If you happen to be part of any internal Martial Arts or typical hard styles such as Karate, Taekwondo, MMA etc..
I undoubtedly believe that more than once your Sifu has talked about the Dantien area and advised you to inhale and focus your breath into this core area when executing a technique (Kiai!).
Even when you are not a Martial Arts practitioner you definitely often do the same thing, especially before you must commit an intense physical activity that requires a burst of energy.
You probably understand by the most common sense that Dantien is not any type of food, pretty guy or hot girl (even though that could be the ultimate motivation for a blessing rush of adrenaline).
Now, essentially the Dantien being talked about is your center core of the body; located just right below your navel. There are actually three different Dantien levels; they are separated at the center of body mass, the heart level and the third eye. In this article, you will be learning about the first Dantien level that gives us life.
Is it this Dantien really really REALLY that important? What can it actually do and does it even exist ? How does it give someone a Jedi ability ?
If you are destined to read this and grasp the knowledge, you will soon go much further more than the scoop of this article can offer. But first, let’s put down the initial step of this journey by flipping pages of history record to the very beginning chapters of human civilization; of China to be specific.
Not just few years ago, but it’s way back to the ancient times when the population of China was occupied by peasants, poorest farmers of the lowest classes in the society.
They call a day by starting as early as the fifth hour in the morning, sweating in the fields until sunset. Then, they return homes for some rest. If you are young, you would gather with your friends listening to stories of the village elders, while some others would enjoy the the cool night air that just silently replaced the heat of the day.
Out in this very moonlight, the weary peasants wind down and relax. And it was then, they become aware of something moving around inside their body. It was more like steam instead of blood that flows. This strange steam could move up and down, into different organs, into legs and arms, torso and head.
It always seems to relate to the body breathing and mind. The plain people noted all these unusual feelings, and in the end they discovered that everyone has a center, somewhere right below the navel, where it keeps the whole body warm and strong. They call this area “Dantien”. Dan means ‘the essence of energy’ or ‘crystal’, and ‘tien’ means ‘field’.
Now when you ask other senior disciples in class, you may get different answers about the location of Dantien.
Some probably say it’s behind your navel, some say it’s a point a few inches below your belly button or even next to your tailbone. However the word ‘tien’ means ‘field’, meaning Dantien is an area not any specific point.
Perhaps it is unnecessary to be too strict about the exact location. Don’t worry if you cannot tell where it is right now. When you wind down and relax like someone once did a few thousands years ago, you will also discover it naturally.
Life, with a chance of Qi
Everyone of us was born with a certain amount of energy (Qi) called Pre-natal Energy.
This energy is inherited from your parent and it stays inside your body, flows through your channels to create the life of you. When the Dantien is open, it can store a lot of energy (Post-natal Energy). You may see many of strong big person, but they may get sick much easier than a small baby. When you train, do weight-lifting, or the more active you are, the more energy you use and consequently that reduces your lifespan.
External training is good, but you must do it in conjunction with internal training, to replace and store more Qi than the amount you have used. If not, you will soon find yourself becomes tired for the body is unable to handle the constant exertion.
How is that true? Let’s look at the closest friendly pet of human, a dog.
Dog breaths very quickly in a fast pace, it opens its mouth wide to grasp for much air as many times as the second ticks. Cute little one is super active, always seems to be on crack, always running around the house. They are very Yang. Perhaps that is the reason they only live for fifteen to twenty years at most.
On the opposite area of the world, a turtle does not breath with its nose alone.
It breaths through the skin, it uses the internal body, its abdomen just like our Dantien. Each breath takes approximately 2 minutes or longer. It moves slowly and quietly, a clear characteristic of Yin. As the result, on the average turtle lives for more than two hundreds of years under a right condition !
Now look at our body. We are the same, or can be the same.
If you go running for hours and do a lot of drill training and weight lifting until you become fatigue, then you should grow to be big and strong but you are consuming your own vital energy.
These exercises benefits your physical body, not your vital energy. Just like when someone spends thousands of dollar on modding, turbo-charing a car to make it look better and faster. Yet he refuses to invest on good premium fuels for the engine. What happens when the engine becomes old and rusty ?
Quiet, slow and gentle are the ways to help accumulate your Qi to a higher level.
A Life with More Qi
People who could store more energy than their Pre-natal Qi, are able to open all the channels and acu-points inside the body.
This leads to a healthy life, put asides other potential abilities such as healing serious sickness, open the Sky-eye to perceive auras of people, predicting the future (since Qi is an universal energy, it is the bridge for your body to communicate with the nature and receive its message at the subliminal consciousness) or releasing fragrance that smells like flowers at dawn (Fragrant Qigong is known to cure Flu and Allergy). The 106-year old Grandmaster Yang Meijun of Dayan Qigong known to have such type of ability.
When you breath you should not just use your lungs to consume the air, you should use your entire abdomen.
The abdomen is deeper than the chest, therefore you can never do it quickly if you using the abdomen to breath in the correct way. Imagine that the pure air does not flow in and stop at your chest, it flows naturally deep down to your abdomen. If you have an infant at home, you should notice this is exactly how he breaths.
When Your breath becomes deeper, longer and more internal, the Qi sinks directly to your Dantien, strongly affects internal organs, particularly the kidneys, lungs and heart. In fact, now your Dantien is breathing.
This is the ‘Natural breathing’ method that I have walked you through. In another article, we will talk about the ‘Normal breathing’ and ‘Reverse Breathing’. Nevertheless, despite of which methods you are doing, you must always do it naturally with a relaxing mind.
-Did you notice how the East has Lunar calendar that based on cycles of the Moon? The peasants, of course, enjoyed the soothing and comforting moon light than the burning heat of the sun where they could relax and rest.
-Turtles do live long!
A 400 year-old Turtle
(References are retrieved from Qi Mag Iss.51 and Illustrations are found from WWW)