The Importance of the Lower Dantian in Qigong Practices

Upper, Middle and Lower Dantian Locations
Photo: “Dantians” by Bostjan46

The lower Dantian in the body is located three finger widths below the belly button and about the same distance inwards into the stomach in the lower-middle section of the torso. This point is the area that is believed to be the core center for storing energy, and is also believed to be where core muscle training originated in martial arts in China.

This Dantian, as opposed to the middle Dantian in the chest area and the upper Dantian in the head area, is the primary focal point for mediation and qigong for storing energy, as it is the storage center in which the body’s Qi, Jing and Shen energies correlate. Each time we breathe in Qigong we almost always focus or at least imagine the breath going inhaling down to this point and exhaling from there. Whenever we breathe in fact we should breath down to this area, which is basically in line with what doctors or voice teachers say when they stress the importance of breathing down to the stomach.

Many westerners may not be aware of this energy center but it can be felt if practiced and meditated on enough, as there is a constant warm pulsation in the area constantly ejecting energy. This point is not noticed regularly but can experience through enough Qigong exercises such as Breathing of the Universe. Mediation uses the same principal in that you should be focusing your breath down to this part of the body and even harnessing your attention there if you are easily distracted. Altering the breath in this manner allows for smoother energy flow and a calmer mind, as there is a more conscious connection to connect with the body’s prime energy center.

Daoists wrote about this Dantian area nearly 2000 years ago and have incorporated it into their Qigong and martial arts training. One of the core exercises aside from meditation and Qigong in the Shaolin Temple School dating hundreds of years back was to fixate attention on this point as much as possible and constantly push the body’s internal energy there. It was said this would give fighters explosive energy and would allow them to push their bodies to the max. It’s no wonder that people such as Bruce Lee often talked about the Dantian as being such a crucial aspect to martial arts training and the tradition has since spurred into other forms of martial arts all the way into modern-day core muscle training.

For those who are not looking to become martial artists, don’t worry. Training the Dantian is still extremely important to your health, and breathing down to this area not only helps you conserve and create energy, but also allows the body to stay calm, as your breath is deeper and more circulated when pushed down to this point. The mind and body in fact react much differently when undertaking deep breathes specifically to this area much like it does when undergoing deep breath meditation.  For best results, it is best to start giving yourself 10 minutes a day in which you are actively aware of breathing to this area either through meditation or even walking. In doing so, your Dantian will begin to strengthen and most likely your overall energy will improve, especially if you add it with Qigong practice.

We can also visualize energy from the Universe coming into our bodies, healing us on all levels – spiritually, mentally and physically – and then gathering in the Dantien to which it resides. Spring Forest Qigong usually starts its events with a meditation that is geared toward calming the mind harnessing energy to the Dantian, and then adds a visualization at the end in which the collected energy spins like an energy ball. This ball spins and spins throughout the middle torso area until it gets smaller and smaller to the point of a small pill, which you then tuck behind the navel into your body’s Dantian. This is essentially a Universal Energy Supplement that blasts all other energy supplements in the world out of the water and is one of the most natural and powerful ways to improve energy in this area.

An alternative method for strengthening the Dantian is to lie on one’s back with the arms wide open in a “cross-like” manner and then push forward with your hands to the Dantian while lifting your feet and pushing the energy toward the area. This is a good crunch exercise as well, and with every exhale breath pushed down to that stomach area you are charging the body’s energy. Many athletes claim that having a strong core and abs are key to strengthening one’s overall performance and conditioning, and there is a big correlation between this area that links to the Dantian that can greatly benefit people if they chose to actively exercise it.