Nei Gong Notes, May 21, 2024

May 21 2024

Nei Gong week this week, and I reached the last lesson of Year 2, yay. I’d been hoping that it wouldn’t be a long seated lesson, because that would interfere with my MCO prep, so I was a little nervous when I opened the lesson and saw a decent length seated exercise! But it turned out to be an outside practice, to do during sunny days; so it was something that I would want to fit into my afternoons when I’m out in a park doing Tai Chi there instead of something that I would want to fit into my morning Nei Gong at home.

I tried the exercise a couple of times; no particular effects yet. It is interesting when doing it how noticeable the different aspects of the exercise are, though: yes, there’s one point on my forehead that stands out, yes, I can leave my gaze far away but move my attention along a line, yes it goes inside my head when I do that, and yes there’s one point in my head that feels distinctive in a way that plausibly seems like having my vision become a little lighter. So I’ll keep on poking at that a couple of times a week.

On the MCO prep note: I had a bad practice on Wednesday; I didn’t feel quite right going in but I decided to practice anyways and that was a mistake. Not a horrible mistake or anything, but now I know to listen to my body when it’s doing that. Did MCO prep again on Friday and then tried kicking it off on Sunday; better than the previous week, but the Qi was only making up to just above the middle of my spine. Still, things are feeling more active in my body: e.g. when doing the Kidney Hui Chun yesterday, stuff was moving around quite noticeably even in the preparatory hand movements of that set, and today I did just a bit of Wu Ji as a preparation for a different exercise and my body started tingling almost immediately. So I’m pretty optimistic that I’ve hit upon a practice routine that has me actively building up Qi.

I also went through the third Zhan Zhuang lesson in the Taiji course. Still no putting the hands up; I guess that only shows up in the third year, but I’m not going to try to skip ahead to that. A very interesting lesson, at any rate, adding releasing from the feet to the mix; and it did indeed add another aspect to the interior stretch. On Saturday I did Zhan Zhuang with my arms up; hard time sinking my mind through my body in that position, but I still felt a good amount of inflation as I relaxed my arms, tried to sink my mind, and tried to relax my feet.

And on Sunday I did Zhan Zhuang as in the new lesson, I got a lot of inflation then. And actually on Sunday afternoon, the insides of my elbows were aching a bit; I’m not sure that was caused by the inflation from Zhan Zhuang or if that was caused by something else, but nice to feel that my body was working. If it was caused by something else, it’s probably that my Tai Chi teacher was having us do an exercise where you used your Dantian to flash your arms up and down, and I did a hundred iterations or so of that on both Saturday and Sunday, so that would also have put stress on my arms. Interesting exercise, one which I’d done before but not as effectively in the past: one I did it enough, I started to get a time delay where the movement was moving from my arms on down. Which is a good sign because it’s showing force moving from one part of my body to the other (setting up a causal relationship instead of muddling all the different parts together); but then when I asked my teacher about it, he said that it should go from my legs to my Dantian to my arms, so I had the causality reversed! Something to keep working on.

Also on Saturday I worked through an exercise about grounding your opponent’s force from Ken Gullette’s Internal Body Mechanics book; interesting to feel it both within my body when receiving force and within my partner’s body when I was giving force, I could tell when he was adjusting. And there was a Sunday Tai Chi class this week; we finished the staff form, yay. Next month should be a staff review, but then we’ll start the double dao after that; I think that’s the last weapons form that my Chen teacher teaches? Still a few empty hand forms to learn, though, and at some point it would be nice to see the Taiji ball.

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