Tan Tien Chi Kung is one of the Taoist Chi Kung practices used to develop the Tan Tien (Second Brain) and Perineum Power. We need Chi and Chi pressure in the Tan Tien as a foundation for most of the Universal Tao practices, especially for Iron Shirt Chi Kung and Tai Chi Chi Kung and meditation. The Tan Tien is the energy reservoir in the body. It is the place where we store the energy we generate, gather and absorb in Chi Kung and meditation. If the energy is stored in the Tan Tien it can be accessed later, if not, the Chi dissipates and cannot be used. The Tan Tien is therefore also called the Ocean of Chi. According to the Chinese medical theory, once the ocean is full, it will overflow into the eight extraordinary meridians. Once these are full, the Chi flows into the twelve ordinary meridians, each of which is associated with a particular organ. The Tan Tien is therefore the foundation of the entire energetic system of the body.
We usually refer to the lower abdominal area as the Tan Tien, but we actually have three Tan Tiens: the Lower Tan Tien (Second Brain), the Middle Tan Tien (Heart, seat of the consciousness) and Upper Tan Tien (behind the mideyebrow point, the seat of the Shen, the spirit). You can read more about the Tan Tien in the booklet on the Chi Kung meditation called "Opening the Three Tan Tiens in Six Directions". All three Tan Tiens are used in Taoist inner alchemy. Because of their capacity to deal with a large amount of Chi, the Tan Tiens are used as a "laboratory" for Inner Alchemical work. Translated from the Chinese, the word "Tan" means elixir (literally cinnabar, a mineral used in the Outer Alchemy as a basis for the elixir of immortality, since it was considered to have the perfect balance of Yin and Yang). Tien means field or place. It is the place where all the energies of our body, the earth, the Universe and nature come together to form the pearl, the elixir of immortality, the nourishment for our soul and spirit. The Lower Tan Tien (from now on called "the Tan Tien") is located in the abdomen approximately three finger-widths below the navel near the center of the body. The precise location varies from person to person and depends on the body type. In the Tan Tien we store our Original Chi. Original
Chi is the Chi derived from the egg and sperm of our parents, from which our entire organism arises.
In Iron Shirt Chi Kung practice we learn to stand effortlessly and relaxed in the "Embrace the Tree" position using our internal body structure and alignment or rooting. We develop a powerful pelvic floor and the centering in the Tan Tien. In Tai Chi Chi Kung we learn to move this "tree", circulate the energy and strengthen our internal power. All movements in Tai Chi originate from the Tan Tien. This important region is responsible for control and balance, two key ingredients in proper Tai Chi execution. Additionally, the Chi generated through the lron Shirt and Tai Chi practice is stored in the Tan Tien. Practicing Tan Tien Chi Kung is for the development of the internal and rooting power and the centering of the body and the mind. It is necessary that enough energy is stored in the Tan Tien so that the Tan Tien is filled with Chi pressure and that our mind is strong and focused in the Tan Tien. This will also make us more focused, stable and balanced in daily life. It enhances our personal power. While the Tan Tien is both the source and container of Chi power, the mind acts like a general that issues orders to the Tan Tien for directing power. Through this we can draw energy quickly and effectively from this area and direct it to another area. This is especially important in Tai Chi and Healing Love practices.
We have a constant air pressure in our body. We call this Chi pressure. In Tan Tien Chi Kung we learn to develop this Chi pressure in the Tan Tien and to strengthen our organs and fasciae. Our system relies entirely upon Chi pressure to move the body fluid. We can actually increase our vital energy, strengthen our organs, and promote self-healing by increasing the Chi pressure in our organs and body cavity. The circulatory system, the lymphatic system, the nervous system and the endocrine glands will all be activated and blood, spinal fluid and hormones will flow more easily so that the heart will not have to work as hard. Increasing pressure in the abdominal cavity will help increase the Chi pressure used to move the Chi, blood and lymph fluid.
One of our goals is to increase the Chi pressure in order to increase the organ and the abdominal pressure so that the Chi presses outward on the fasciae layers from the inside. We pack the Chi in the Tan Tien and after it is released, the fasciae expand as do the organs. When people are sick, the Chi pressure inside decreases and falls below the Chi pressure from outside, which is about 14.7 PSI (pounds per square inch). Sick people cannot take so much pressure from outside any more; they will become irritated very quickly and tired by people around them, etc. Life becomes a burden. A lack of Chi pressure also slows down all circulation (Chi, blood, lymph and spinal fluid). It is a downward spiraling movement of the whole life force.
Developing the Chi pressure is one of the best practices we can use to reverse the downward spiraling movements into an upward spiraling movement in the quantity and quality of our life force. In other words, the increase of the Chi pressure in our Tan Tien through Tan Tien Chi Kung will enhance our healing, martial arts (Iron Shirt and Tai Chi), meditation abilities and the art of daily living. It will also nourish our original force.
It is the Chi pressure in the Tan Tien that roots our body and mind. It is our electric wire in the earth. When the Chi pressure is low, we will have no rooting. The energy and the mind will be unfocused and will quickly rise upward and dissipate, and cause overheating, headache, pain in the heart and a distracted mind.
When you want to become a big tree, you need deep roots, which also means a high Chi pressure in the Tan Tien. This is one of the reasons why Tan Tien Chi Kung is the foundation for Iron Shirt and Tai Chi Chi Kung and it is also important for our meditation practice.
In the long run we will regain our inner peace and stillness through this inner power in the Tan Tien. This will restore our connection with our Origin, the mind of the Tao.
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