In Chinese Medicine and Qi Gong, the Tan Tiens are the most important centers of energy in the human body.
Tan Tien, which literally means “cinnabar or red field” refers to focal points of the body that correspond to what the Taoist sages describe as the Elixir Fields. According to legend, the Tan Tiens are “palaces of the Gods” in the body. The maintenance of freely circulating Qi through these areas was said to ensure that the Gods would maintain residence in the body and enable a person to enjoy a long and healthful life.
According to this philosophy, if the circulation of Qi became obstructed, the Gods would depart ensuring disease and early death. The Taoist concept of Tan Tien also roughly corresponds to the Indian concept of the Manipura, or chakras in yoga philosophy.
The upper Tien, located in the center of the forehead, corresponds to the physical functioning of the brain and sensory organs, as well as the psychological processes of thinking and contemplation. Buddhist teachers often instruct their students to center their minds in the Lower Tan Tian as an aid for control of thoughts and emotions.
The middle Tan Tian, located in the center of the chest between the breasts, corresponds to the physical functions of respiration and the circulation of Qi and blood. Psychologically, it functions as the emotional and relationship center of the body.
The Lower Dan Tian, located in the lower abdomen between the navel and the pubic bone, corresponds to the physical functions of digestion, elimination, and reproduction. Psychologically, it functions as our sense of stability and balance and as the connection of our sexuality.
In speaking specifically of the lower of the three points, the term Tan Tian is often used interchangeably with the Japanese word hara, which means “belly”. In Chinese and Japanese traditions, it is considered the physical center of gravity for the human body, and by extension, the seat of one’s internal energy (Qi). A master of calligraphy, swordsmanship, tea ceremony, martial arts or comparable disciplines is held in the Japanese tradition to be “acting from the hara”.
The Three Tan Tian meditation uses breath and concentration to activate the circulation of qi and blood through these areas.
Three Tan Tiens Meditation
We suggest that you read through this meditation a couple of times before beginning.
- Close your eyes and place your awareness in the Lower Tan Tien. Breathe into this area 5 times.
2. Inhale into the Lower Tan Tian and imagine you are drawing Qi into your body from the outside. Exhale and radiate the Qi out into the universe. Repeat this process 12–36 times.
3. Inhale into the Middle Tan Tian and imagine you are drawing Qi into your body from the outside. Exhale and radiate the Qi out into the universe. Repeat 12–36 times.
4. Inhale into the Upper Tan Tian and imagine you are drawing Qi into your body from the outside. Exhale and radiate Qi out into the universe. Repeat 12–36 times.
5. Return your awareness to the Lower Tan Tian. Focus the breath there and allow Qi to accumulate. Repeat another 12–36 times.
6. Slowly open your eyes. Rub the palms together vigorously until they are warm. Rub your body starting at the head, arms, chest, abdomen, lower back, legs.
When you’ve completed this meditation, open your eyes and go about the rest of your day with renewed peace, clarity, and joy.
If you enjoyed this brief meditation and want to try others, be sure to check out our Free Two-Week Qi Gong Trial.
Free Two-Week Qi Gong Trial
When you sign up for our Free Two-Week Qi Gong Trial, you’ll gain immediate access to five unique Qi Gong classes taught by master teacher, Lee Holden.
All of these classes are offered online so you can enjoy them from the comfort of your own home. By combining slow movement exercises and meditation, Qi Gong is a profoundly effective way to let go of stress and cultivate vitality.
Learn more and discover the healing benefits of Qi Gong today.