What is 'dan tian'?

There are three dan tians in the body. The upper dan tian is situated between the eyebrows, also known as the third eye. The middle dan tian is in the middle of the chest, the heart area. The one we refer to most often in Qigong and Taiji practice is known as the lower dan tian. It translates as elixir or cinnabar (dan) and field (tian). The lower dan tian is where qi (energy) is cultivated and stored and then circulates throughout the body.

The word dan tian was first seen in the 3rd century in, 'Huang Ting Wai Jing Jing (Canon of the Outer Readiance of the Yellow Court'). It states, 'Through respiration, original qi enters the dan tian. The dan tian, three inches below the navel, is the gateway of yin and yang.' The lower dan tian is located three inches below the navel and is the centre of breath, gravity and energy in the body.

When we focus our attention on our lower dan tian we cultivate and improve qi flow in the meridian pathways, balance digestion and respiration and increase blood circulation.