I did the two qi gong forms this morning, and the tai chi form three times.  It’s not really enough, but I’ve been sleeping in the day and singing or moving most of the night for the last few days, and I’ve alternated between being between hot-and-sweaty, and cool-and-damp in the woods for most of the last week.  On the one hand it’s not ideal living conditions, and on the other it bears a great deal of similarity wit the experiences of ancestors for thousands of years.  (For what it’s worth, I was at SpiritFire Festival, for the eleventh time in thirteen years… Maybe you’ll come next year?)

Today’s tai chi was stiff.    I’d put my foot down, and the rigidity of my leg would unbalance me, and I’d have to catch myself from stumbling.  You know— it’s almost like I didn’t do tai chi at all the last five days.  I noticed that I wasn’t up to par, and I’m fairly sure the whole neighborhood would have noticed if they’d been home or awake.  Gordon points out that there’s something bizarre about the nötropic-popping, gym-rat, gluten-free mentality of some of our current alleged masters of the universe; and I encountered some of that this weekend from a friend and brother who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to brain food… but I definitely know that five days away from my very deliberately-upped practices is capable of robbing me of a good deal of my suppleness and composure.  There were many positive aspects of attending this gathering — but continued flexibility and grace and ease were not among them.

One of the interesting things that happened is that my left leg developed an interesting problem, solved by a wonderful massage therapist named Ron.  The day I arrived on site, I experienced a sudden tension in my left leg, extending from the left side of the knee up and across the top of the thigh to the inside/right side of the left leg, almost in the groin.  Ron saw me walking through the merchant’s area, and said, “your shoulders are out of alignment.  I never do this, but you’ve clearly sustained an injury in the last few days—and I’d like to fix it.”  I told him yes, and he put his hands on my shoulders. Puzzlement spread across his face, and he asked for permission to check my lower back.  And his puzzlement grew as he found no trouble there, either. I said, “I think you’ll find the trouble is in my left leg, and in my psoas muscle on the left side, or possibly in the adductor longus.”  His bewilderment grew, but he got me on his table, and found that it was so.  He said, “What appears to have happened is that the fascia, the smooth coating between the muscles, has gone granular, forming knots and locking muscles together in order to form a single massed body of muscles. It often happens in order to prevent injury, when the body notices awkward or difficult conditions of some kind.”

Difficult conditions indeed.  We spend a lot of time at this gathering walking in circles, with the left leg on the outside, and I’ve found in the past that this festival puts a great deal of stress on my left leg.  Interesting that my body decided to lock up my left leg before the festival even really began.  Ron was able to put things right, though, on Friday, and my Saturday and Sunday went much more smoothly as a result.

All the same, I’m looking forward to rebuilding my practice back up to 8 iterations of the form over the next few days, and building up flexibility and strength after these days away.