Archive for February, 2024

Nei Gong Notes, February 20, 2024

Feb 20 2024 Published by under Uncategorized

Good week. It was a Nei Gong lesson week, and the lesson was Taiyi Hundun Qigong 3; seemed fine, not a particular revelation compared to 1 or 2 though.

Wednesday was a good day: it was actually probably the best my energy has been since I had that breakthrough in December. For Nei Gong, I had a good Spinal Dao Yin session (stuff wasn’t getting stuck as much as it had previously in the rough parts in my spine, and my back was wanting to spread horizontally), the Taiyi Hundun Qigong 3, the Spleen Hui Chun, and some Ping Heng Gong. For Damo’s Tai Chi I did some Wu Song Shen Fa 3, some of the Releasing the Feet for Taiji exercise, and had a good session of the First Road part of the Yang 37. And for Chen Taiji I did my regular weapons practice, some extra staff review (and I made progress on a couple of moves), an hour of Silk Reeling, a bit of Lao Jia. So 3 hours of Nei Gong and maybe 2 hours of Tai Chi across the two styles, and it was high quality practice. And I’m definitely glad I spent the time on the Silk Reeling; that helped with my energy and helped my back feel better.

I asked in the Discord about what I can do to build my ability to release in my feet; the advice I got was to spend time on the Wu Song Shen Fa exercises. I was already thinking that the third of those was useful, so I should do that more and I should go back to the other two. I watched the videos for the Loosening and the Fang Song Gong versions of Wu Song Shen Fa 1; one interesting thing that I got out of rewatching the Fang Song Gong one is that he claimed the release is similar to the way your spine tugs up when relax your pelvis. And I know what that feels like and how to accomplish it; and, actually, I feel like I can do something like that on my feet as well now that I point it out? It’s not what I expected release on my feet to feel like, but it’s definitely something I can work on, good to have a route in.

On Friday I had my first acupuncture session in four weeks; I was expecting it to be more helpul than it was, but I didn’t particularly notice it helping my energy. And actually my energy wasn’t great on Saturday and got worse over the day, despite the Tai Chi class; my best guess is that it was a little rainy and then quite windy, and I was reacting to that more badly than I thought? (I was wearing a raincoat, but it wasn’t super thick, so while I didn’t feel actively cold, I guess the wind affected me somehow.) I actually kind of realized that at the time and avoided doing purging type stuff (I usually do a Dragon Dao Yin set after class but I avoided that this time, and I also considered doing Coiling Snake but skipped that as well), but that wasn’t enough. So my energy level wasn’t great over the weekend; but yesterday and today I got back to Coiling Snake, my back immediately started feeling better, and my energy level got better too; my energy level was quite solid today, and I found time to do some Wu Song Shen Fa 1 as well as some Nei Gong.

Also on Sunday I tried following my notes from the Maryland workshop for kicking off the Microcosmic Orbit. Honestly, I think those notes are maybe not so awesome – there’s one bit that I probably skipped, and another bit where I was pretty vague? So I think I’ll stop following those notes as-is, and either do a different variant inspired by some other notes from the workshop that are better (but that will need to be modified since they were from a session where we didn’t try to kick off the Orbit), or else just try to kick off the orbit after following the one that was on video, since that one reliably gets my Dantian moving on its own accord. Still, it was an okay experiment, and it probably would have better if my back had been in better shape instead of being a little messed up after Saturday; as is, the parts where I was thickening stuff in my torso felt quite effective, which is a good sign in terms of my internal readiness. But I didn’t do a good job of getting a rotation set up in the Dantian, and when I tried moving things into my spine, it did go in but didn’t go very high up, presumably because my back was off.

I’ll have to think about it more, but I’m thinking I should switch my MCO focus from going through like 6 different prep exercises to focusing on a smaller set? I’m seeing some signs that my preparation is plausible but that I need to get better at getting my Dantian going; so probably spending time on the Lesser Orbit, Mixing Kan and Li, and Anchoring the Breath on work days and then working on the Orbit itself (either via the version in his class or via my notes or via that one recorded lecture) on days when I have more time would make sense. (Though I also kind of like my habit of doing Advanced Dantian Gong on Saturdays, maybe I’ll stick with that.)

And then today I watched the video that Damo put out about the Foundations course. Thinking it over and talking it over with my wife, I think I’ll do that? It’s a manageable time commitment, and while I am making progress on foundational work, I’m not 100% confident that I’ll be able to avoid pitfalls just doing the IAA videos plus occasional random in-person classes. And those ten day sessions with Damo would be useful, too; I’m already doing one course of his this summer, but these seem like they might be a little more focused than that? So I’ve put down the deposit for the Texas course; I’m not 100% confident that I’ll do that but I think I will.

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Nei Gong Notes, February 13, 2024

Feb 13 2024 Published by under Uncategorized

It was a Tai Chi week; in this week’s lesson, I finished the first third of the form. Damo recommended going back through all of the earlier lessons of the form after this one, to make sure you have the first third down well; I should probably do that. We’ll see when I manage to work it into things; hopefully I’ll have time to do it some during midweek practice sessions, but I’m not sure. There was also a push hands video, on an exercise having you pushing into your opponent via release from your foot; I tried it on Saturday, and failed completely. Which, honestly, wasn’t a huge surprise: I feel like I sometimes get glimmers of that, especially while doing Wu Song Shen Fa 3, but I never feel it super strongly. I should work on that while doing the form, too.

I had a good Nei Gong session on Friday. I’d been thinking after the workshop that I should do Pushing the Tides more, so I had a decent session of that, and I also did a one-hour Qi Thickening set from the Maryland workshop.

Unfortunately, I was a little more tired than I would have liked on Friday, and a lot more tired than I would have liked on Saturday morning; it had been three weeks since my last acupuncture appointment, so maybe I needed that more than I thought? But then I went to Tai Chi class on Saturday and I immediately started feeling better during Silk Reeling; so I guess my back had just gotten tight. I would have expected the workshop to have helped with that, but I guess it didn’t make a huge difference; probably driving two and a half hours each day didn’t help? And then it had been raining, so I hadn’t done my regular Tai Chi, either. At any rate, I was very glad to be feeling better; and probably I should start doing mid-week Silk Reeling, since it’s clearly helpful for me.

The other interesting thing from Saturday’s Tai Chi class was that our teacher had us do an exercise that he called something like the Dragon posture but that was almost identical to Coiling Snake from Nei Gong. And my back was definitely tingling in interesting ways after that; and, in retrospect, I remember it making my back feel good after that lesson. So I should spend time on that; I reviewed that lesson yesterday, Damo was indeed talking about effects that are very relevant to my situation, and there were some details that I’d forgotten, so rewatching the video was useful.

We had Sunday Tai Chi this week as well; fortunately, I’d done a good enough job of reviewing the Staff form (despite the rain) that I didn’t feel like I was particularly behind. I didn’t feel like I had every move down pat, but we just reviewed it this time instead of moving on to new moves, and I think the review has put me in pretty good shape for next month.

I’m still a little more tired than I’d like, but it’s manageable, and my back is tingling in interesting ways. And doing other odd but good things, too: e.g. it was randomly wanting to spread sideways while I was sitting down today. So hopefully I’m still making progress; and hopefully I’ll get back to making improvements on my fatigue levels?

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Nei Gong Notes, February 6, 2024

Feb 06 2024 Published by under Uncategorized

This week’s lesson in the Nei Gong course was a Yin Qi Gong set. You should only do it when the sun is down, so it won’t fit into my normal practice routine, but I did it Tuesday and Thursday evenings; it got me feeling pretty mellow, which is nice. So I’ll probably try to do it on Thursday evenings for the next bit? But I won’t go out into a park at midnight to do it…

It was super rainy this week, so I didn’t do my normal Tai Chi practice. And I didn’t even go to Tai Chi class on Saturday, because I was at a Nei Gong workshop that Joyce ran from Friday through Sunday.

Which was good, but I have surprisingly little to write about it? Mostly an excuse to spend more time than normal on exercises that I was mostly familiar with, though there was a five elements seated set that was near to me. She said I was a little on the serious side, which is true, something to work on! But she also seemed to think that I’d been making progress.

I also wish I’d been a little more alert during the workshop: my energy levels weren’t awful, but my sleep was bad all three nights before the workshop. I had reasons why: on Thursday night I had Thai Iced Tea for dinner and I think that had more caffeine than was wise; on Friday I got woken up for a while by an alert from work (and I think something else happened, maybe I had to let Velvet go out back); I can’t remember what my excuse was for Saturday night but I had one then too. And I think that at least two of those are real reasons that I don’t want to generalize from, but also my sleep really hasn’t been as good as it should be, I think. And also my energy levels during the day aren’t as good as I’d like; might be mostly just the sleep, or it might not.

Thinking about it more, I decided that maybe my Liver Heat was rearing up a bit. So on Monday I did a ten minute session of the Wood Wu Xing exercise, and it felt like that calmed down my mind. Unfortunately, I got woken up that night by Velvet throwing up, and my brain decided to worry about that (though, in the light of day, nothing particular to worry about), so I continue to have excuses for why my energy levels are bad; hopefully I won’t have external interruptions tonight… Also I was pleased that, yesterday and today, when I was doing Wu Ji, I felt like I had good energy levels going up my spine, and when I paid attention to how that was making it up to my head, I felt alert, so I’m optimistic that my tiredness really is largely just the sleep issues, that I’m continuing to do better on Kidney Qi. (Certainly we did enough back exercises during the workshop that my spine should be in better condition!)

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