My morning practice today consisted of waking 15 minutes later than usual without benefit of alarm clock. The thing didn’t go off because I didn’t set it. I fell asleep so rapidly last night because I have been prepping for the art show, that I couldn’t manage it.
Yesterday was supposed to be a small gathering for some folks I do Druidic work with. Didn’t happen. Nobody was able to come at the last minute. So I did the work privately, and went to bed after some work on some paintings. And then crashed into sleep.
This morning: Druidry, thirty push-ups (pretty difficult today), thirty squats (no problem), Eight Pieces of Silk, one tai chi form. It has to be enough for today given how late the morning started. But more to the point, it has always been enough. Every day, one tai chi form has always been enough. Anything beyond that is a bonus.
The last few days, following on my discussion of the subtle bodies, I’ve been trying to use the internal breathwork. As I hinted, I’ve really been working on the belt channel with this breathwork. We in the west to relax the belly on the intake breath, and tighten it on the outgas breath. But n tai chi, the energizing of the belt channel in the subtle body’s chi flow appears to depend on changing the flow of breath.
I used to feel the flow of chi in my body far more clearly than I do now. But I felt it in my fingers and toes, in my extremities. It took me along time to understand that I was feeling the expansion of my circulation, of my nervous system awareness, into parts of the body that I had hitherto not ruled well, where my circulation was poor, or where blood and life flowed sluggishly.
But these last few days, I have felt energy flowing in my core. That is, I have the pleasant tingling sensation in my core body, my belly, my hips, instead of in my hands and feet (where I have not experienced chi sense in a good long while).. The only part of my practice that has changed significantly is the change to a tightening of the abdomen on an intake breath.
In other words, the breathwork has brought the experience of chi flow into my core body. I have begun to sense the flow of chi within myself, not in the fingers where I found it as a tai chi beginner, but in my core — and mostly within the band of fat and muscle where a man like me carries his spare tire. The belt channel is coming alive. Nice.
This isn’t the beginning of the end, I think. But it is, as Churchill said, the end of the beginning.