Rest? Nah, work.

Why do I always get the feeling that if I rest I will never come back to practice.

I spent so much of my twenties resting, it was one of my most refined skills. Always “relaxing” taking it easy, chilling.

Why do I hate it so much now?

Even the thought of it brings up panic inside my chest.

“No, I cant rest. If I was really passionate about my practice I wouldn’t need to rest. I would find fuel inside the practice itself, you might as well just quit if you need to rest.”

At least that’s what keeps repeating inside my head.

Yet another form of negative self talk.

Here I was thinking I had found someway around it, silly fool.

 

Went to a friends wedding last weekend that set forth an unfortunate chain of events that is still emanating through my life as I write this.

As per expected, there was a great party. Filled with dancing, friends and of course, drinking. Lots of drinking.

Now it had been quite some time since I had gone to a party, so in the back of my mind I held caution. Just a little, left there to periodically sample my intoxication level and stand at the ready to raise the alarm.

Unfortunately, that caution is not well trained and while I was able to maintain my composer, I did not, however, limit my consumption of alcohol.

So, the day after drunk town….

It felt like any hangover day…Really shitty.

Did the normal things;

  • Biscuits and gravy
  • Drive Home
  • Lay on couch and watch movies all day feeling generally sorry for myself

What I wasn’t expecting was the day after that.

See, there was something lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce on me the moment my immune system let down its guard, or in this case, was brutally assaulted by expensive bourbon.

That’s right, some sort of virus.

It crashed on me bright and early Monday morning in the form of  a massive sore throat and the energy level of a tranquilized sloth.

So, I decided to “Rest”.

I stayed home from work and let the Tai Chi studio know I was taking some down time to recover.

Ha, down time.

So, instead of just sleeping, I pulled out my work laptop and logged in to the work network to get some work done as I laid there….

Sounds like the perfect relaxing way to recover from sickness right??

As you can imagine, right along side that work came ALL the stress.

All the work stress and NONE of the distractions. Just me, in my cave, sick and hyper focused on work.

I worked more hours that day than I would have if I had gone to work… and it was the same the NEXT TWO days!

That is how I “Recover”.

I drop all the self care and pull my work blankets up over my head.

Well.. at least that’s how I thought I needed to…

Now I find myself STILL sick, a week later.

Still feel like a sloth, but at least several hours after being tranquilized instead of freshly shot up.

I got fed up and did some tai chi this morning, the first all week, and it felt great.

My head is foggy, and I have this weird popping in my ears… but off I still go to work…

I think perhaps my priorities are backwards.

sloth

 

 

 

All About the Form

The knees are a talking.

Last couple weeks I have been noticing some aches and pains in the knees. More acutely in the right knee, but the left has been creating a bit of a racket as well.

For the last couple weeks I have been trying not to hold back during my practice. Allowing myself to get much deeper when sinking and really pushing the horse stances making sure I am going all the way down.

This has really brought to light the fact that I am just plain moving wrong.

After analyzing my form as I practice, the first thing I noticed was that I am allowing my knees to go past my toes in those deeper stances, a very common mistake while doing squats.

In order to correct that, I have to push my butt back farther and keep my weight directly over the center of my foot. In doing this it,  it also points out my ankles are still fairly inflexible, so pushing back strains the ligaments/tendons a lot. Need to stretch more 🙂

That I can work on, but keeping my weight over my foot immediately relieves the pressure that was on my knee and keeps the aches from happening during the movement.

The second thing is that I have been rotating my knees out FROM the knees in my stances. I was told that my knees tend to collapse while doing the form, which is dangerous and can cause injury. So I have been trying to correct it, but was doing it improperly.

I was putting my mental intention on the knees and forcing them outward from the joints, this is completely wrong and extremely dangerous. Now that I am aware of it I can feel the difference, but what I should be doing is rotating my thighs out FROM the hips, or open the kua. This may be hard to visualize, but the more I experiment with different points of movement, the more I realize that where I THINK I am moving directly affects where my body actually moves.

Now that I have recognized these bad habits I need to work on fixing them. Unfortunately, I have already gotten to the point where my knees hurt. So I will have to allow them to recover first.

Going to spend the next several weeks letting them rest. When the pain eases off I will do a couple of test movements just to see how they feel and that will be my gauge for when to commence some of the harder movements.

Until then, much easier workouts. Not as deep in the stances and paying close attention to the subtle weight shifts in the movement itself. Listening to how it feels in a less extreme pose will make the deeper ones later on a little easier when it’s time to shift. But overall, the key during this recovery is NO PAIN!

Practice overview!!

Been a couple days since I have posted. It’s been pretty busy over here!

Saturdays Practice

  • 1.5 hours dynamic qigong
  • 1.5 hours form practice\analysis
  • 2 hours push-hands

Sunday

  • 1.5 hours hunyuan qigong
  • 1.5 hours forms practice

Todays Practice

  • 2 hours 24 form practice
  • 1.5 hours dynamic qigong

I am not a Robot

I think the most frustrating things I have had to deal with lately is the finding out that I have limits.

I have never been a fan of working within constraints, or even acknowledging them.. I have always generally just ignored them so that I could prove they were arbitrary things created by fear of failure, or some other rationalization. To find the constraints that are actually hard wired in to my system\environment and that I have very little control over is rather frustrating.

I know that rest is JUST as important as training. Rest allows the body to absorb the training and gives the mind a much needed break to process things. I guess, since I AM studying tai chi, I should think about it with the idea of yin and yang, one must have a similar amount of the two in order to achieve balance. Too much of one or the other will lead to an unstable structure and will eventually cause the system to fail.

So i guess that is why on an early rainy morning in san francisco I find found myself sleeping in and sitting on the couch writing :). Begrudgingly…. but only a little bit.

It can be difficult to interpret all the signals that are going on in the body\mind. For instance, as I sit here, there are two distinct voices in my head;

Voice 1: “Get up, practice! Dont be a lazy ass, you wont get ANYWHERE if you just sit here. There is too much for you to learn to have a rest day”

Voice 2: “Dude, just chill out. Wednesday and Friday are your rest days.”

But, those are just the aspects in my mind. There is also another level I am learning to listen to  in order to help me make these decisions. I am trying to listen to my body. Right now my body is telling me it is really enjoying time to be settled and relaxing on the couch. Its telling me I have been changing its structure a TON lately and it needs a breather.

Its not just laziness…it’s a feeling deep in my muscles and bones. Its mostly coming from the knees, hips and lower back. They are telling me they definitely need a break. So I am not going to push them. They are the pretty much the most important parts of my body and I should probably ease off them when they start to grumble and creak.

They will be ready to go after a bit of rest and my mind will enjoy wandering a bit and exploring some of the lessons that have been passed on through the week.

So, rest up body. Tomorrow we are going to work on those limits you seem to have.

Todays practice:

  • Nada-damn-thing!

robot

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 70 other followers

Follow The Restless Raven on WordPress.com