) And I feel like I’m making progress with the Hunyuan Dao and the Jian, too: circles everywhere in the Hunyuan Dao form, and for the Jian, I’d been feeling connection between my hands and Dantian during the empty handed form and I’m starting to see how I can get a connection like that extending out the Jian, too.

I did the next bit in the form from Damo’s Tai Chi class last Tuesday, seems fine.

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Nei Gong Notes, January 2, 2024

Jan 02 2024 Published by under Uncategorized

Solid week. I think my energy levels are normalizing (or my response to them is normalizing), at a level that’s a noticeable improvement but not as good as it was in the first week and a half when it spiked. Still mostly not wanting to nap during the day, and most of the time when I do want to nap, there’s a decently clear sleep-related reason for that. Still practicing both Nei Gong and Tai Chi noticeably more than I had been (though of course having the holidays give me more time for that is relevant too!), but it takes a little more effort to stick with it sometimes.

This week’s I did a Nei Gong lesson; on concentration, it felt like a traditional Buddhist instruction of paying attention to your nostrils while breathing. Related, presumably, to the concept of attention that Damo’s constantly talking about, but I guess this is fixed attention to a small area. Definitely a good lesson to have come across, it’s an area where I’d been thinking that I should improve on and I’d been feeling like I was missing something compared to Buddhist approaches; the only annoyance is that it’s important enough that I’ll want to keep on working it into my practice, and I’ve got other stuff that I want to work on too!

I’d been being thinking I wasn’t feeling as much Jin as I should while doing Tai Chi; so I spent more time doing standing exercises, on the theory that I probably needed to go back to basics. And, annoyingly, it didn’t seem to help! But then I watched the Wu Song Shen Fa 3 video again, and that got stuff flowing again; not sure if I just respond better when watching Damo, or if I was doing the mechanics wrong (I think I might have been moving my arms side-to-side too much when doing that exercise earlier in the week) or if actually the extra work that I’d been putting it was about to pay off and it would have gotten better even if I hadn’t watched the video; glad to have that feeling back, at any rate.

Not much else to report in general; back still feels better, maybe a little tight in the upper third, I might ask my TCM doctor about that, but I think that’s much less of a problem than the lower back problems I’d had. And I do want to get a bit more Qi in my head, now that I’ve felt an improvement there I know what feeling to go for and that it’s possible to improve that; my Wu Ji hasn’t been helping quite as much as I’d like, unfortunately, but hopefully chipping away will improve it. And I should work on Shui Gong 2: it’s actually focusing on pretty much exactly the parts of my head that don’t feel right, and now that I’ve improved things that exercise no longer gets my head buzzing in a counterproductive way.

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