Nei Gong Notes, July 18, 2023

Jul 18 2023

Not a ton to say: because of poodle care and my wife being out of town most of last week, I was doing more maintenance levels of practice. Mostly Hui Chuns for the seated part (and the days when I tried to do something else happened to be the days that I was sleepy enough to interfere with the work); for standing practice, I was actually mostly doing stuff from Damo’s Tai Chi course.

That part was interesting. Usually I did 10 minutes of either Wu Ji or Taiyi followed by 10 minutes of Ba Men 2. And I did like the Ba Men 2; for whatever reason, I felt like I was sinking a lot more effectively there than during other exercises I do. And I was starting to feel the release when I shifted my weight off of my foot; though, oddly, it seemed like I was feeling the release and expansion a little more during the first half of the week than the second half of the week. Not sure what the deal is there, I’m not going to worry about it too much.

I didn’t do almost any of my regular Tai Chi practice: I went through a few forms one day with Velvet on a lead, but I didn’t practice on other days. Hopefully I’ll be able to get back to that this week, and I should go to my regular class this Saturday.

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Nei Gong Notes, July 11, 2023

Jul 11 2023

As mentioned last week, the new puppy is throwing a noticeable wrench into my Nei Gong and Tai Chi. Especially right now, since my wife went away on a trip starting last Saturday and lasting through next Saturday, so I’m doing all the puppy care myself. That means less going out for stuff (so I’m skipping Tai Chi class both Saturdays; on Sunday I did go to Tai Chi class but only for the staff portion of the lesson), and less time and more fragmented time at home.

Having said that, I am starting to get a feel for my puppy’s rhythms, and actually there is enough downtime that I can at least get some Nei Gong done. Basically, she goes through these cycles where she’s kind of bonkers for an hour and a half or two hours, and then mellow and even sleepy for a couple of hours; and I definitely have time for a 20-30 minute session during the sleepy bits, and if I get the timing right I can even fit in a 40 minute session. So I can’t do hour-long single exercises, and I can’t combine seated and standing work in a single session, but I can definitely do the sorts of minimum amount of work that I’ve been doing on work days, and, with care, I can probably get a 40 minute Hui Chun done on most of the non-work days.

I haven’t done so much Tai Chi: I tried that once with her leash tied to a tree, but she wasn’t thrilled with that and got a little tangled up, and I think (I can’t remember if it actually happened or if it was just something I was worried about) she was also chewing on her leash. So I’ve bought a 10 foot tether with a cable that I’m less worried about her chewing on it; I’ll try her with that tomorrow, and see if I can get a somewhat longer Tai Chi session. (And I’ll think about what other stuff I can bring outside with her to give her something else to do while I’m doing that.) Hopefully that will let me do a bit more practice this Wednesday and Friday (and future Wednesdays and Fridays, because the plan is for my wife to do puppy care on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the work week and for me to do puppy care on Mondays / Wednesdays / Fridays); we’ll see.

In terms of standing work, I’ve mostly been doing stuff from Damo’s Tai Chi course rather than his Nei Gong course. Hopefully I’m making progress there; though I still feel like releasing my feet is hard, though I can feel the release as it moves further up my body. Just now, though, I watched the Ba Men 2 video, and in that one he talks about releasing by moving slightly forward / back, and I think that’s working for me; so I’ll spend a decent amount of time on that one this week.

(And watching those videos does make me continue to wonder if Chen Tai Chi experts are doing the same thing or if they’re doing something pretty different; once I get a bit further I’ll see if I can articulate that question to my Tai Chi teacher in a way where we’re not talking past each other…)

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Nei Gong Notes, July 4, 2023

Jul 04 2023

A change in my situation this week: we got a new puppy on Friday! Which is a very good thing, but it also means that, until our puppy is more housebroken, I’ll have to fit in my practice during times when she’s asleep during the day. (At least on days when I’m home alone looking after her, which includes the days when I’ve been practicing the most, because those are weekdays when I’m not working, and, not unreasonably, I’m doing primary puppy care those days instead of Liesl. And she’s going to be out of town for a week soon, which means that I’ll be doing solo puppy care.) Fortunately she sleeps long enough during the day that fitting in 30 minute sessions seems pretty workable.

And also right now my sleep is getting interrupted multiple times each night because of having to take her out, which certainly doesn’t help with things. Though that interrupted sleep is actually not interfering with things as much as it would have historically: my energy levels continue to be better? I really do think that something is changing in my back; I can feel it being more active, in ways that feel like there’s Qi bubbling around there and that I’m doing better at relaxing / releasing it, and my TCM doctor has been saying for a while that the blockage he’s been targeting is in my back, and recently he’s been thinking it’s getting better. So hopefully this improvement is real and will continue; if the improvement pauses for a bit because of the puppy, though, that’s okay, puppies are important!

Anyways, not a lot to say on the Nei Gong front; I’ve been keeping up basic practice fine, at least, just Wednesdays and Fridays aren’t as involved. Besides my back, I’m also wondering a bit what’s going on in my solar plexus: ever since the workshop before last with Rick, it’s been feeling better in a way that’s hard to describe. (“Bright”, I’m tempted to say, but I don’t think that would make sense to anybody else.) And I was noticing that a bit more recently; I actually wonder if it’s a sign that some sort of firing process is getting ready to happen or already low-key happened? Who knows.

On the Tai Chi front, my regular class has been going fine; though I’ll probably have to skip it the next two weeks because Liesl is out of town. And I’ve been keeping up my practice; hopefully I can stick with that even with the new puppy, I think I’ll try bringing her out to the yard with me while I’m doing Tai Chi and attaching her leash to a tree? We’ll see how she reacts to that…

Also, a couple of people have mentioned that they wished they could have gone to my Silk Reeling course. So that makes me more motivated to give it again; not now but maybe in the fall or something? I’m also thinking I might do it once a month instead of once a week next time: you can make a good case that that’s a better schedule for learning the material, since it’ll give people more time to practice, and also I can be more flexible about the time and even the location then (since making an exception about that once a month is easier for me than once a week), so hopefully that will make it possible for me to reach people who couldn’t make it this last time.

I’ve also been thinking about something my Tai Chi teacher said during a podcast interview: he talked about spending time with his fellow students, critiquing each other’s form. And I feel like there are a lot of things that I’m noticing in my practice that would like to be able to talk about with other fellow students, and maybe the other more advanced students also feel the same way? It’s a little odd, because a lot of what I’m thinking about is coming as much or more from my Nei Gong practice than from my Tai Chi practice, and I’m not sure how those disparate influences would play out if we were to spend more time talking about stuff, but maybe there’s something that we could do there. I don’t know, and I also only have some vague ideas about the format, but I might raise the issue with one or two of the other students and see if they’re feeling the same way and, if so, if they have ideas about the format? (And I should re-listen to that interview.)

And I’ve also been continuing to go through Damo’s Tai Chi course; I’m still going through the early lessons again that I tried going through a couple of years ago, but they’re being a lot more interesting this time. I (kind of accidentally) went through two last week, which is just as well since I’m not sure I’ll have time to do one this current week. In Ba Men 1, the thing that struck me this time is that the feeling I get when pressing my arms against each other during the Ji part of that is similar to the feeling that I get when lightly squeezing my thumb during the mudra in the Spleen Hui Chun, or even to the feeling that I get when standing with my weight on my Yongquan, basically with an expansion inside my body that’s making it feel more structured somehow. I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t feeling that at all the last time I did that course, and I suspect it’s a sign of something important / useful; I’ll probably ask what. And in the Fang Song Gong version of Wu Song Shen Fa 1, I’m doing better at releasing than I was before; I’m still not particularly good at kicking off the release from my feet, but I think I can get the release somewhat in the rest of my legs. (I’m trying to go after the same feeling that I get when I relax my neck and my head floats up and back, or when I relax my back and it uncurls.) And I’m also doing better at the sinking part, I think. So I’m feeling pretty motivated to keep that up; most days, I’m doing Tai Chi stuff during the standing part of my practice instead of Nei Gong stuff.

Fun and interesting; I’ll be curious to see if it starts affecting my Push Hands.

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Nei Gong Notes, June 27, 2023

Jun 27 2023

Really good week, in multiple ways. On a Nei Gong note, Wednesday’s practice was the best practice I’ve had in a few months; it started to feel good when I did the stretching, I decided to spend a little while squatting with feet flat on the ground, and I got a pretty good stretch across the bottom half of my back, with noticeable feelings of energy. And then I did the Spinal Dao Yin; I’d been getting a little bored of that and was thinking that maybe I’d pause doing that, but, presumably as a result of my back doing better, my back felt significantly more active than normal. There’s definitely still work to go there, there’s still a place maybe two thirds of the way up my back where I feel Qi getting stuck, but it really seems like improvement. And then I did two different seated exercises for about 40 minutes each; I can’t remember what the first one was (maybe Advanced Dantian Gong?), the second was my usual one of the Hui Chun exercises. So it’s really nice to have energy to do more than one standing plus one seated exercise on my days off, and to feel that the exercises are going well.

And then I again managed to do a second seated exercise on Friday. I won’t say Friday was quite as exciting as Wednesday, but still, an improvement over my previous norm! The weekend and start of the week weren’t quite as good, partly because I was busy and partly because my sleep was a little off, but actually I think my energy level was holding up better than it had been in the past where I hadn’t gotten quite enough sleep? So I think I’m finally making progress there; my TCM doctor agrees that I was doing well (and that my back is relevant to that), though he still sees more room for improvement.

And I had been worried that, with the switch to doing Hui Chuns four days a week instead of two, I wouldn’t have enough time to make progress with MCO prep stuff; but if I can get two seated exercises on some days, then that helps with that concern. And I think the MCO prep stuff is doing decently well: I’ve had times when Bellows Breathing and the Ming Line were more exciting, but they’re doing okay, and I’ve been getting into a state where Advanced Dantian Gong feels like it’s packing something in there. (Though I haven’t been feeling energy up my spine after that like I did a month or so back.)

In terms of Tai Chi, I watched Damo’s lesson on Taiyi Standing, and that’s aligned with my interests, since I’m curious about power / movement via release. (Mostly for Tai Chi purposes, but Rick talked about it some in a Nei Gong seminar.) So I did that exercise several times this week. And my Tai Chi practice during the week is on a pretty good footing right now: I’ve gone through all of the forms I know at least once over each of the last two weeks, and I’ve practiced the forms I’m shaky on (the spear, the Guan Dao, and the staff that we just started) multiple times a week.

In Saturday’s Tai Chi class, I was reminded that, in Kick with Two Feet Up, your left fist should be higher than your right fist. And when doing Push Hands after that, we did the one hand version long enough that my shoulders would normally be telling me to give up, but this time it ached but I was doing fine pushing through it; my shoulders could feel it the next morning, but hopefully that means that I’m strengthening things? Or maybe it just means that I’m not relaxing and using Peng enough…

And then on Sunday we had another Push Hands workshop. I was worried I wouldn’t like it because our teacher said he’d talk about applications, and often that just leads to yet another technique that makes sense but that I won’t internalize. But this time he was just introducing us to competitive Push Hands (instead of just going through the patterns), and that was much more interesting than I expected. I really liked the fixed step version of that; after experimenting for a bit, I got to where, when my opponent reached out to push my chest, I’d manage to grab the back of his arm in a way that immobilized his forearm and mostly prevented him from pushing me off balance and where I could even twist him off balance; once I developed that instinct, I was losing a lot less. I also got to situations where we’d be pushing around some and then I’d suddenly see a bit part of my opponent’s torso that was wide open and manage to push him off balance then. And also I felt like I was doing noticeably better than my opponent at keeping control of his hands / arms by having my hands on top. So I won’t claim to be a big Push Hands expert all of a sudden (it’s not like my opponent has lots of competitive Push Hands experience either, and in general I think our experience levels and weight and strength are well matched), but it was nice to develop a couple of instincts that turned out to be genuinely useful. And it made me want to do more competitive Push Hands; I might even look into tournaments for that at some point over the next year?

I still wasn’t getting any real idea that I was doing the kind of stuff Damo talks about; this is mostly the wrestling style of Push Hands, I think. But I also (when experimenting with that partner and with another one) got the feeling that my body is getting more integrated, in ways that actually do have a martial benefit. We spent some time just doing the regular cooperative moving step sequence, and I was pretty reliably able to spiral through my partner in a way that got them off balance much more than I would normally expect my arm to be able to do through what looks like pushing to the side; and my partner initially just was not moving me in the same way, but I could also kind of feel where his force first wasn’t hitting me at all and then was only partly affecting me, in ways that I don’t think I could have sensed earlier?

We also did some competitive moving step Push Hands; that one wasn’t nearly as good. Our teacher is very good at moving in and stepping in a way that uses your foot / leg as a lever for putting your opponent off balance, but neither I nor my partner could do that particularly to each other. I felt like I was doing a decent job of pushing my partner around, but we were just practicing in a park, so we didn’t have a ring with a dividing line that I could win by pushing him past and we didn’t have enough cushioning for me to feel comfortable about really trying hard to knock him down, so it was hard to say whether that pushing him around would actually help me much if it had been a tournament situation.

We’re getting a new puppy this weekend, so we’ll see how much that eats into my practice time. But puppies are good regardless.

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Nei Gong Notes, June 20, 2023

Jun 20 2023

I was visiting my parents for the second half of last week, so I didn’t have my regular practice schedule. Though actually it was an okay week for Nei Gong: I made sure to do some Nei Gong at the start and/or the end of the day every day I was there, and also yesterday was a holiday from work so I had a longer practice session. Nothing super stellar or anything, though I felt like I had a pretty good Ming Line practice this morning.

The trip did interfere more with Tai Chi, though. Though I would seem to be starting to go through Damo’s videos; I’ve started them before and given up, and while I’m not going to take them super seriously this time either, I do want to get some push hand ideas from them and I figure I might as well at least watch the other ones. I did the second video last Tuesday and it went better than it did the last time I watched it, at least; I went through that exercise once on the trip and I did Tai Chi Wu Ji a few times. And I went through some weapon forms yesterday, trying to get the Guan Dao and Spear forms in my memory and to learn the start of the Staff form.

I feel like my lower back positioning isn’t quite right while I’m standing, that I’m bowing it too far forward. I don’t think I want my spine to be completely straight, but still, that doesn’t feel right, I should work on that.

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Nei Gong Notes, June 13, 2023

Jun 13 2023

Pretty normal week. Sadly, normal in terms of my energy level being pretty bad; not sure how much is sleep being off (which hasn’t been awful but also hasn’t been great) and how much is something else. I think I should switch back to doing the Hui Chuns twice a week instead of once a week, hopefully that will help; and I hope that my TCM doctor is right about my kidney stuff being closed to being fixed (and I hope that that will actually work), and maybe doing a bit more liver work to get the sleep stuff back down to a good level? And at some point over the next few months I’m going to stop that treatment, it’s had enough time to do what it can…

Also on a health note, my stomach was acting oddly tight a couple of times last week. I wonder if I’m getting more sensitive to some kinds of food? (Along the more desserty lines…) Not sure; it didn’t help with sleep, either. (But I’ve been better about quantities of what I eat over the last couple of days and sleep has been better.)

I finished teaching my Silk Reeling course; glad to have done that. At some point I should get back to finishing the notes that I started writing about that; and I should think about whether / when to offer it again.

We had Sunday Tai Chi this week, and we started the staff; hopefully I’ll learn it better this time. I did a decent amount of Tai Chi practice last week; I at least went through everything once. I’m going to be out of town most of this week, so I won’t expect to get as much done, but that’s fine.

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Nei Gong Notes, June 6, 2023

Jun 06 2023

A good week: no particularly long practice sessions, but interesting things happened in a few areas.

I started reading Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha by Daniel Ingram, and one of the things that he emphasized at the start was developing your concentration to the level of “access concentration”. I’d been thinking that I actually wasn’t concentrating enough during my Nei Gong; I’d been doing an okay job of working on physical things, and I’d been getting results from that, but I’d also been letting my mind wander around too much as part of a result. (It hasn’t helped that there’s now interesting stuff happening all over the inside of my body, so my mind has even more stuff than before to be distracted by!) So I should get back to working on concentration: not changing the set of exercises I go through, but just figuring out where I want my mind to be during a given exercise and then nudging it back there when it goes somewhere else.

I had a good arm stretching session on Wednesday; not as much going on as during in-person workshops with Rick, but I should definitely keep that up. (Maybe 15 minutes one day a week as a default for now?) And I’m also noticing my arms stretching more while I’m doing Wu Ji; I think I’m not particularly trying to actively stretch them, I think it’s mostly from the weight my hands interacting with relatively relaxed parts of my body? My left arm feels like things are a little bit twisted inside, but hopefully this will help get it untwisted; interestingly enough, even though I don’t feel the stretch as strongly on my right arm, I felt a noticeable bit of cold in my right shoulder during one of my Wu Ji sessions this week. I’d heard people talk about that as one possible symptom when things are purging (e.g. during Dao Yins) but I’d never experienced it myself; quite noticeable. So I think that my arms are going in good directions; it would be nice if I could get the same to happen with my legs and Kua, but getting a stretch from gravity or by sticking them out doesn’t work the same way with that part of my body…

Pretty good Advanced Dantian Gong session yesterday; I spent all morning feeling little bits of energy, especially in my spine. At first I was hoping that it meant that I’d gotten enough sleep the previous night and done enough to work on my energy levels that I was actually having an actively good day in that regard but nope, I got noticeably sleepy in the afternoon, so I think it was just the energy that I’d gathered in my Dantian showing up in my spine. Still, not a bad thing, I think. I would like to make more progress on the Microcosmic Orbit prep, though; I think Advanced Dantian Gong is doing reasonably well but the Bellows Breathing and Ming Line exercises aren’t being quite as strong as I’d like, so I should probably stick with the current set of exercises for a while longer.

I had my fourth class in the Silk Reeling course I’m teaching on Saturday; continues to go well, one more class left. While going over the Dao, I learned that I’d been doing Three Rings around the Sun in the Lao Jia Dao form a bit wrong: your right hand should be angled down and your left hand should be angled up in the bit after each ring, instead of being horizontal. (The ring itself is a horizontal chop, though.)

I did go through all of the Tai Chi forms I know at least once over the last week, so that’s good. I’ve really started to forget the spear form, so I’ll need to spend time getting back to that, though. And there are some other ones I should do more than once. So: a good start, but there’s more that I need to sort out in my practice time.

I did some extra push hands practice on Sunday. And it’s getting me to articulate two things that I think might be true and, if so, might be worth me working on. The first is when you’re being pushed on in the single hand practice: my theory there is that you should basically act like a beach ball floating on water, with somebody pushing you from above. (In the water case, from the side in the Tai Chi case!) So if the person pushes straight down, then the ball will go down, but otherwise the ball spins to the side. In the Tai Chi analogy, your back leg and back Kua are the water, and you’re the beach ball; so you start by doing Peng and inflating, then let yourself get pushed a bit and sink into your Kua, then turn if necessary so they’re pushing a little off center (to your right from your point of view), and then just let yourself rotate. Which means that I don’t actually do much of an active Lu: I’m active enough to turn, but once I’ve turned, I’m not actively guiding my opponent? I should ask my teacher if that makes sense, but basically I end up just doing Peng when receiving and Ji when pushing. (And I’m paying attention now when pushing to see how much my opponent just turns in response to my push and how much they actively guide me.)

So that’s one thing I want to work on. And the other thing is just giving and receiving force. I’m sinking into my rear Kua; and I think I’m supposed to be building a ground path, so I should be directing energy down my leg from my Kua into my foot and the ground. And I think I’m storing energy while doing that; so I want to figure out how to release that energy (as opposed to actively push, just let my leg expand from release) when turning that into the push.

I still don’t think I have enough time to watch all of Damo’s Tai Chi videos (though maybe I have enough time to watch them, just not to work through them), but maybe I should just watch his push hands ones? I’d avoided that because he introduces specific exercises that I won’t be able to put into practice, and because I figured the stuff in there builds on things that he talks about in, for example, the videos going through the form he’s teaching; but still, I think I need more Push Hands guidance, and my regular teacher only teaches it very sporadically.

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Nei Gong Notes, May 30, 2023

May 30 2023

Okay Nei Gong this week. I did a decent practice on Wednesday and Friday, but nothing special; I think I’m going to switch Spinal Dao Yin to every other week instead of every week, because it’s been a while since I’ve felt that I got a lot out of that. The reason why they were only decent practices was that I was tired, which was because my sleep hadn’t been great; not awful, but also worse than it had been a month back? Which made me unhappy, and made me wonder if my hypothesis about food was wrong or if I needed liver medicine from my TCM doctor; but I realized that my head was tingling in a familiar way, and I might be able to do something about that.

So I did a fifteen minute session of Wood Wu Xing; my head felt a little better after that, and I slept okay overnight. And I did that again on Monday, and again I slept okay, maybe even slightly better. I did it one more time today; after that, I think I’ll probably take a break from that for a few days, but start doing Wood Wu Xing once a week?

Sleeping okay means something like waking up briefly once in the middle of the night and then waking up a little earlier before the alarm. I think the Wood practice should help with the middle of the night stuff, but I don’t particularly expect it to help with the waking up early. That’s actually a new phenomenon: I used to do it occasionally but now I do it almost every day. (Sometimes, like this morning, just a little bit before the alarm, but sometimes most of an hour early, which isn’t so great.) When I mentioned it to my TCM doctor, he said that maybe the Kidney improvements that he’d been seeing it meant that I didn’t need as much sleep; which would be fine, except that I feel like I could use the sleep!

When I talked about food timing stuff with Rick, he thought that I was getting more in tuned with natural rhythms; maybe that’s going on here too? If so, honestly, I’m not sure that that’s great: I definitely want to go to bed at the same time as Liesl, and I don’t want to ask her to go to bed super early. I guess for now I’ll try to be disciplined about when I turn off the light and try to go to sleep at night, and then read in the morning after I wake up; that seems workable.

I’d been having questions about one part of one of the Dragons, so I watched the relevant video, and then I noticed the Sinking the Qi video in that same series; following along with that video, my body responds to those movements a lot more now than it did when I first moved it. So I should keep that in mind when I’m going through the dragons, relaxing my body and let it respond more. And it’s probably time for me to rewatch all the videos: there are probably subtle points that I’ve forgotten or didn’t pick up at all in the first place.

Also in terms of getting things wrong, on the Tai Chi side of things we’re going through the Lao Jia Dao on Saturdays. And I’d been doing Embrace the Wind and Roll to the Close wrong: I’m supposed to sort of let the Dao slide down my right arm, and then when rolling to the close, I should end up partly turned to the right, with my weight on the right foot, and my left hand (I think) holding my right wrist. I’d actually had an idea that I might be doing something wrong, because I’d thought it was a two-part action but the way I’d been doing it recently on my own wasn’t clearly divided into two parts; now I know why!

My Silk Reeling course went pretty well last Saturday: we broke down the process of shifting weight from one side to the other. Two weeks left; next Saturday’s topic will be paying attention to your Dantian.

And my tiredness meant that I didn’t have the energy to do more than a minimal amount of Tai Chi on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday last week. (Pretty sure I skipped at least one of those days entirely, and I think I just went through the Guan Dao once on the other days.) Yesterday was a holiday, though, and I was more awake, so I went through the first and second forms once, and the Dao and the Guan Dao, working some on bits of those last two; and I also spent a few minutes going through a moving Ma Bu exercise from Damo. So that’s closer to what I want to be doing, we’ll see if I can keep it up and go through all the forms I know at least once this week.

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Nei Gong Notes, May 23, 2023

May 23 2023

Not a ton to say about Nei Gong this week. The most interesting that happened was on Thursday: I was doing a Wu Ji session, and I decided to work on making sure my feet felt properly pressured (and that that pressure made it up my legs), and I did it particularly well, because I pretty quickly felt pressurized / inflated all over my body, and my insides just kept on stretching out. So that was neat; the downside was that it was effective enough that I think I stretched my neck in a way that affected my sleep, and I didn’t think to take ibuprofen that night; whoops.

(In general, sleep this week has actually been pretty bad. I think it’s neck strain plus overeating a few days plus drinking coffee once in the afternoon, so hopefully I’ll be able to get back to decent-to-good sleep soon, possibly even tonight? But we’ll see, I don’t want to fall back into the decent-to-bad range. At least it hasn’t been horrible: I’ve been waking up more times than I would like but I haven’t been staying awake.)

In terms of Tai Chi, I had the second lesson in my Silk Reeling Course. This time only three people showed up at the start, instead of 5, but more people showed up halfway through, so we actually had 9 at the end, which was pretty cool. Hopefully those people will come back next week and will actually show up on time; but even if it goes back down closer to the 5 person range, that’s totally fine, as long as there’s a handful of people who seem to find it useful, that’s great. Anyways, we talked about sinking into the Kua, plus a little bit about the Waist Turning exercise; that latter one is both a useful exercise that people frequently get wrong and a good prep for next week’s topic of opening and closing the Kua.

We had Sunday Tai Chi this week; we finished off the Guan Dao form, hopefully I’m okay with it now, at least okay enough to be able to solidify it? Some notes for future reference: when offering the teacup, the curve of the blade points left. When doing the spin at the end, go to the right; you sweep down and up, make sure to clear the bottom of the Dao past your legs. Then when presenting the Dao next, the curve of the Dao is up.

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Nei Gong Notes, May 16, 2023

May 16 2023

Good week. I won’t say that I did a fabulous amount of Nei Gong, but I did enough; and while the Earth Hui Chun wasn’t maybe quite as interesting as the previous week, my solar plexus did feel decently active this week as well? And I had a pretty good session of Advanced Dantian Gong this week, too. So hopefully those are both signs that my body is building in an interesting way?

In terms of Tai Chi, the main thing that happened was my first Silk Reeling class. And it went quite well, I was pleased. Five people showed up, which was a good sized crowd, and they seemed genuinely interested. And the one bit that I was worried about went well: my theme for the first week was feeling what’s going on inside your body, and I had them go through one particular exercise and then talk about what they noticed in different parts of their body, and they had stuff to say. So that’s a good start.

I can’t say that I did much Tai Chi during the week, but I did at least do a run through the Guan Dao form a few times. And now it’s in a state where I’m decently solid on the basic moves for the first 80% or 90% of the form, and I have an idea of what’s going on in the last part; I’ll try to get that last bit more solid this week, but I think I’m in good shape going into the monthly class this Sunday.

The one downside is that my sleep hasn’t been great. It hasn’t been awful, but I’ve woken up three times on a bunch of nights. I’m not sure if I ate too much or if it’s because of the specifics of what I ate (I can think of reasons for both of those) or if it’s not food-related; hopefully it will get better soon. Though, honestly, I’m not sure if my dinner tonight was the best on that front either…

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