Nei Gong Notes, July 6, 2021

Jul 06 2021

I’ve now gone through all four dragons; yay. A few lessons left in that course, but soon I’ll be starting the regular lessons again. Which reminds me, there was one lesson at the end of year one that had something I’d been hoping to work on, but I haven’t really practiced it since then. Unfortunately, it’s a seated practice that works best when I’m awake, and I feel like I’m already doing enough seated practices during the morning when I’m most awake? Still, maybe I should get back to it…

I got my Jian form reviewed on Saturday. As expected, I remembered the moves well enough, but have a lot to work on beyond that. My notes: I should make everything more clean. If something is circular, make it a real circle; if I’m lifting my leg, really lift my leg; if I’m extending my sword, don’t let my wrist droop. Keep the lower half of my body stable. Compared to the no-weapon forms, focus more on extending; compared to Dao, focus more on being fluid.

Also, while doing the first form, I’m feeling slight sensations of winding and unwinding on some moves; I should explore that. It’s related to the focusing on lines of connection and spiraling that I’d been doing a month or two ago, presumably?

I actually took yesterday off from Nei Gong; mostly accidental, I was just goofing off for a little longer than planned in the morning because of the three-day weekend, and then we had friends over. Didn’t seem to have had any serious negative effects, though, today’s practice was fine, so while I won’t make a habit of it, I won’t feel guilty about it either.

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Nei Gong Notes, June 29, 2021

Jun 29 2021

Good week. I’m almost done with the dragons; I still need to see the whole sequence for the Drunken Dragon, but I’ve seen all the parts there. And I continue to enjoy the dragons more as I do them more, I’m slowing down and getting more out of them.

I had to work last Wednesday, so not as many long practice sessions as normal. But still, I chipped away at things, and today in particular felt good, I was feeling things move when doing silk reeling during a meeting, and I got a lot of sleep so I had energy (and time) to do standing Dantian Gong over lunch for the first time in rather too long.

I led silk reeling on Saturday, it felt fine? Hopefully I’ll be able to get my jian form looked at this coming Saturday.

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Nei Gong Notes: June 22, 2021

Jun 22 2021

Interesting week. Not too tired most days, so that was good, though I was unusually busy, so I didn’t practice as much as I normally did, and I skipped Saturday Tai Chi. But the practice that I did do seemed effective, even on short practice sessions.

I did do longer practice sessions on Wednesday and Friday, though, and the Wednesday one felt particularly good; I did a decent length Wu Ji session (30 minutes, plus 5 minutes of a Dao Yin and 5 more minutes of Wu Ji), then some seated meditation, some seated Dantian Gong, and a short Wu Ji session, and I was actually feeling my body react strongly enough to the Dantian Gong that I was on the edge of feeling nauseous. So that was pretty neat; Friday wasn’t as strong, but in general it seemed like a concrete sign of progress.

My right thigh is still off, but it’s no longer affecting my back. And actually my lower back was feeling kind of interesting: one of the new moves that I learned was giving a good stretch there, and there were a few other situations where it felt more energetic than normal? I’m not convinced my Live Gate is really completely opened up, I don’t get the same tingling situation there as I do in my Bai Hui or Yong Quan, but at least hopefully it’s no longer super blocked.

Anyways, I finished learning the Swimming Dragon: one last move, which was a nice simple lower back stretch. Which, actually, is very simple indeed, basically just trying to let your body hang down like you’re trying to touch your toes; for whatever reason, though, in that Dao Yin, it really feels like it’s opening up your lower back?

And then I moved on to the Soaring Dragon; no complicated transition moves there, so that was quick to learn. Or at least to mostly learn, I need to watch it again to make sure I understand one detail about the turn around? Also, there’s a low version of the Soaring Dragon; I’m not flexible enough to do it right, though, and Damo says both that the low version isn’t important and that you can actually hurt yourself if you do it halfway, so I’m just leaving that alone.

Also, when practicing the Dragons, I’m noticing that, as I slow down and relax, I can slip pretty quickly into feeling something during the Wu Ji at the start. So hopefully that’s another sign that my body really is starting to change? Not sure if it’s the ongoing practice or if the Dragons are particularly effective or if it’s just my imagination, but it does motivate me to keep on going.

I’ll be leading Silk Reeling next week; I think the week after that, I’m going to ask my Tai Chi teacher to go over my Jian form instead of the first form.

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Nei Gong Notes, June 15, 2021

Jun 15 2021

Kind of frustrating week; sleep was a bit on the bad side, and I strained something in my right kua or right thigh and that, I think, had me walking or standing in a weird way that got my back unhappy with me. So the end of the week and the weekend weren’t very good from a practice point of view.

There were some good things, though. On Wednesday, when I was doing my start-of-vacation-day practice, it really did start to feel different after a while; nothing I haven’t felt before, but I’m getting the feel that, if I put in an hour and a half of practice, it starts to feel different. And my practice yesterday and today over lunch were both pretty good; not super long, I just spent half an hour doing half of the Ji Ben Qi Gong each day, but my body was definitely reacting. Reacting more in physical stretch way than in a qi movement way, but that’s interesting too, it feels like a sign that my wetsuit is coming together?

I’ve been working on the Swimming Dragon; I should learn the last bit of that tonight.

We had Sunday Tai Chi this week; coming in, I’d been wondering if, during Sweep the Hall, I should try to be more upright. (Normally I’d say “yes, definitely”, but when I try that, I feel like the weight distribution interferes with my turning.) And, watching my teacher and then asking him about that, it’s correct to lean; you don’t want to lean too far, but a bit of leaning is right for that move.

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Nei Gong Notes, June 8, 2021

Jun 08 2021

I’ve now learned the complete first dragon; there’s one bit where I need to make sure I understand the connection right, but still, progress. The main surprise there is that the actual walking part is pretty short; not what I was expecting given how much time I’d been spending on that! On to the second dragon tonight.

I’d been walking to a local park to practice Tai Chi on my days off, but I think I’m going to stop doing that; I wear my walking shoes when I do that, and it makes them stick a little more than I would like for Tai Chi.

And I went into the office for the first time yesterday and today. Yesterday I didn’t do any Nei Gong over lunch but I did go through the dragons at the end of the work day; today I did lunch practice as well as end of day practice. I’ll try to keep that up for now, though once the office opens up more, I’ll be playing board games on many of the days when I’m in the office. Maybe I’ll end up practicing a bit more in the evenings, we’ll see.

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Nei Gong Notes, June 1, 2021

Jun 01 2021

Decent week, maybe even a pretty good one? I’m still dealing with my energy levels on my days off, but I’m getting some practice done there while also not worrying too much when “some practice” doesn’t mean “4 hours of Nei Gong and 2 hours of Tai Chi”. And I had an extra day off this week because of Memorial Day; slept in quite a bit, which helped with my energy level for the start-of-day practice, and then I mostly goofed off the rest of the day, which is also appropriate for a holiday!

Though I did make sure to do a round of silk reeling – I’d skipped that the previous week, and then my back wasn’t feeling good, so I have to remember: always do silk reeling at least twice a week, I guess that holds even when I’m doing Tai Chi more days than I had been.

And, for whatever reason (the extra Nei Gong from the days off? the silk reeling), today’s Nei Gong practice was kind of intense: not a great sleep day, so all I did in the middle of the day was the second half of the Ji Ben, but my body was feeling it inside much more than normal, especially on the fifth and sixth exercises. So that was nice, good to feel that I’m making progress.

And I’m making progress with the dragons, too; now I know the stepping parts of all four, and the opening and closing exercises. And the stepping on the first dragon feels pretty smooth most of the time; I’m definitely improving on the third one as well, it’s not quite as good but it’s getting closer. So I’m getting the foot movements down; and it might also be the case that focusing more on having my feet close to a straight line on those two helps? And the fourth dragon is going fine, it’s not as hard, and it’s interesting to try to feel a little off balance. Tonight I’ll start working on the other parts of things, it’ll be interesting to see what the full exercises are like.

Not much to report on the Tai Chi front; basically going well, and I continue to think that I want to work on my Jian in particular. I think at least I’m starting to get a little better at Sweeping the Hall Leg in the second form, I’m getting crisper about shifting my balance and that’s making a difference.

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Nei Gong Notes, May 25, 2021

May 25 2021

This was my first week of working part time, so I was off on Wednesday and Friday. And I did indeed get more Nei Gong done! On Wednesday, I started the day with a two-hour session, and that was unexpectedly pleasant; yay. Then, after breakfast, I walked to a park and did a decent Tai Chi session (though I forgot to practice Xin Jia, whoops); not entirely sure how frequently I’ll be doing that and how frequently I’ll just practice Tai Chi outside the house, but it worked that day. (And it plus my Sunday practice continued to bring home the fact that I still am surprisingly spotty at the Jian…)

In the afternoon, I had an allergy shot; between that and just feeling like I wanted to relax more (maybe I was tired, too, I can’t remember), I only did a bit of Nei Gong that afternoon; I think I only practiced the dragons? And I didn’t go through a rerun of any of the first year lessons; I’m hoping to do one of the those every day I’m off.

On Friday, I was significantly more tired at the start of the day; I still started things off with a session, and it was quite a bit longer than it would have been if I’d been doing a lunch session like I do on weekdays, but more like an hour rather than two hours? In general, a low energy day; I don’t think I did any Tai Chi, though I did at least review one of the first year lessons in the afternoons. (And do the dragons.)

In general, a quite low energy week, I really need to get this sleep stuff under control. Having said that, I felt like at least I was working with that okay, instead of being super frustrated by that, and getting stuff done when I could; and on the good-ish days I do actually like the way my body feels when I’m doing Wu Ji and other exercises, it’s not like days when I’m super energized but there are still connections there?

In terms of the dragons, I’ve learned the components of the stepping part of the drunken dragon, so I’m almost done with the stepping parts. And the soaring dragon is feeling smoother, as is the awakening dragon, so the earlier ones are coming together a bit more.

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Nei Gong Notes, May 18, 2021

May 18 2021

It had been a surprisingly unproductive week: not sure if it was leftover effects from the vaccine (or from taking a couple days off after the vaccine) or if I was more tired than normal, or what, but my stamina definitely was lower than it had been. Though today actually felt good; my mid-day practice was a little on the short side because of an errand, but it felt solid, I’m pretty sure I could have done my prior normal full dose of Dantian Gong if I’d kept going. So hopefully I can build on that.

Made it through the Soaring Dragon walk. Which was a little harder than I expected: it seemed complex but fine, but when putting it all together, you’re supposed to twist your body and look over your shoulder, and I had a hard time keeping my balance while doing that? It went better today, when I was sinking more into my weighted leg, so hopefully if I can work on that then I’ll get more comfortable with this one. (I am getting more comfortable with Awakening Dragon.) I think I’ll wait until Thursday to start learning Drunken Dragon, though.

Sunday Tai Chi last weekend; not much to report there, though.

This is my first week of working part time; so I’ll have Wednesday and Friday off. We’ll see how much Nei Gong and Tai Chi I get done those days; hopefully more than normal, but also hopefully I won’t push myself too much? And at some point next month I’ll probably make an appointment with a TCM practitioner, maybe that will help with some of the difficulties I’ve been having.

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Nei Gong Notes, May 11, 2021

May 11 2021

Not much to report this week: I got my second shot on Friday, and that kind of knocked me out on Saturday, so I ended up taking the weekend off. And one or two other days weren’t great for other reasons. So, basically, much less practice than normal.

I did learn the arm movements and stepping movements of the Soaring Dragon; it seems kind of interesting? I like the way each of them makes your torso feel, I’ll be curious to see what it’s like when it’s put together. Still not feeling great about the Awakening Dragon, though.

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Nei Gong Notes, May 4, 2021

May 04 2021

Not a whole lot to talk about this week; fine week, just not much in the way of events? In terms of Dragon Dao Yin practice, on Tuesday, I learned the full walking part of the Awakening Dragon. Which is pretty hard, I still don’t feel particularly coordinated there, and I fairly frequently realize that I’m forgetting one subtle detail or another? And my feet rarely turned smoothly at the start of the week; it’s getting better over the course of the week though, especially now that one of the lessons pointed out that you should turn your back knee along with your front knee.

And on Thursday and Sunday, I learned the walking part of Swimming Dragon; it’s rather soothing, in ways that I thought were pretty interesting, lots of sinking and watching my body react to my Dantian turning as I moved my hands. It might be an illusion, but I feel quite a bit better at Swimming Dragon than the Awakening Dragon; and I do think it’s easier, though also there are surely subtleties that I’m missing. It also helps, I think, that I’ve been practicing sinking recently in a few different ways?

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