Our Hara is our abdominal center and our physical and energetic core. It is thought of as our life source and spiritual connector, and through its cultivation comes strength, wisdom and equanimity.
When we observe children, we see that they are quite naturally connected with their haras. Their bellies are relaxed and their breath is deep. They beam with an abundance of vitality, spontaneity and playful curiosity. As we move toward adulthood, we learn to distrust and to distance ourselves from the lower body. Western culture equates a tight “six-pack” abdomen with vigor and health, and a soft belly with laziness. The adult belly must be disciplined and constrained. “Chest out, belly in.”
To begin to develop our center, it is essential to first find it. Some ways to do this are through Asian bodyworks, such as Thai massage and Reflexology as well as internal development practices such as yoga, breathwork and meditation.
By bringing the focus of the mind to the breath and allowing the breath to drop deep into the lower abdomen, the mind becomes calm and there is a relaxed concentration. In these moments we find unity and balance; the split between body (hara), feeling (heart) and thinking (mind) dissipates. In these moments, there is no conflict and clutter. There is an internal sense of focus, clarity and ease.
It is no coincidence that Buddha statues typically represent a soft, relaxed belly and solid foundation in the lower body. The imagery of the Buddha represents the total achievement of what is possible for everyone — to be awake. To awaken is to come home. Home is where we start from.
We can spend so much time out of our body and in our heads. This disconnection can easily allow us to be triggered by life’s experiences, throwing our nervous system out. This can result in anxiety, stress or depression. “Coming back home” and finding balance is essential for our mental and physical well-being. Building in a weekly bodywork session, daily movement and mindfulness, alongside good sleep and eating habits can be helpful.