Nei Gong Notes, September 14, 2021

Sep 14 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

Bad week for sleep, so I didn’t manage any long Nei Gong sessions. Though I did at least manage a decent variety of practice: going through all of Dantian Gong and all of Ji Ben Qi Gong over the course of the week.

This week’s lesson in Damo’s course was actually a theoretical one, around how the mind perceives objects. Interesting; I’ll probably want to listen to it another time or two before I get it? And, honestly, I appreciate not having a new routine to go through this last week, I already have quite a few of those.

In general my body’s feeling good. Muscles and sinews are feeling particularly integrated when I do silk reeling; and I’m having occasional urges to do snippets of Tai Chi moves when I’m walking around, and I feel connection in my Dantian when I do. So connections are being built; I still don’t really feel Tai Chi power coming out of my Dantian, but at least the connections are there.

My back was actually a little off this week; not sure if that was related to the sleep issues or if I’d overstressed it or something? Not awful, though, just surprising; it felt like I hadn’t done enough Silk Reeling, except that I had.

Also, I’ve had a couple of times recently when food that I normally like is feeling a little bit much, a little too flashy? Not sure what’s going on there: maybe I’ve just been eating the same things too often and gotten tired of them, maybe my stomach is starting to have different opinions about what I should eat. Which Damo talks about some in the course; honestly, I hope it’s not that, I like what I’ve been eating? But as long as it doesn’t go too far in the “eat plain food” direction, I’ll be okay.

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Nei Gong Notes, September 7, 2021

Sep 07 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

This week’s lesson in Damo’s course was the same as the previous week, just with the second and third Ji Ben exercises. Which was also pretty interesting; at first it seemed maybe a little disappointing, I didn’t feel like I was compressing as much, but then I realized that something interesting was happening in my armpits. At first, the only thing I noticed was, that in the Wu Ji after doing the second exercise, my arms were floating noticeably higher than normal for two or three minutes; but then the third exercise started feeling odd as I lifted my arms, and then, a day or two later, I started feeling like there was kind of a ball of air in my armpits. Which I’ve heard is an expected sort of thing if I do enough Qi Gong, I guess this is what pushed me over the edge? And in general the joints in my arms are feeling a little more spacious.

Also, over the weekend, I noticed that I was sweating a surprising amount while doing this exercise; Damo had said in the previous lesson that that would happen, but I hadn’t noticed it happening then, but it’s happening now. And the other surprising thing about this exercise is how fast it feels: at the intervals I’m doing, the second and third exercise together take 27 minutes, but the time goes by amazingly quickly once I get started.

As predicted last week, I didn’t get my normal extra practice done last Wednesday, but I was back to normal after that day, and I got in a good two-hour session on Friday. This Wednesday will be a little busy, but Monday was a holiday, so I was hoping to get in a large practice that day as well; unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way, so while I got more done than on a work day, I didn’t do as much practice as I had on Friday.

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Nei Gong Notes, August 31, 2021

Aug 31 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

I finally restarted the regular Nei Gong program last week. Pretty interesting session: it was on mobilizing the Qi using Compressing the Pearl. So you do the exercise some normally, then some compressing down with your Lao Gong stretched and then actively pulling Qi up on the way up, and then some with the active compression but just opening on the way up and letting the rebound of the compressed Qi help you up. And, after doing it for a couple of days, that got pretty surprising: on the third part, it literally felt that my arms were moving without any effort on my side when going up. I don’t know that I’m actively feeling Qi moving (though I do feel an active compression on the way down), but whatever the effect, it was pretty distinctive.

And I had quite good practices on Wednesday and Friday morning; as I mentioned last week, I decided to experiment with eating first, and then I was a little tired / unmotivated, so I goofed off for a while. At first, I was feeling annoyed with myself, but when I finally got going at 11am, I realized that I actually was feeling a lot less tired than I had been, and I got in two solid hours of practice after that on Wednesday. Friday wasn’t quite as good, more like an hour and a half, but still, a pretty solid practice. I didn’t get as strong an effect in my Dantian as I had sometimes a few months back, but still, good to be back in practice.

On Saturday morning, I had a quite good Ting exercise practice; and it felt like the effects of that carried on into Tai Chi class that afternoon, I was feeling stuff inside me more strongly than normal.

Also, this week, I felt like I was paying attention to things inside the body more at random times during the day, which seems like a good evolution. And I think I was maybe getting better at sinking my tailbone when I was practicing?

So, a good week. Though I think this week is going to be a lot worse: I’m feeling stressed because of some home maintenance problems. I’m getting things in motion to hopefully begin resolving it, but I think it’ll be a while…

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Nei Gong Notes, August 24, 2021

Aug 24 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

Pretty good week? I practiced well over lunch on the three work days; I didn’t do a ton of practice on my days off, but some, and in general things feel pretty good. (And the days off were productive in non-Nei Gong ways, that’s important too!) And my skin is feeling pretty strongly connected, I’m getting a kind of visceral understanding of the “wetsuit” concept that Damo talks about.

I missed two weeks of Tai Chi, but I mentioned that to my teacher, and he just did review this past Saturday in the Xinjia portion. He actually went over stuff from right before I went away, so hopefully he’ll review the next bit this weekend, because it seemed like the class had done Part the Wild Horse’s Mane, which I mostly know but not completely.

As mentioned last time, I ended up not restarting the regular Nei Gong course last week, but one of the things I took care of was getting my internet fixed (my cable modem went bad, it turned out), so I can do that after I finish writing this.

Speaking of weekday practice, I’d been trying to practice Nei Gong after taking a shower on my days off, before eating breakfast, because I’m often a little sleepier after eating. But, honestly, that hasn’t been great, for a few reasons. One is that sometimes I’m hungry enough to feel a little weak / distracted, which is a downside. Another is that I’m not doing a great job of practicing immediately instead of goofing off and reading or something for a bit; I can work on that, but still, not the best idea? And the third is that I miss going to Maison Alyzée and getting a baguette for breakfast: I used to do that back when I was working from home, but now that I’m going into the office, I can’t do that. So I think I’m going to experiment with going for a walk, grabbing a baguette, and having a light breakfast before doing my morning Nei Gong; hopefully that will work out well enough, at least not reducing my amount of Nei Gong practice?

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Nei Gong Notes, August 18, 2021

Aug 18 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

No post last week: I was out of town (mostly on vacation) for the last two weeks, and I didn’t feel like writing up a post in the middle of vacation. Especially since I wasn’t doing quite as much Nei Gong / Tai Chi as normal, so I figured I didn’t have so much to talk about.

I did practice most days; not as much as normal, no Tai Chi weapons forms, and no long practice sessions, but hopefully enough to not backslide too much? The one unusual thing I did was walk past a church, notice that it had a labyrinth outside, and then spend maybe 35 minutes slowly walking in and back out of that.

Maybe because of that, one thing I’m wondering about now is whether I’m sinking appropriately when walking. There’s this tension between keeping my head up and hence my spine extended, while still having my pelvis sink; I feel like these days maybe I’m having the upward stretch affect my legs too much? Something to work on.

Because of plane problems, I missed two Tai Chi Saturday classes instead of just one; hopefully that won’t mess up my plans to learn the Xin Jia first form too much. And because of internet problems, I didn’t write this post yesterday and I didn’t start back up on the regular Nei Gong class (which I was planning to do now that I’ve finished the Dragons) videos yesterday, either; and I’m tired enough today that I’m not going to do the Nei Gong video today either, I’ll just wait until next week to start. Though I did get good lunchtime practice on Monday and Tuesday, going through the full Dantian Gong over the course of those two days; because of Delta, the office is almost empty, so I don’t have any hopes of finding people to play board games with over lunch, which is good for my Nei Gong at least.

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Nei Gong Notes, August 3, 2021

Aug 03 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

Done with the Dragons, yay. Definitely glad that I did that; even setting aside potential energetic benefits, it’s definitely been opening up my back, I feel stuff moving around in there. And I do think there’s something going on energetically in my spine, too; I’m finding myself just spending more time in the standing parts of the exercise, because I feel these little unexpected sensations continuing to pop up. This is something that the Lotus Nei Gong folks talk about: it’s okay to do Wu Ji for longer than normal after another exercise if you feel stuff moving around in response to that exercise! But I think I’ve literally never felt that before: not that I don’t feel stuff in Wu Ji, it’s just not in response to an exercise. But Wu Ji (or actually the main standing exercise here is a different one, with your feet close together, I think it’s called Taiyi standing?) definitely has a different feel after you’ve been twisting and opening up your spine.

I still need to get back into longer practice sessions; kind of doing the minimum too many days. Though this week and next week won’t be the times for that, since we’re visiting relatives this week and I’ll be in Ohio next week. And once I get back from that, I’ll get started on arranging for having the carpets removed in our bedroom, hopefully that will give me noticeably more energy.

The one other new thing I’ve done a couple of times now is this version of a walking exercise where you’re paying attention to your environment; I’ve been doing it after my allergy appointments, since they’re on the Stanford campus in a place right next to some forested bits, so I can just wander over there. Nothing particular to report on that yet; and maybe it’s not the best idea to do Nei Gong right after an allergy shot…

In Tai Chi, I’m focusing on learning the second half of the Xin Jia first form; I think I now basically know what’s going on from the first Gao Tan Ma through the Forward / Backward Trick? So that’s progress; hopefully I’ll be able to continue that progress through the end of the form. I’ll be out this week, which is too bad but I think I’m pretty close on Part the Wild Horse’s Mane: I basically know what to do there, there’s just some details I need to memorize. So if they do that this week, I should still be able to catch up okay.

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Nei Gong Notes, July 27, 2021

Jul 27 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

My parents were in town for several days last week, so I didn’t do as much Nei Gong as normal, and I didn’t watch the review video for the fourth dragon last week, just the third dragon. I’m most of the way through the book, too; a few differences from the videos, but the videos are later, so I’ll stick with that. And it talks about the pause at the end of the third closing down as something to vent energy, which is interesting and does gel with what the videos were saying about putting your attention beneath your hands, so I’ve been trying that. So I’ll review the fourth dragon video tonight and finish the book this week; I’ll be out the next two weeks, I’ll restart the Nei Gong class after that.

One day, when practicing the Swimming Dragon, when I got to the part where you’re letting your torso hang to stretch your back, I felt something kind of give in my back. At first, I was worried that that meant that I’d strained something, but my back felt fie after that, so now I’m optimistic that it was a good sign, that my lower back might be getting a little unfused? I continue to be impressed how that exercise (at least in the context of the whole sequence) is surprisingly effective at giving a pull on my lower back, clearly I should keep on spending time in that part of the sequence.

Practice in general went pretty well, though, I did a decent amount of Dantian Gong in particular.

In terms of Tai Chi, we’re getting to the part of the Xinjia first form that I don’t know so well. So I’m goin to work at learning those; a pity that I’ll have to skip one week of class soon, but there’s not much that I can do about that.

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Nei Gong Notes, July 20, 2021

Jul 20 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

At first I was thinking this week wasn’t going very well for Nei Gong – I had to work on Wednesday, my practice on Friday morning wasn’t as good as normal. And, thinking about it, in general there have been way too many days where I do 25 minutes of sitting in the morning and then go through the Dragons in the late afternoon; that’s not nothing, but it’s also worse than I’d been doing on days when I’d been working at home regularly. And, when I start going back through the Nei Gong course, it’ll be hard to find time to regularly practice new stuff; of course, I won’t have to practice the Dragons every day then because the Dragons won’t be the new thing that I’m learning, but still.

So I should practice over lunch at work more reliably; but I’m also thinking that, on days off, I should practice a second time in the morning? (Or maybe in the early afternoon, right before lunch.) If I were doing two two hour practices, then one in the morning and one in the afternoon would make sense; but, in practice, I’m always too tired in the afternoon to do a second long practice. So I should figure out if I’m more awake before lunch and, if so, practice then.

Though, having said that, yesterday and today went well. Yesterday I was feeling pretty tired, but I had free time over lunch, and I figured I had the energy to do some Ji Ben Qi Gong; and, actually, I felt a little more awake the rest of the day? Probably coincidence rather than the Qi Gong helping, but still, I wouldn’t complain. And today I was feeling awake all day, and I got in a good Dantian Gong session over lunch, yay.

On Saturday, I asked my Tai Chi teacher about the first Jin Gang; it turns out that, after hooking your opponent with your leg, you should continue turning even further to your right after lowering your leg. (But you should face forward the whole time, because that’s where your opponent mostly is.)

I’m done with the review videos for the first two Dragons; a few things I needed to correct from the first one, though I had the second one basically correct. I’ll do the third one tonight; probably the fourth one on Thursday, though I’m not completely sure since my parents are in town. And then I guess I’ll start back on the Nei Gong course? Though I might wait a bit, since I’ll be on vacation the week after next. Also, I’ll read the Dragon book one more time, this time actually paying attention to the description of the forms, to see if I can pick up more pointers.

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Nei Gong Notes, July 13, 2021

Jul 13 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

Pretty good week? I did standing Dantian Gong for the first time in a while, I’m almost done with the Dragons (the only thing left is to watch the four videos at the end reviewing each of the forms), Tai Chi was going well. No huge practice sessions or anything, but in general it was solid.

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Nei Gong Notes, July 6, 2021

Jul 06 2021 Published by under Uncategorized

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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