DAN TIEN: Physical and Energetic Center
“Give me a point of support and I will move the earth”.
A fundamental part in the training of Luohan Gong is to develop the potentialities of the lower Dan Tien (Field of Elixir). It is the body’s center of gravity, the point where the body braces and anchors itself and an important energetic area. It is situated in the lower abdomen about four inches below the navel. Developing the Dan Tien will benefit our physical, mental and spiritual health.
The lower Dan Tien is considered the body´s center of gravity and also the point where the body naturally braces itself when executing an effort (Lifting or pushing a heavy load, the Kung Fu strike or the tennis serve). As the glottis comes down, a closed area is created in the abdomen where the arms and legs, and the whole body for that matter, anchors itself to move. It is the center of the pulley so to speak.
The Dan Tien is around the Acupuncture point Qi Hai (Sea of Qi) of the Ren Channel and as both name imply, it is a place abundant with energy; the body’s power house, its storage plant.
The Dan Tien is often described as a pressure cooker. When the cooker reaches a high degree of heat, the vapor escapes through its valve. Much the same way, when through regular and intense training the Dan Tien fills with energy, it is directed up through the spine chord to higher centers in it.
The lower Dan Tien is related to one of the Three Treasures, ‘Jing’ or Essence. Working with the lower Dan Tien will nourish it.
In the west we are usually taught to stick our chest out and pull our stomach in, and in our collective image of beauty stands a man or woman with a small waist and expanded chest. The Chinese consider this “top heavy”, tense and unbalanced, just like an inverted pyramid with the base at the top. This of course does not mean that we should favor a weak and voluminous belly which will definitely harm our back, but it does bring our attention to the importance of allowing the lower abdomen play a more important role in the body´s dynamic. As we relax the face, neck, shoulders and chest and let the weight drop down, we liberate our heads and hearts of worries and anxieties and our necks and upper back of tension and pain.
Dropping the weight to the lower Dan Tien brings with it a less mental approach in life and a more gutty and gutsy attitude. Our whole being will enter into a more courageous outlook in life a wider personal dimension and higher spiritual consciousness.