Nei Gong Notes, February 20, 2024

Feb 20 2024

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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