Do You Know Where Your Hara Is?

Digging into the meaning and function of the Hara in the eastern world

You have most probably not heard of the hara. It is not recognized in the western world, however in places like Japan it is an important part of your body and your identity. The hara is the area of your lower abdominal region below your navel. This area contains the tanden which is your center of gravity. The center of gravity is located approximately 2 inches below the navel and 1/3 the distance from the front of your body to the back of your body. You may say that it is an organ not yet discovered by the west. It cant be seen, however it can be felt. It has always been inside of you, but remains dormant unless you know to access it.

The internal arts, which consist of modalities like yoga, meditation and tai chi place special emphasis on this point. It is the road leading to the full development of the human being and the home of your intuitive judgement among other things. It is developed by sitting in meditation and focusing the mind on the area of the tanden. The body is fully relaxed in a seated meditative posture with a straight spine. This can be accomplished by sitting in a crosslegged position with the back resting against the wall, or on a straight backed chair. It can also be accessed by standing for long periods of time with your feet in a hip width stance or focusing on it while moving thru the tai chi form.

In time you will feel like you have a thick rubberband gradually starting to fill with a liquid which feels like sparkling air. This is an occasion for celebration and the beginning of your relationship with the universe and yourself. Soon the energy felt in the tanden will start to circulate throughout your body. It is called chi and is the internal energy which runs your body. It will always be present and gives you a point to which you can focus as you move thru your daily life experience. It is your anchor with the universe and is often referred to as a gut feeling with respect to your intuitive judgement. The chi or internal energy gradually moves down under the pelvic floor and up the spine to the top of the head moving along what is called the microcosmic orbit. My teacher always referred to it as an energy intelligence as it now moves to open the energy pathways of the body commonly called meridans. These energy pathways form the basis of acupuncture points leading too the organs which are now charged with new energy enabeling them to secrete the hormones which run the body.

In order to feel your relationship with the universe, you can again sit in meditation and focus on the breath. Gradually you will feel where the breath starts the inhale and the place where it starts to exhale. The inhale starts at the tanden filling the hara and starts at the exhale at the heart center. Soon you will feel that the universe is breathing you as you focus on your breath. Then you will start to experience that link to the universe or nature.

The internal arts like yoga or tai chi offer a place in which to start your journey back to yourself. The road is long. Don’t expect immediate results, just stay on the road.