Saturday, June 18, 2011

Tian Yan Nei Gong

Tian Yan Nei Gong

I cannot tell you how fortunate I am to be in a city that offers opportunity after opportunity after opportunity. I am also fortunate that the city has a VERY active Association of Women to help put Expats together.

I have done many many activities with the American Woman’s Association (AWA). Today was the first time that I took a class that was centered just on wellness.

I took a Nei Gong class. Nei Gong was started over 11,000 years ago (11,000 years. ONLY in China people) Nei Gong means “internal work”. It helps you work on your “inner self” and your physical self. It is just a little bit like Tai Chi because there are “moves” However, instead of their being 65 moves, there are 15. You are working on your “qi” (energy) in the lower Dan Tien (the energy center below the naval). The Dong Gong is repetitive movements that come from the spine and pelvis using a beautiful series of movements. Nai Gong is based on Taoist movements where Tai Chi is based in martial arts.

Needless to say I cannot do its history justice. I am only hoping I can describe the class well enough for you see the work and beauty behind it.

First of all, it is work. Think of a time you have seen anyone doing Tai Chi. It looks fluid and pretty but not challenging (at least to me). Well, I have a new found respect for the effort being put forth!

We arrived and are immediately “evaluated.” We are seated on the floor with our legs not quite “crossed” and she looks at our flexibility. Some had already been evaluated and were sitting on 3 or 4 pillows (building a pedestal). I only needed one pillow. I am not sure if it was because of my flexibility or because of my lack of muscles that allowed my flexibility. Either way I was very happy NOT to have the largest stack. (This would change soon enough).

After we were settled we were shown our resting crane position. We were shown how to hold our hands a few inches under our navel with our legs in a specific position. Then we were taken through a series of exercise that last two to three minutes each.

I have never done Pilates. I have never done Yoga. This series of stretching and holding poses was very new to me and very new to my body.

There was one exercise where you actually capture your qi in the “air” between your hands as you brought your hands together... Doris said we should be able to feel a tremor and I actually could!

The one that got me the most was the stretch where you are sitting back on your knees, arms flat on the floor and head resting there. “Rumor” has it that if you can fall asleep in this position for ten minutes, it is like the rest of six hours. HOLDING the position for ten minutes was doubtful, let along falling asleep. This is where the revenge of the pillows returned. For me to be able to stretch enough to “sit” on my ankles, I needed THREE pillows! This is where pride gets you... SLAPPED in the face (or the butt). I was able to keep up (yay me) and I do like that there is a “no risk” policy. If it hurts, stop and rest. I could get used to that!

Finally, after the “calisthenics” of it all, we moved to the “fluid” part of the day. We sat on the floor and did a series of movements for 10 minutes. All very fluid, all very beautiful, using our arms and head and neck. I thought I would never be able to remember the sequence, but I soon did.

During the first few minutes what was going through my mind was “really, how long is this going to go on?” I had trouble letting my need to keep “moving on” go. Finally, my mind cleared and I just enjoyed the repetitiveness of the moves. I also liked the feeling that I was doing something well. (Pride returned when the teacher did not correct me).

My “body bugg” did not show me burning hardly any calories. However, I am realizing my need for Core strength is much more important than my need for “data” on said body bugg.

I am hoping this class becomes a regular thing in my life in September. I enjoyed it and I enjoyed the company I was with.

Once again, I am thankful for the people I have met here.

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