Monday, August 6, 2012

Learning From Myself: Journal Notes #103

Notes from my June 2012 Zhan Zhuang Training Journal. I train with The School of Cultivation and Practice which practices Wujifa zhan zhuang. (My current reflections are added in italics.)

* My journal entry of June 19 says: I haven't practiced zhan zhuang since April 3rd. I've only been doing some of the Wujifa adjunctive exercises and my Tai-chi form. However, I think I've hit a turning point with this intestinal problem recently. My body seems to be transitioning back to what was normal for me.

* My daily practice log shows 10-20 minutes zhan zhuang practice every other or every third day through June. Sometimes in the morning. Sometimes in the evening. Nothing consistent. Previously, I was trying to keep a practice log at the recommendation of my instructor but I didn't really have my heart into it. Something has changed recently. Now I want to write something in my personal practice log every day.

* Even though I went to Wujifa class as usual throughout June, I was not really interested in attending nor did I take any notes.

* I spent some time reviewing some of my old blog postings. I am amazed at what I've written! Re-reading my older postings has given me some insights. I feel like I've got a clearer understanding of what I want and need to do.
(Learning from myself in this way is new territory for me...)

* Questions that came up for me during one of my mini- practice sessions this month:
  1. How can I shift my spirit? How can I get into a new "space" and not slip back into the mood I was in for the past few months?
  2. How can I change my view to see the process instead of the points in the process; how to develop a process view instead of a thing view?

* When practicing the rubber band exercise one day, I noticed a kind of fullness feeling on the inhale which extends into my arms and then which recedes on the exhale.

* I went for a massage therapy session. When I asked the therapist to tell me what he was noticing and feeling, he said noticed that my spinus erectus is not abnormally tight but the underlying muscles are tight. As he worked my hips and thighs, he noticed that my psoas is tight which he says is likely pulling on L1-L2 which is accounts for the tightness of the underlying muscles of my spine: tightening against the tension of the psoas. He also noted the quads in my left leg are "bunched" near the top of the leg.
(From his reporting, I got a much clearer understanding of the kinetic chain. The issue it seems is not just that one muscle is tight, or that an emotional trauma may tense one or a group of muscles, though, this may be true. What I understand now is that the tension of one muscle can cause another muscle to tense in reaction, and another, etc.. in a chain-like fashion. This kind of pattern of chronic tension can lead to fascial adhesions which "glues" these muscle fibers in place reducing the plasticity or "sung" of the body.)

Further reading:
Introductory article explaining this "Journal Notes" series: Zhan Zhuang Training Journal
Previous article in this series: Not Practicing: Journal Notes #102
Next article in this series: - Holding To Routines: Journal Notes #104


  1. It's refreshing to read such honesty about your lack of training recently. Unless one is honest with themselves they simply won't notice the path they are on or the missed turns along that route. It's funny how so many people stop making progress and fail to be so honest. I find it interesting how when you read the stories of many a master martial artist it's when they meet adversity that they train even more. Although so many have to pass though some form of what is called "the long dark night of the soul" if you have time I think you might like reading this "Hemingway & the Crack-Up Report."

  2. Recently I had been struggling with practice myself. I'd come home from work mentally exhausted and find that I had a handful to take care of there as well.

    My best intentions had been to practice before going to bed at night and it was a struggle.

    So I changed my mind. Instead of practicing later, I have been getting up an extra hour earlier and practice in the morning, before anything can sneak up on me and lay a claim to my time. No matter how the day turns out, I've already got my practice in.

    A side effect of doing this is I'm more fired up about practicing than I have been in years.

    Make a change; a big one, and see what happens.