The vital center of our bodies has been the object of study for centuries. Energy connoisseurs dedicated themselves to studying where the main source of vitality resides in our organism, discovering that unlike what many are able to believe, it is not found in the brain or in our heart. In this opportunity we will talk about your center of gravity and energy, the Tan Tien.
But before we begin, please let us become worthy of this knowledge by taking the oath of Mr. Wang which reads as follows:
“I promise not to use what I learn today except for the good of humanity. I promise to pass on my knowledge only to those who make themselves worthy of it by taking the oath”
Tan Tien, Dan Tien, or Dantian translates to “sea of energy”, and also to “Field of the Elixir” ” 丹田“.The ideogram Tian ” 田” represents a field or land for cultivation, and Dan ” 丹” is translated as pill or elixir. This point is an energy center that plays a leading role in various disciplines of Eastern tradition related to external and internal development, particularly in the martial arts, tai chi chuan, yoga and zazen. Historically, the first detailed description of the lower Tan Tien is found in Laozi, 3rd century CE.
One of the verses of this book reads the following phrase: “The breath passes through the interior of the hut and penetrates the Tan Tien”. Elsewhere it can also be read: “The essence Jing and the energy Qui become strong inside the Tan Tien”. Since the 3rd and 4th centuries A.D., we start talking about 3 Dan Tien distributed in the body. It is in the alchemical work of Baopuzi, physician, magician, martial arts artist, intellectual and Taoist where for the first time are mentioned 3 Tan Tien: the lower field elixir, in the abdomen, the middle field elixir below the heart and the upper field elixir, between the eyebrows.
However, in another Taoist text, Laozi Zhonling, it is explained that the Tan Tien is located three inches below the navel and is the root of the human being, where the essence and spirit are collected. Men treasure their part of their essence (semen) and women treasure their menstruation. It presides over birth and is the door where the ying yang harmonizes.
In this space, the confidence, will and courage necessary to live and face challenges is fostered. It is also the center of balance from which movement is generated, the control of this space allows advanced practitioners to develop the necessary postures in the world of martial arts.
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It is the center of transformation and accumulation of energy of the body. This is the place where essence, spirit and energy converge, for it is the place where the healing power of the original Chi energy, prenatal (congenital) energy, or vital energy is stored. From here it flows into the whole body through the meridians. Tan Tien is a fundamental reference point for the practitioners of Tai Chi and Chi Kung, as well as the rest of the oriental psycho physical disciplines, as they are based on sustaining or increasing the energetic and health potential of each body that resides in this area.
There are still different opinions about its exact location on the body, however, most authors agree that it is about three fingers below the navel – 4 to 6 cm – and about 3 cm deep.
The energy generated in the Tan Tien is used not only to help the body in its natural functioning, but also to enhance its capabilities and take it to a next level of resistance to disease, high and low temperatures, increased strength, calm, mental and emotional clarity.
According to Taoism, Tan Tien is the main laboratory and the fundamental center of inner alchemy. The Taoists consider the navel area as the place where external energies can be transformed, stored and received. Therefore, this area is sacred and must be cared for and worked, there must be no congestion or tension so that the energy can circulate in and out without difficulty.
In other Eastern traditions such as Buddhism or Hinduism,is known as Chakra, and although the concept is very similar, varies in the number of existing points (which are considered seven).
In the field of traditional Chinese medicine, Tan Tien is known as “cinnabar field”, and this is very curious as cinnabar is a mineral obtained from mercury and used in the alchemical elaboration of the elixir of immortality. It is a reddish material of the sulfide class which is composed of 85% mercury and 15% Sulfur, its symmetry and optical characteristics make it look very similar to quartz, and it was considered the main material of the philosopher’s stone.
In this sense, it was used by alchemists to create an elixir that theoretically speaking, should assure them immortality, because it allowed to conserve in excellent state the human bones and paintings, as it was granted many magical qualities. However, some time later they were able to verify that the reality is that this compound contained poisonous and destructive properties for health.
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The Tan Tien located in the navel works in conjunction with other energy centers of the body that perform different functions:
Upper Center: This energy center is located between the eyebrows and is related to the transmutation of mental energy and clairvoyance. It is associated with the sky, the brain and consciousness.
The middle center: which is related to the solar-cardiac plexus is linked to the emotional plane. It is considered the center where the acquired chi from the breathed air and ingested food is produced and stored. If it is balanced, the thoughts are clear, creative, conscious and capable of judgment.
The Lower Center: Located below the navel, is considered the most important. It is a center of transformation and accumulation of energy. The energy that travels through the body comes from there.
After conception, the embryo is divided and immediately adhered to the wall of the uterus. The umbilical cord through which the fetus feeds then begins to grow. The point where the umbilical cord is attached to the baby is the navel. When the fetus is still in the mother’s womb, energy enters the navel through the umbilical cord. Then it travels through the left kidney, the right kidney continues, descends to the sexual center and the perineum, up the spine to the head, then down the tongue and back to the navel. It’s a continuous energetic circle.
The fetus feeds on energy through the umbilical cord and removes waste through the navel. After birth, as the child grows, the body continues to send toxins to the umbilical area.
The umbilical center is responsible for balancing all forces, and is the center of physical gravity. Throughout life, the body moves around this center, no matter what position it is in.
Center of gravity
The most skeptical people don’t usually believe the history of the energy center, they could come to think that is an idea that it is not proven. It is true that it does not correspond to any physical structure nor can it be detected by technological devices. However, in a normal standing position it coincides with the center of gravity of the body, and this particular point can be determined by mathematical calculations. The location of the Tan Tien depends on the body proportions of each person.
The Tan Tien represents the center of gravity of the body, i.e. the point where the maximum force of attraction towards the Earth is concentrated. For this reason, it is given such importance in martial arts. Being aware of this point allows you to adapt the posture to remain on the base of support and not be lying down. It also acts positively for the application of maximum intensity to each movement, without losing balance and making the minimum effort.
However, the knowledge of Tan Tien is not just a subject of those who practice martial arts or yoga. Being aware of your existence allows anyone to maintain a position according to your body, which will prevent illness and discomfort later. Correct vertebral alignment is extremely important, and will avoid unnecessary musculoskeletal, physiological and some other neurological or psychological disorders. Keeping your energy center present, and working on it will allow you to keep your body lighter and more energetic.
At Shaanxi University, Professor Li Youfu proved in the late 1980s the surprising fact that during the practice of Qigong, the mechanical movement of the muscle fringe around the abdominal Tan Tien actually works in synchrony with the alpha-registered waves in the electroencephalogram and with the rhythm of the heartbeat, indicating that concentration in the elixir field clearly benefits the cadence of the brain waves.
At present, oriental wisdom is not the only branch interested in this corner of the organism. Western science also gives increasing importance. Today it is known that the nervous system has a “second brain” in the intestine, which is directly related to the control of emotions and the immune system. That’s why when fear, anger or worry are intense, we can decompose. In the medium and long term, health seems to depend largely on what happens at that place of the body.
Work the Tan Tien
Optimizing the energies that are generated in the Tan Tien is not a task that can be done from one moment to the next, it could even be said that the first step is to be aware of it. The processes that allow a greater control of energy are so important that they are part of sacred texts which require the practitioners to take an oath, which states that in no way it is possible to use the information negatively. This is a subject that must be dealt with conscious and honest intentions.
However, there are some requirements to work the Tan Tien, these are some of them:
Open the sacrum. Most humans accumulate tension in the folds of the groin and adnexa, affecting muscles, nerves and the flow of blood and lymph, as well as chi. What must be done to “open” the area is the following: with your feet parallel and separated at shoulder height, knees slightly bent and outward try to move the sacrum back and forth without moving your hips.
Strengthen the perineum: to strengthen the perineum it is recommended to contract and relax the anal sphincter and the urethra, without straining too much, trying to distinguish between all the muscles that are being worked. This is really a task that can be carried out at any time.
Relaxing the diaphragm: All the tension that is concentrated in the diaphragm does nothing more than block chi and may cause chronic anxiety. To release this tension, the person should sit with the back straight and shoulders relaxed, then place the fingertips under the solar plexus and breathe deeply, bringing the air to the abdomen. When exhaling, a little pressure should be applied while leaning forward.
The wise masters who follow Taoism and Buddhism have manifested since ancient times the importance of controlling thoughts and emotions through Tan Tien. A person who has control of this body space will be able to develop physical and mental security. Disconnection causes uncontrollable changes in moods and a propensity to feel all kinds of physical discomfort. Eventually you run the risk of running out of vitality.
Tan Tien practice
While each person can decide for themselves to work on the Tan Tien of their body, to arrive at more advanced results they will need to be guided by a specialist. A master who has experienced in his own body all the different stages of process. Only in this way will you be able to help and enhance your activity.
However, the person determined to work it needs in any situation persistence and equanimity, these will be your main guides along the way. When we talk about equanimity, we refer to maintaining an adequate emotional attitude throughout the process.
This could be a little complicated because tensions of the nerves negatively affect the practice.Therefore, before performing the exercises it will be necessary for the person to reconcile physical and mental calm.
Angers, worries, feelings of hate and pride generate unparalleled energy wastage. Absolutely no one is free of these emotions, but that is what the practice is based on, and that is where the real work resides, no good result is achieved by magi.
“Many are those who practice, but few are those who get the supreme crop.”
As for persistence, you should know that the processes are slow, to achieve the smallest achievements the work must be very arduous, and it requires constant crop to grow. If this persistence is interrupted, the crop will wither and you will have to sown again.
After this reading you will surely want to know much more about how to control your energy center. Remember that the first thing you will need is to be aware of the decision, remove obstacles and to allow the spirit to flow freely. On the other hand, the body is also nourished by food, exercise and knowledge and positive feelings for life, this will undoubtedly guarantee you a good start, and health. Good luck !
Originally Post “Tan Tien: descubre tu centro de energía vital″
Translated by Oscar Moreno