Where in the World is Dantian?

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“Schweeet!” I thought. I was 19 years old, and my karate teacher was talking about a mysterious energy field located in the abdomen. I couldn’t wait to experience it for myself!

That was my first exposure to the concept of dantian (丹田), and it turned out to be a huge disappointment. I had to wait 10 years before I actually felt anything other than frustration at dantian.

Even after I gave up karate and switched to internal arts, even after I learned the real secrets of energy cultivation, even after I practiced diligently for a few years — I still didn’t feel anything.

For years, I kept thinking, “where in the world is dantian?”

(Now maybe you get the Carmen Sandiego joke?)

In the world of qigong, tai chi, kung fu, and karate, people spend years searching for dantian, but never find it. Many give up, convinced that dantian is either mystical mumbo jumbo, or a metaphor.

I’m here to tell you that dantian is real, that it’s not a metaphor, and that with the proper training, and a bit of patience, you can feel it for yourself.

The Golden Golf Ball In My Belly

Right now, as I’m typing this, I can feel a golden, golf-ball-sized sphere of energy in my lower abdomen. This is almost exactly as the Chinese classics describe.

I don’t understand the physics behind it, but there really is a ball of energy in my belly.  It’s not mystical mumbo jumbo, and it’s not a metaphor.

The Chinese word dantian (dāntián,丹田) literally means “elixir field”, but a better translation might be “energy center.” It is located in your lower belly, and it is the natural center for your body’s energy.

Dantian is important not only for energy arts like qigong, but also for martial arts, especially tai chi chuan.

Women and Dantian

One caveat before we go any further: women seem to experience dantian twice as fast as men.

I noticed this phenomenon early in my teaching. When I talked to my students about my difficulties finding dantian, the men were all nodding, but the women looked confused.

As I dug deeper, I learned that women — of all ages — seemed to feel dantian much earlier than I would have predicted.

I don’t know if this is because of the uterus, which is right there near dantian, or because women tend to be softer and more open-minded than men, but the results are obvious. Women find dantian much, much sooner than men.

So Where Is It?

So where in the world is dantian?  You can location dantian easily as follows:

How to find your dantian:

The classical measurement uses a biological inch, which is the width of your own thumb. Go 3 of your own thumb-widths below your belly button, and then 2-3 thumb-widths into your abdomen, straight toward your back. That’s the center of the energy field we call dantian.

Unfortunately, going searching for dantian with your thumbs isn’t terribly helpful. If you haven’t cultivated qi at dantian correctly for a few years, there isn’t much to feel.

For years, I knew where dantian was; the problem was I couldn’t feel anything there.

Are There Three Dantians?

To confuse things even more, there are actually three dantians:

  1. Upper Dantian (上丹田, shàng dāntián), located in the forehead between and slightly above the eyebrows.
  2. Middle Dantian (中丹田, zhōng dāntián), located in the centerline of the chest at the level of the heart.
  3. Lower Dantian (下丹田, xià dāntián) located in the lower belly 2-3 anatomical inches below and 2-3 anatomical inches behind the navel.

The lower dantian is the safest and healthiest place to store energy.  If you try to store energy at the middle or upper dantians, there are risks.  To attempt this without the supervision of an expert would be…well…risky.

Why take the risk when there are safer and better options?

The lower dantian is also the most useful place to store energy.  It acts like an energy bank account.  The Qi stored there can be used for just about anything — vitality, longevity, mental clarity, martial arts, or even sex.

How Big is Your Dantian?

Beginners often have trouble feeling dantian because they are looking too hard for the “golden pearl,” which is how it is described in the classics.

For most people, dantian starts out bigger, not smaller.  It may be the size of a golf ball, a tennis ball, or even a soft ball.

That’s because the energy hasn’t consolidated yet. Again, I don’t understand the physics behind it, but dantian seems to shrink as you advance.  Or not shrink, but consolidate.

For example, I can feel that my dantian is about the size of a golf ball — but that’s just the core of the field.  The energy from the core of dantian radiates out in all directions, like the light from the sun.  So really, my dantian is a much larger sphere that extends past the boundaries of my body.

What a Fraud!


A qigong exercise called “Luohan Carrying Water”, which was my primary way of cultivating qi in the early days.

Incidentally, I have a student who can “see” energy. (There are more of them than you might think, but people like this typically keep quiet about their abilities.)

She told me that she was confused when she first met me.  She was looking for the boundaries of my energy field, as she was used to doing with people.  But she couldn’t find mine.

At first, she thought I was a fraud.  “This guy has the smallest energy field I’ve ever seen, but he calls himself a teacher?”

Then she suddenly realized that my energy field was larger than what she was used to seeing.  She told me that she was shocked to see that the boundaries of the field extended many feet from my body. I guess that convinced her to sign up for my class!

The large field that my dantian creates is probably one reason why my students get such good results.  When I teach a class, students are actually inside my energy field.  And when I walk around the room, my energy field helps to circulate the qi. This is one reason why it’s helpful to learn in person.

Opening the Five Gates

My energy field is beneficial not just for students, but also for one of my life’s passions — martial arts.  For example, when I punch, I can feel the energy moving through what is known as the Five Gates:

  • Gate 1: Dantian
  • Gate 2: Shoulder
  • Gate 3: Elbow
  • Gate 4: Wrist
  • Gate 5: Fingers

At first, you feel the energy getting stuck at the shoulder or the elbow.  Actually, let me back up. At first, you feel nothing.  You may feel a little tingling in the hands like we do in qigong practice, but you don’t even feel the first gate, dantian.

Like I said, it takes time to feel dantian, even if you’re doing everything correctly.

Once you feel dantian, you’ll begin to feel the energy moving through the five gates.  When you focus on exercises that explode force (fā jìn, 發勁) like One Finger Zen, The 18 Arhats, or Single Whip, then you begin to feel the energy getting stuck in one of the gates.


Single Whip, a tai chi pattern that is helpful for opening the Five Gates

I’ll give away one of my hard-earned secrets:  It doesn’t always seem to go in order.   Sometimes it gets stuck at the shoulder, sometimes at the elbow, and sometimes at the hand.

But then, after years of practice, you feel it move easily through all five gates.

It took me over 15 years to experience this.  (The good news is that my students experience it about twice as fast — either because I was a bad student, or because I’m an excellent teacher, or both!)  I’ll say this about the sensation of qi moving through the Five Gates:  It’s totally awesome.

Dantian and Health

Those who aren’t interested in martial arts still need to cultivate dantian. There is an important Chinese maxim that explains why:

Xian Xing Qi, Hou Yang Qi
First circulate energy, then build it.

My students know that I always emphasize circulating the energy in my teaching. We want to clear the major energy blockages before doing anything else.  Otherwise, you’re just adding pressure to clogged pipes.

But after we clear the major blockages, we can start building energy.  When we build energy, it first goes to the rivers and streams of your body —  the 12 Primary Meridians, filling them up.  After that, it goes to the energy reservoirs — the 8 Extraordinary Meridians.  And then, when all of your rivers and reservoirs are filled, the energy will naturally being to pool at dantian.

With all of this excess energy, you’ll have a lot more vitality.  Basically, you’ve raised your stress threshold.  You have reserves of energy which can be used to combat stress in all forms — negative emotions, unhealthy food, toxins, thoughts, physical trauma, or people driving slowly in the left lane.

Trust me — you want a reserve of energy, just like you want a reserve of emergency cash in the bank.  That’s what I’ve got at dantian.  If I stay up too late, or eat some stuff I shouldn’t have eaten, or if my wife tricks me into to watching an awful movie like “The Expendables 2” — then I’ve got energy reserves to help me handle the extra stress.

Dantian and Visualization

Did you know that cultivating dantian is actually a form of visualization?  At the end of every practice routine,  we become gently aware of dantian.  That’s visualization.  That’s one way dantian is cultivated over time.

Another way is through the various stages of Cosmos Breathing.   If you still can’t feel your dantian clearly, then it’s a good idea to practice Stages 1-2 of the The Small Universe.

There are many other ways to cultivate dantian — One Finger Zen, Warrior Postures (zhan zhuang), and Sinew Metamorphosis, to name a few.  All of these methods help to build up the energy reserves, which in turn will all of extra energy to pool at dantian.

What is your experience with dantian?  Go ahead and share it in the comments section below.  I’d love to hear what you think. 

Mindfully yours,
Sifu Anthony

I’m Anthony Korahais, and I used qigong to heal from clinical depression, low back pain, anxiety, and chronic fatigue. I’ve already taught thousands of people from all over the world to use qigong for their own stubborn health issues. I teach online courses, and also lead in-person retreats and workshops.

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54 Responses to Where in the World is Dantian?

  1. Philip Milsom October 2, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Nice article Siheng, I LOL’d at the expendables joke I had to stop watching it after 10 minutes, bravo for sitting through the whole thing!

    Thanks for the lesson 🙂

    • Sifu Anthony October 2, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Glad someone got my joke. 🙂

      • Akemi October 2, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

        Hey! The Expendables wasn’t that bad!!!

        Great article!

        I’ve noticed that my surgery scar definitely affects dantian, based on how good my energy is flowing.

        It is good to be a woman though, as I’ve noticed we feel dantian generally quicker than the gentlemen in our school 🙂

        • Sifu Anthony October 3, 2012 at 6:48 am #

          Mi amor, it was the worst movie ever.

          I didn’t mention about women feeling dantian faster than men. Thanks for pointing it out.

        • Amanda Garrigues DeMouey October 9, 2012 at 10:17 pm #


          Can you explain how your scar affects dantian? I have a surgery scar as well, and even when I am not practicing, maybe just sitting on the couch, I feel it burning (very much like Harry Potter…jk). I usually think of it as some form of energy, but not dantian because i am not practicing at the moment and i don’t often feel it there when I practice.

          • Sifu Anthony January 19, 2013 at 9:07 am #

            Amanda, I don’t think Akemi saw your post. Anyway, scars are considered a block to the flow of Qi. There is a great treatment using cupping therapy and massage that opens up the block. Akemi did it recently, and she had a cathartic emotional release during the treatment. We offer this treatment at the center, if you’re interested.

  2. Andrew Hix October 2, 2012 at 1:47 pm #

    Thank you for posting so many blog posts lately, Sifu. I’m learning a good deal about the classics and about which movies not to bother with. I have a few questions about this post, and I’m particularly interested because I’d like to include objectives related to the Five Gates in my Aims and Objectives.


    1. What are the benefits of learning to visualize dantian? Especially, does being able to visualize dantian successfully increase the benefit gained from practicing dantian cultivation techniques such as One Finger Zen and zhan zhuang?

    2. Is it necessary to feel dantian in order to move energy through the 5 gates?

    3. How big is Grandmaster Wong’s energy field? Has anyone who can see energy been able to find the end of it?

    • Sifu Anthony October 2, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

      Hey Andrew. Here are my replies:

      1. Re: Visualizing dantian. It becomes a positive feedback loop — the better you can visualize dantian, the more you’ll be able to feel it, then the easier it will be to visualize, and so on.

      2. Re: The five gates. Yes, it’s necessary to feel dantian before fully connecting the five gates. Otherwise, you’ve only got 4 gates. 🙂

      3. I can’t see Qi like some of my students, so I can’t say how big my Sifu’s energy field is. But I’ll say this — I’ve been able to clearly feel the effects of it over 50 yards away.

    • Ricardo August 19, 2016 at 11:18 pm #

      Hi:: tnx for sharing .. i am one of the believers of lifeforms.. i wanted to find or search my dan tien but it is really hard…

  3. Fred Chu October 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    Oh my, this takes me back. About nine or ten years ago, when I first ran across Sigung’s “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu,” I tried practicing Horse Riding Stance from it, somehow equating depth of the stance and a general heavy feeling of the body with cultivating dan tian. I didn’t get anything out of the way I was doing that exercise but sore legs!

    Shortly after the Flowing Zen 101 seminar two years ago, I ran into a Taiji instructor from the lineage of Dr. Yang Jwing Ming who taught me Reverse Breathing. I practiced it for a while under his direction (at one point, my dan tian felt about the size of a beach ball), but I discontinued the practice after we went out separate ways.

    Interestingly, I don’t feel the dan tian very clearly when I do force training like One Finger Shooting Zen or Golden Bridge; I mostly feel the force diffused throughout my entire body (I like the feeling, it makes my entire being feel very powerful!)

    Practicing Baguazhang force training, on the other hand, feels (to me, at my current level) the most “localized” of my force training. While my entire body feels powerful, I feel a definite “extra” amount of energy swelling at my palms, whereas in other arts, the entire body feels roughly equal in power. I suppose it could be the circumstances under which I learnt the arts (I learnt Golden Bridge and Two Finger Zen from Sigung at a regional course while I learnt Baguazhang from Sigung’s five-day UK Summer Camp course). I occasionally feel dan tian at the end when I think of it to complete the practice.

    I’ve never felt my force go through all five “gates” when I explode force; I generally feel when it gets stuck at the elbow or when it gets manifested in my fist, One Finger Zen, or Tiger Claw. It’s a very interesting vibrating/explosive sensation! The first time I managed to explode force to my fist when I was practicing Lohan Asks the Way a few years ago, my fist felt so heavy and strong, and I was so surprised, that I nearly “punched” myself out of my stance, haha!

    • Sifu Anthony October 2, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

      Thanks for the comment, Fred.

      I didn’t mention it in the article, but there are also dantians located in the palms. When you practice Cosmos Palm for a long time, these start to fill up. But it’s crucial to fill up the reservoirs, and then the lower dantian, before storing energy in the palms.

      • Fred Chu October 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

        Thank you for writing this article! It’s opened a lot of old memories I’ve had from meeting some other practitioners of martial arts. I just remembered the description of my old roommate’s martial arts training (I don’t remember the system’s name, sadly). Her sifu recommended to the students to engage or clench the abdomen (much like how ballet dancers do) for two reasons, according to her. At the physical level, it was for core strengthening and postural alignments. At the energetic level, she said it “spread” energy from the abdominal dan tian to the entire body “like squeezing water from a sponge.”

        I’ve taken dance classes for a few years, so I reflexively “engage” the navel area (not to the point of extreme clenching like my ballet classmates), but I’ve never experimented with clenching the lower abdomen to the point that my old roommate does. Would that sort of hard clenching of the dan tian eventually lead to health problems down the road? I’d imagine so…

        • Sifu Anthony October 3, 2012 at 6:47 am #

          Engaging the core muscles is fine, but it’s not Qigong. Doing it as a form of Qigong sounds odd. The person you mentioned might not be doing Qigong. It’s common for people to use the word Qigong, but have no experience with energy. In that case, engaging the core muscles isn’t dangerous because it’s just physical.

          • Fred Chu October 3, 2012 at 7:09 am #

            Thank you for clearing that up, Sifu!

  4. Mary Bast October 2, 2012 at 5:55 pm #

    Though I sometimes ‘see’ energy (usually in colors lately), and I’ve even at times heard from the spirits of your teacher’s teachers teachers, I’m mostly kinesthetic in my experience of chi. And I can attest to being within your now familiar energy field during classes, no matter where I am in the room. So even if we can’t see how far it extends, we know it reaches at least those four walls.

  5. Melissa October 2, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    A very helpful article!
    I was actually wondering about how having abdominal surgery of any kind would affect dantian, as Simu brought up.

    I’ve only now started to feel dantian, I’d say in the last month and 1/2 or so? And it feels exactly like you said, and I’d say mine was the size of a volley ball. I naturally feel it best right at the end of practice, during standing meditation time. I can’t say I’ve tried to feel it any other time, but can you feel it at any time, not just practice time? Kind of like opening your heart?

    Here’s a question for you… as of recent, I’ve been focusing more on just letting energy flow rather than building it (force training) because I feel like I may have some blockages and I want to make sure energy if flowing well first. But does your energy naturally build the more you practice, even if you aren’t particularly “working” on building energy?

    • Alex McLeod October 2, 2012 at 6:23 pm #

      “I can’t say I’ve tried to feel it any other time, but can you feel it at any time, not just practice time? Kind of like opening your heart?”
      “But does your energy naturally build the more you practice, even if you aren’t particularly “working” on building energy?”
      I hope you don’t mind, but I figured since I’m here, I’ll take a shot at those answers: Yes, yes, and yes.

      To the first question, the only thing that would prevent you from feeling your dantian outside of practice is your state of mind. As long as you are in a qigong state of mind, you’re likely to be able to feel it. I’d probably not really pay it much mind, and go about my day in most cases, however.

      To the third question, I believe Sifu has said in the past that our school’s qigong is always both building and cleansing, but the priorities are different at different times, with different intentions, and different exercises.

      • Sifu Anthony October 3, 2012 at 6:56 am #

        All Qigong is both building and cleansing. The question is — what proportions. For example, Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow is about 90% cleansing. But the Horse Stance is about 90% building. Exercises like Lifting the Sky are somewhere in the middle.

    • Sifu Anthony October 3, 2012 at 6:52 am #

      Yes, I can feel it any time. That was a progression for me. At first, I could only feel it in practice. Now I can feel it anytime I think of it, including right now as I’m typing. It’s not as powerful as while practicing, but it’s still palpable.

      Focusing on clearing blockages is wise. And yes, when you do that, you’re naturally building some energy too. More importantly, you’re freeing up stuck energy, which has the same end result as building energy.

      But at your level, you can both build and circulate. A little force training or building will help you to clear deeper blockages. In fact, for some deep blockages, you’ll need to build energy in order to clear them.

  6. Alex McLeod October 2, 2012 at 6:14 pm #

    Great article, although I can’t see how on earth someone would be able to persuade me to see something like the Expendables I or II, I’ll take your word that it was as bad as it looked.

    My dantian rarely feels exactly the same from day to day, but it is always roughly the size of a ping pong ball, unless it is not on that day. Sometimes it’s larger, and sometimes it’s smaller. Usually, it’s a little closer to my navel than what you describe, although sometimes it travels upward from there if I’ve been neglecting horse stance, and downward if I have been doing horse stance regularly.

  7. Andrew Edwards October 2, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Daisipak,another interesting and helpful article,thank you very much first and foremost.

    Second,a question…if one builds up the energy reservoir in the dantian to the degree that you and Sigung Wong have,where the energy radiates outwards,can that give benefits to loved ones around that person,even if they don’t practice qigong? Like a mother or father who practices and becomes advanced,the family members in her/his household,do they benefit? If so,how?

    • Sifu Anthony October 3, 2012 at 7:00 am #

      Hi Andrew. Yes, I think it gives some mild benefits to people around. We’ve seen examples where student sit down with Sifu for some tea, and their pain disappears. But it’s not as powerful as practicing Qigong, and it isn’t likely to clear deep-rooted blockages.

  8. Chow October 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

    Thank you for posting this Sibaak. It’s heartening to know that feeling the dantian takes time, which is a good reminder for me to practice patience and enjoy the practice as opposed to chasing results.
    My experience is that I can feel my dantian more often as a “balance point” rather than an energetic field. For instance, when we are doing adjustments in stance training, I can feel my dantian better when I settle into my stance properly (as opposed to leaning too far forward or too far back). I can feel my dantian more as an energetic field when I’m doing cosmic breathing, but not when I’m say doing kung fu or One Finger Shooting Zen. Now I know that it takes time.

    • Sifu Anthony October 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm #

      It sounds like you’re headed in the right direction, Chow.

  9. Judy Garis October 4, 2012 at 9:34 am #

    No, it is not mumbo jumbo! Even before starting the practice I would feel dantian spontaneously in moments of realization of some concept or when I was in complete balance, so I know it’s real but never knew what it was. The same is true of bi hue (sp?). I feel it opening spontaneously at odd moments, including the middle of the night, waking me up. I have no control over either one and can’t feel either one “on command”. But just knowing that they are genuine localities of connection with the “cosmos” helps me to visualize them and know what to strive for in practice.

    Incidentally one evening in class I tried to locate the energy centers in in the room with my eyes closed. When I opened them they correlated with yourself and students that had been to Costa Rica!

  10. Shawn C. October 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm #

    Hi Sifu,

    I can feel dan tian best if I don’t try to locate it to a particular spot. My mind just becomes kind of present within that general area, and then there it is.

    For me, it’s kind of like looking at something without trying to really look at it — like watching a wild animal you could scare aware by ‘looking’ too hard. I feel it pulsate as well, almost like dan tian is breathing in unison with my heartbeat.

  11. Suzanne October 12, 2012 at 11:31 pm #

    Sifu Anthony, This is another instance in which I had been thinking off and on -Hmm what is dantian? and you posted an article. I don’t feel dantian yet. I had also been wondering why do I yawn so very often when I am in one of your classes but not so much when I am practicing at home and your article answered this (I think) —your energy field (?) Your articles are full of energy!
    Thanks for writing/sharing articles. They are very helpful, enlightening! Suzanne

    • Sifu Anthony October 13, 2012 at 7:21 am #

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, Suzanne. To answer your question, yes, it’s common for students to yawn in class because I’m such a bore. Just kidding! It’s because the energy is flowing better in class. As for dantian, keep practicing, and you’ll get there!

  12. Geoff Busbridge November 6, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Great article!

    My first experience with chi at the dantien was a shock. I admit that when I started tai chi practise ten years ago it was for the martial arts aspect, not health or developing chi. On one class we were working on a variant of “Ocean Breathing” in a tall horse stance, the hands drifting in toward the dantien and out to the sides at shoulder hight in time with the breathing.

    Without breing told what I expect I spontaneously started to feel pushing and pulling sensations. As my hands were rising away from the dantien they accelerated away from the body as if pushed by magnets. When I brought them back down I. Felt the same magnetic force and had to “force” my hands closer.

    My instructor hadn’t warned me what to expect and I was a little freaked out at first. Then he reassured me that it was just my hands interacting with the chi at the dantien. Now it’s one of my favourite drills, though I don’t feel the push/pull anymore. I hope that means my dantien is bigger, not smaller!

    • Sifu Anthony January 19, 2013 at 9:04 am #

      Sorry I missed this comment, Geoff. In my experience, dantian actually becomes smaller, or rather more condensed, over time. The Qi gradually consolidates and compresses until it becomes exactly what the classics describe — a golden pearl of energy. Of course, the energy radiates out from the pearl, but the core, the center of that energy is roughly the size of a very large pearl.

  13. Ridwan January 19, 2013 at 8:46 am #

    I really appreciate your article .it has made me understand dantien can be found with patience.i only practise the 8 exercise qigong howlong before i can feel the dantien .

    • Sifu Anthony January 19, 2013 at 9:02 am #

      Hi Ridwan. It depends on the student. Some students feel dantian in a matter of weeks, but for other students, it takes years. Just keep practicing!

  14. Frank Anthony April 28, 2013 at 5:14 pm #

    First, i’d like to thank you for bringing such physical clarity to an often abstract and intrinsically superstition-rousing topic as energy cultivation. Most people counter my attempts to share ‘human energy science,’ as i call it, with the same sort of skepticism associated with spreading religious beliefs, as if im pushing a philosophy onto them rather than sharing a physical healing process that we all possess; and i assume that’s because it seems more spiritual than “real” to beginners since it’s very rare to feel the energy right off the bat. So thanks again for taking a non-secular approach to energy utilization, as i believe this is key to enlightening the majority. That said, I have a few questions you may like to weigh in on:
    1. I have been visualizing the energy meridians with my sense of awareness for many years, on and off (that is to say, without strict regimen or conservative teaching methods..mainly through meditation practice and brief qigong study), and i’ve come to notice where my blockages are located. I feel abundance in my extremities and an increasingly powerful collection in my lowest energy center at the sacrum (a past problem for me which i learned to improve through pelvic breathing, dropping the perineum on inhale). The dantian is sometimes felt, and also the heart and mind vortices can be felt with deep meditation, but i cannot maintain their density of presence in the active state of my daily life. I feel this is a source of negativity for me, as i associate abdominal function with vitality after having surgical work done below my waist line, causing much psycho-somatic inhibition during the breathing process. So my question is how to connect the circuit from my pelvis up through my abdomen and heart into my cervical area and of course the head? This is crucial, i believe, because i sometimes aim to cultivate energy to increase physical endurance during sport and ultimately feel a pain below my ribcage, as if the flow is halted at my diaphragm, not allowed to progress. So more specifically, are there exercises you could prescribe to open my heart and throat to release this abdominal pressure? Could it be solved through the intention of breath? Is there a specific way to visualize the energy above the dantian?

    2. Recently, just the past several months, I have been having strong feelings of vastly powerful negative energies that permeate my sense of calm (which is usually quite firm) with what i’m interpreting as messages of impending doom or just heavy skepticism/hopelessness. These feelings manifest rarely, once for example in the presence of a single person (whom my ‘spider-senses’ told me was morally perverse, inside and out…and i dont seek to judge, as i try to love all beings, i just have always been blessed with a precise spirit of discernment when meeting ppl for the first time that has yet to be proven wrong) and again in a crowded supermarket (less acute). Ultimately, i feel my energy conductivity rise exponentially, as if something is pulling at my energy centers, attacking my sense of spiritual strength. Average persons whom i share this experience with tend to liken it to having ‘panic attacks,’ but i’m not the panicky type so that diagnosis simply doesn’t persuade. And im sure this is due to a poor explanation of my symptoms, as it’s hard to communicate matters of non-material nature without sounding like a looney. I’d like to know if anyone has had a similar experience to this, or has any theories as to the nature of its cause, or has any advice on how to remedy the situation if it’s simply a malady induced by an unbalance in myself.
    3. Lastly, I’d love to hear feedback on whether you know any reputable teachers of energy cultivation located in NJ? My training is specifically targeting mental/emotional stillness for enhanced speed of decision-making, compounded with explosive physical power (locally concentrated in the feet and legs for sport-specific kick power), and of course expanding my ability to teach love and energetic abundance to those who suffer in ways they cannot or will not readily understand.

    Thanks again for taking time to practice the way of cultivation and to share your expertise with us ambitious learners, and im sorry for the length of this text! Please feel free to answer whichever questions you feel most pertinent for your level of knowledge, and which to omit at your full discretion. Thank you for any guidance you can supply, and my best wishes go to the progression of your endeavors and those of your students.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais April 30, 2013 at 11:55 am #

      Hi Frank,

      First of all, I assume you meant my “secular” approach to teaching Qigong, not my “non-secular”. Although I do teach Qigong for spiritual cultivation, it’s absolutely non-religious. In fact, atheists would be perfectly comfortable in those classes.

      I can answer all three questions in one go — you need to learn from me in person, or as a poor substitute, from my upcoming book. The secrets that I reveal in my 101 workshop (or any weekend workshop) will help you to open up the energy blockages that you talk about — the energy blockages along the front of your torso, as well as the energy blockages causing the “panic attacks”.

      In terms of finding a teacher, these articles will help:



      All the best,
      Sifu Anthony

  15. David September 4, 2013 at 11:31 pm #

    I am glad you posted this article, because I have been having a problem feeling my Dantian not long after starting practice with Shaolin Wahnam.

    I mentioned during one class before I left Florida that I could no longer feel my Dantian at all, I used too though, I felt it when I was still on the reading and practicing from Dr. Yang Jin Ming’s Chi Kung books. Both Posture and Sitting Meditation for Qi circulation was what I was practicing long before I met you Sifu Anthony, so about a year into going into classes and practcing I could no longer feel the spot I used to concentrate so much on for Qi storage. . Thing is I don’t know where I went wrong, and I still don’t.

    Many of the points I used to have a great focus on IE; Bai Hui, Temples, Dantian etc, I no longer feel. . . I am not tryng to point any fingers or blame, but I do want to find out why I can no longer feel these points any more. To this day in my practice I have to imagine the energy flowing to Dantian at the end of “Flowing Breeze Swaying Willows”, still I can’t say if the chi is flowing there or not, I can’t feel it, other than in practice of “One finger Shooting Zen” and “Flowing Breeze Swaying Willows (when the energy is moving me about)”. . That’s it. . This has been an on going problem almost from the start.

    Looking back, I think I am still confused on the breathing that is first taught. It’s Chest breathing at first? Is this correct? I have been using belly breathing from the start, that may be a catalyst for the problem but again I am not sure. . . Suggestions?

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais September 6, 2013 at 9:03 am #

      Hi David. First of all, don’t worry about the breathing. For exercises like Lifting The Sky, it doesn’t matter. Just enjoy your breathing. That’s what’s important.

      Feeling dantian is difficult for many people. But perhaps you didn’t “lose” the feeling so much as grow accustomed to it. In order for you to feel it again, you’ll have to jump to a new level. And then the energy will feel stronger, and you’ll notice it again.

      • David September 6, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

        A new level. . . I never thought about it like that. . Yes it could be. . . That it is a part of a transition to another level. In that case I will just ease my worries and just continue to practice. Thanks :).

  16. D. November 12, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Hello Sifu. I have been experiencing this since i was about 13 in taekwondo class. I have been able to manipulate a vibration feeling in my abdomen. its hard to describe but thats the best way i can think of and sometimes i can even focus it through out my whole body. One time i was focusing so hard that the two light bulbs in my two lamps burnt out simultaneously right when i felt like was expending the most energy. My friends laugh at me when i tell them this but i really felt like it was my own energy field that did that, and this was before i have ever heard of this concept. This article has solidified my theorys on how we all have an energy force that we have forgotten as a species and this kind of thing can do wonders for the world. people call me crazy but i think we all can tap into a universal source of energy that all living things are connected to somehow. but that might just be my imagination talking.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais November 13, 2013 at 9:56 am #

      Hi D. (I prefer if people use real names on here, by the way. It’s much friendlier.)

      No, it’s not all your imagination talking — there really is a universal source of energy that connects all living (and non-living) things. If you’d like to read some mind-blowing books on the subject, I recommend “The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe”. Here’s an affiliate link: http://amzn.to/13w7aAV

      Regarding your natural experiences of energy, I strongly recommend that you learn to cultivate and control your energy. It sounds like you’re a bit of a natural. That’s great, but you still need training. Find a good teacher, or come learn from me if you can. That’s my best advice!

  17. Alistair Stevenson January 7, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

    Before reading on please be aware everyone has my upmost respect and I kneel before you as your humble servant! And I do not wish to take anything away from anyone that they feel is beneficial to there development, but spiritual practice will only take you so far in the end that must be abandoned as well as it is not the truth, it only points to that what is! Is it not that everything is there to begin with? cultivating spiritual energy?, you could not exist with out it! There is nothing to cultivate, it is already there! You must feel not think I feel! become aware of the energy wether the core of vitality feels like the size of a pearl or like a singularity or the entire expanse of the universe, this is a temporal experience which is governed by ones perspective at that moment. Visualization techniques whilst meditating, controlling and manipulating the flow of energy around the body are only scratching the surface. How can you truly feel whilst your mind is distracted by some other activity, watching the breath, visualizing energy centers, manipulating the flow of chi round the body. I do not perceive how you can be at one whilst you are pursuing these activities. Now let me pass on what another has taught, look for it but it can not be seen, it is formless, grasp at it and you can not, it is intangible, listen to it and it can not be heard its name is silence, it is styled the imageless image or the formless form, the intense heat from the hottest star does not burn it, the deep cold of interstellar space does not chill it. Infinite gravity will not crush it nor infinite expansion tear it apart its is indestructible, better look for it within you! Feel the force!

  18. Horus March 17, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

    Hi Sifu Anthony

    I have followed my 3rd eye tube into my abdomen and had my whole sor-self infront of dantien – seeing it as a big glowing disk with black vapour issuing from it. Do you know what the black vapour is (the black may just have been the fact it was backlit and it was fairly dark in there)?

  19. Horus March 17, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

    typo correction – “my whole sor-self infront of dantien” should be “my whole core-self infront of dantien”


  20. D. Montano March 23, 2014 at 11:52 pm #

    After 7 years of studying internal arts, today I’ve finally found the internal sphere-hinge. It is amazing, and this article was written in such a way that that lends a perspective of real experience with it and some of its functional understandings. Unfortunately, even with correct posture and position typing at the keyboard, I have energetic movement beginning away from the dantian and the sensation is leaving me! Great article sir.

  21. Hana August 11, 2014 at 3:19 am #

    Dear Sifu,
    I would like to ask about Qigong during pregnancy. I am practising visualization of dantian as a gold pearl (lower dantien). When I was pregnant I was not sure if I can practise this meditation or not. I know, that I should not accumulate energy in there with qigong columns and trees foccused on the lower dantien… I really love this meditation, it calms me down (and I am also more resistant towards stress and my mind is clear and more focused.) and I really missed it during pregnancy. I can feel dantien only when I am focused on it.
    Thank you for answer and great article 🙂

  22. Karen February 19, 2015 at 9:53 pm #



    I have been doing Tai Chi & Qigong classes 2-3 times a week for the past two & half years. I have recently added Restorative Yoga to my weekly activities.

    Last week I had an amazing yet unusual experience which I’m hoping you could shed some light as to what actually happened.

    I was just dozing off in bed lying on my back when I saw a white light shining down on my Dantian & felt a lovely sensation. It only lasted seconds but I felt like I had a large white pearl in that area & I felt very light & floating. As fast as it happened it was gone!

    Any thoughts on this would be appreciated, although for me I feel it was a healing experience.


  23. Wing Seng Au Yeong April 6, 2017 at 6:31 am #

    Sifu Anthony, Please allow me to put in an extract from the blogg “voidisyinyang” on the location of the lower dan tien. Will appreciate if you can clarify whether the dan tien is behind or below the navel.
    Quote: Real Lower tan tien is Behind the Navel not “below”
    UPDATE: There is a false new claim on thetaobums that this blog is “ecstatic” about the real location of the lower tan tien. On the contrary (to the commentator not supplying references) I rely on solid references – a real spiritual qigong neidan healing master that I trained with, and then four other teaching references.

    Now I agree with what the comment states – that the lower tan tien “extends” – and even more so as the energy increases the lower tan tien increases. One might say that the real lower tan tien is a kind of reverse entropy spiritual center – a quantum relativized storage of information-energy – the Yuan Qi.

    But physiologically I think we can be more exact – as I detail in my “Idiot’s Guide” article – pinned on the top of this blog – so the real lower tan tien is the energy stored in the small intestines. The conception vessel is mainly the front vagus nerve – which runs both up (afferent) and down (efferent) the body.

    So the alchemy training relies on the left-side vagus nerve from the brain going down the front of the body as the “real” conception vessel channel. That is a more superficial or external level of training – as I mentioned Chapter 4 of building up the yin qi energy, from Taoist yoga: alchemy and Immortality. I give the medical and Taoist alchemy reference in my “Idiot’s Guide” article. So as far as the difference between the QiHai – and real Lower tan tien – it is one of degree, as the alchemy training reveals – yin qi or positive generative force is just “immature” yuan qi energy.

    As the energy builds up then the deeper (older unmyelinated “freeze reaction”) right side vagus nerve from the reproductive organs is activated going down to the heart – thereby opening up the middle tan tien via a deeper kundalini “real” small universe opening.

    This is why John Chang in his training emphasizes first building up the “Yang qi” or yuan qi in the lower tan tien and then it explodes when it meets the yin – which refers to the yuan qi, as detailed in the Taoist Yoga: Alchemy and Immortality book, descending down from the lower tan tien, from the Conception channel and then the yuan qi causing an explosion as it meets the yin – of the perineum – and then it goes up the Governing Channel as the real small universe meditation. This is guided by the spiritual light or Yuan Shen as an Emptiness immortal breathing experience – aka nirvikalpa samadhi.

    So again, once the yin qi energy is built up then the “real” lower tan tien is activated as also a real spiritual experience of the Tai Chi, with the Cavity of Original Spirit opening up, seeing spirits externally. This is the “first half” of the alchemy training – when the yin qi energy has been built up and the yuan qi is activated. After that a deeper serenity is required through fasting to further build up the Yuan Qi and Yuan Shen energy. As deeper yin jing energy is transformed into Yuan Qi then the light of the shen turns gold to create the Yang Shen.

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais April 6, 2017 at 12:02 pm #

      Hi there, Wing Seng Au Yeong. (Sorry, not sure which one is your surname there.)

      What you pasted seems to be out of context, and thus a bit confusing and convoluted, especially for beginners.

      In my experience, the center of the energy field that we call dantian is located a few anatomical inches (the width of your own thumb) below the navel, and a few anatomical inches inside from the abdominal muscles. That’s just the center of it though.

      Note that belly fat doesn’t seem to count into the equation, which is why I measure from the rectus abdominis muscles instead.

      Blogs like the one you copied from are, in my opinion, only for advanced practitioners. And those conversations are better had in person over a beer than on the internet.

      Try this: close your eyes, and bring your awareness to dantian. Now bring your awareness to the tip of your nose.

      If you can’t feel dantian as clearly (but differently, of course) as you feel the tip of your nose, then you need to keep practicing the basics before getting lost in complex theory.

  24. Ade May 13, 2017 at 5:04 pm #


    If you can explain to me exactly what the concentration of dantien means.
    I’ve seen some videos about qigong and at the end of the exercise all say that you should concentrate on the dantien.
    For me the beginner is not clear what exactly is implied under them.
    Do I need to imagine a gold ball in the lower stomach in the position where dantien is located?
    Is it enough to think about dantien in my head?
    How and how long does this concentration last, is it just a second, two or …?
    Please explain to me

  25. Ade May 19, 2017 at 10:49 am #


    I work the qi gong exercises for a month.

    I’ve been thinking about dantien all day…

    Why is this happening to me?

    I can not stop thinking about dantien.

    This is happening to me in the last three days.

    Is it dangerous to think about Dantien a whole day?

    Thanks for answer!

    • Sifu Anthony Korahais May 19, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

      Yes, you can stop thinking about dantian. Just stop. 🙂

      It’s not necessary to keep your awareness at dantian all day.

  26. Ade May 19, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

    I believe it will stop fast this is just a phase I suppose.
    I am interested if it is dangerous if it lasts for some time until it is stopped?
    Thanks for answer!

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