Holistic is a popular fitness buzzword these days. It represents a positive trend that considers the health of the whole person, not just physical health. Since every part of the person influences all other aspects of health, this is a wise consideration.
An important element, however, is often left out of the discussion of holistic health – energy. This is unfortunate since ultimately we are energetic beings; Asian systems of health and healing rely on that notion, and science has confirmed that energetic forces make up foundation of the physical world we live in. Thus, the key to managing your overall health is management of your energy system.
Fortunately, we have plenty of information available to us about how to do just that. Long ago, people were much more in tune with the energies of nature and used that knowledge to help themselves stay strong and vibrant. In my Brain Education program, I have resurrected and modernized some of the techniques used by practitioners of Sundo, an ancient Korean tradition of energy study. There is a great deal to learn about this practice, some of which we will look at in later blogs, but here is a general overview of how your energy bodies work.
Basic Energy Anatomy
When most people think of their bodies, they think only of their physical body, the body made of bone and skin and muscle. But really you have three bodies – the physical body, the energy body, and the spiritual body. All three bodies are powered through energy centers that pump life energy through the body. These energy centers are called Dahnjons in Korean Sundo practice or chakras in yogic practices.
Ideally, these three should maintain a fairly equal balance relative to each other. You can visualize this as a triangle with the physical body forming the base, and the spiritual and energetic bodies forming the sides. The equilateral triangle is one of the strongest shapes known, which is why architects throughout history have relied on it to create stable structures. Your overall health is similar – you must maintain a good balance between the three bodies keep yourself strong and stable in mind, body, and spirit. If any of the three are either over or under developed, it is like a triangle with one long side and one short side – it can easily tip over and fall.
Your Foundation – the Lower Energy Center
The lower Dahnjon supplies energy to your physical body, and it is located in your lower abdomen, about two inches below your belly button and two inches inside. This is equivalent to the second chakra, the sacral chakra, in the Hindu chakra system. You could think of it as a furnace that is churning out energy to your physical body so that you can get things done in the world. If your lower Dahnjon is strong, you might even experience this as a heat that emanated from your core – the proverbial fire in the belly that keeps us motivated and energetic. If your lower Dahnjon is weak, you will likely lack vitality and energy to get things done.
The power of the lower Dahnjon can be developed by just about any physical exercise, but anything that works the legs and abdomen, the core, is especially helpful. Keep your legs strong by walking or hiking every day, and choose workouts that build the abdomen. When you feel your lower Dahnjon kick into full gear, you will feel heat building in your lower abdomen.
The Heart of Your Being – the Middle Energy Center
The middle Dahnjon is equivalent to the heart chakra in yogic practice, and it is the energy center related to our emotions and our state of mind. It is located in the middle of the chest in the center of the sternum, and it’s also known as the fourth chakra. A healthy, open middle Dahnjon is associated with positive emotions and a loving heart. An unhealthy middle Dahnjon, by contrast, is constricted by stress, negative attitudes, and poor relationships with others.
Energetically, the middle Dahnjon connects us to all other beings on the planet through the energy of love. To develop the middle Dahnjon fully, you must first realize, in the depth of your being, that “all is one” and that there is ultimately no separation between you, other human beings, and all the living creatures on the planet.
Connecting to the universe in this way is not always easy in a world that presents many difficult challenges, but you can begin this journey by developing more positive emotions about yourself, the world, and those around you. Focus on developing gratitude and a joyful heart; instead of complaining and approaching everything with a critical mind, open your heart and mind to everything you see in the world. Stress primarily comes from blockage in the middle Dahnjon, so simple breathing an relaxation techniques will help a lot, too.
Your Spiritual Energy – the Upper Energy Center
Although it is not something you can perceive with your senses, your Upper Dahnjon connects you to the most substantial, eternal part of you, the part you could call your soul or spirit. Most of us are closed off from this energy to some degree, however. Awakening and opening this energy center is key to the state of being we call enlightenment.
This energy center is located in the brain – between your eyebrows and a couple of inches inside of your head. In yogic traditions it is the sixth chakra and is called the third eye, due to its intuitive abilities. Information that we hold plays an important role in the health of the upper Dahnjon. Much of the information we receive is limiting in some way, so ridding ourselves of unhelpful information can help us grow spiritually, unleashing our natural intuition and spiritual insight.
Most spiritual practice is designed to help you develop the upper Dahnjon. Meditation is an especially helpful practice, helping us to gain control of the non-stop information that flows through our brains.
Making It a Habit
Understanding the nature of the energy bodies is really only the beginning. Learning to use their energies effectively can take many years of dedicated study. The first step, though, is realizing they exist and that they have great influence on our quality of life. In later blog posts, we will delve more deeply into these and into other aspects of the energy system. For now, begin to pay attention to your energy.