Working with the Dan Tien

Working with the Dan Tien
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine theory there are 4 degrees of sensitivity to the Qi: Sensitive and Insensitive and Very Sensitive and Very Insensitive. For the very sensitive it is easy to feel the Qi. On the other hand, for those in the very insensitive category, it is usually quite difficult. Most people fall between these two extremes. The main thing to know is; with diligent practice over time, anyone can come to ‘feel the Qi.’

Finding the Low Dan Tien
When you ask most people to show you where the Dan Tien is, they point to the area somewhere below the navel. While this is true in a sense, there is much more to the low Dan Tien. In the older form of Daoism the Dan Tien is described in terms of 10 divisions going from front (belly) to back. It is said that the practitioner should look for the Dan Tien around point 7, measuring from front to back. This is actually quite near the Ming Men, rather than just the front of the belly. What happens in many people’s experience is that at first they become aware of the front of the Dan Tien. (the Caldron) This is quite natural. But with patience and diligent practice one becomes aware that the Dan Tien includes a vast amount of territory. Eventually the Qi of the Dan Tien and the Ming Men co-mingle and unify while still maintaining the uniqueness of their individual entities.

The Importance of Sitting Practice
While the Qi in the Dan Tien can be felt during Zhan Zhuang and even moving meditation. It is often most quickly felt during sitting practice. Many great martial artists of the past such as Tung Hai-Chuan and Sun Lu-Tang spent much time in sitting practice, in addition to training their arts.

The video below describes methods for those having some difficulty sensing their Qi, let alone controlling it. For those that already have a feel for this, there are further steps which need to be taken. Besides its individual functions and those functions in congress with other energies, the Dan Tien is also a gateway. This gateway leads deep inside ourselves and with repeated practice, continues to open ever more deeply in a seemingly continual progression. One of the most important elements to be aware of when working with the Dan Tien, or any Qi practice for that matter, is the phrase, “Where pure mind-will is directed, Qi shall arrive.” And this is true whether sitting, standing or moving.
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Added on April 12th, 2019
Last updated: March 4th, 2021