Dr. Siamak Shirazi is a licensed acupuncturist in Portland, OR. The following brief explanation of Dantien provides an excellent way to focus your breathing.
Dr. Shirazi uses a variety of breathing techniques depending on the patient and their particular affliction, but teaches Dantien Breathing to everyone. Energy movement practitioners often talk about “abdominal breathing,” "diaphragmatic breathing,” or “Dantien breathing,” but many patients don’t know exactly what these terms mean.
The Dantien is considered to the main energy center or receptacle in traditional Oriental medicine. Dr. Shirazi finds that helping patients to actually find the physical location of their Dantien gives them a specific location to focus on and is an excellent way to bring them out of their heads and into their bodies, and that turns out to be very valuable within itself.
Finding the Dantien
To find the Dantien, imagine a line that runs down from your navel to the top of your pelvic bone. Find the middle of that line (usually 2-3 inches below your navel) and then imagine a line from that point that connects the front wall of your abdomen to the back wall. The middle of that horizontal line is the location of your Dantien. Now imagine a sphere about the size of a grapefruit (or an orange for our more petite readers). That is your Dantien. At that point that is what expands when you inhale and contracts as you exhale.
The simplest energy movement exercise is to imagine your Dantien expanding and contracting as you breathe. To start, find your Dantien, then focus on your breathing. Visualize your breath streaming in to fill the Dantien as you inhale. As you exhale, imagine the Dantien shrinking like a balloon as the air is let out. Repeat this exercise for 15 minutes, or combine it with other breathing exercises.