The Lower Tan Tien is, in the Taoist energy paradigm, the center of the body. It is both the major generator and storage place for Chi energy in the body and the center of awareness. Taoists train this lower abdominal area as the second brain. In all Taoist practices the student is required first to lower the upper brain down to the lower brain. The student trains to consciously become aware of the second brain, so the upper brain which consumes a lot more energy than the lower brain can rest when it is not really in use.
The Lower Tan Tien is also called the "Medicine Field" as well as "the Elixir Field", as it gathers and contains the healing power of the Original Chi or Prenatal Energy. Other names for it are the Ocean of Chi, the Sea of Energy, the cauldron and the navel center. The use of the expressions "Ocean" and "Sea" refer to the wavelike quality of Chi. The cauldron and the navel belong to the lower Tan Tien. The expression "cauldron" refers to the function of the lower Tan Tien as the chief laboratory and center of internal alchemy which transforms energy frequencies.
The Lower Tan Tien serves as the source of the life force or vital force which then as Chi becomes the source of Shen Chi or spirit power/energy.
Thus, throughout all Universal Tao practices including the highest ones, the Lower Tan Tien remains the key to opening the body and the mind for a free uninterrupted energy flow.
To keep the practitioners in this process firmly on the ground and rooted so that they do not lose the connection with the earth, Tan Tien Chi Kung provides a safe and effective method of bringing us "down to earth" and receiving the energy of the earth. To the extent that we ground ourselves, Tan Tien Chi Kung is the basis of our stability, physical and mental/spiritual balance. It helps us to live from our own center and be proactive instead of reactive, giving space to others as we are in touch with ourselves and value our own space. Tan Tien Chi Kung proposes that the source of true happiness and joy lies within our very selves and not anywhere else. The negative energies within and around us, which we may experience as obstacles to our happiness, are the "raw material" for energy transformation. Through them we may learn to accept and appreciate ourselves, others and the world around us. It helps us to see our own negative energies as garbage we can recycle into compost which can then serve to compound our positive energies.
In the recycling process, our inner power will grow and the pressures from outside and within ourselves will come into balance. As a result, we will feel at ease and our Lower Tan Tien will be relaxed, which is the most essential technical requirement for keeping up the Chi pressure.
Tan Tien Chi Kung is above all a practice by which the unity of what is above and below is acknowledged and honored. Through its service as reservoir and focus of condensation of Chi, the Lower Tan Tien confirms the unity between earth and heaven in the body.
Tan Tien Chi Kung is a Chi Kung form that Master Mantak Chia has developed to build up the Tan Tien Chi. It is an important basic form for all the basic training, especially Iron Shirt Chi Kung, Tai Chi Chi Kung and Microcosmic Orbit.
The Lower Tan Tien is the place where our original force is stored; it is in the center of the belly just under the navel. This is at the same time the storage place for all the energy which we are absorbing and collecting during the Chi Kung exercises and Taoist Inner Alchemy meditation practice. In Tan Tien Chi Kung we make use of Tan Tien breathing, by which we will train the Tan Tien Chi in eight directions. You also learn to control and move the Chi through the power of the mind and to increase the Chi pressure in the Tan Tien with the Tiger and Dragon breaths. In this way you can send and circulate the Chi in Tai Chi Chi Kung, Iron Shirt Chi Kung and Microcosmic Orbit; you are also able to strengthen your connective tissue. The old Taoists first learned Tan Tien Chi Kung so that subsequently they could move the Chi into Tai Chi Chi Kung and Iron Shirt Chi Kung forms.
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