Your “hara” is basically your belly–from below your rib cage to above your pelvic bones. It holds most of your physical organs (stomach, gall bladder, intestines etc.) and in Japanese thought and other spiritual philosophies, is considered the center of a Human Being. Perhaps because the Hara is home to bodily processes on which our survival depends, Shiatsu Practicioners also find it to be a powerful source of information about the flow of energy in that person in that moment in time.
The first time I cradled a Hara, back in 1987, was an unforgettable moment. I so clearly felt I was holding an entire Universe in my hands. What a beautiful experience that was. As I began to touch more Haras in the course of doing more and more Shiatsu, I came to experience how much beautiful variety there is in the Human Hara.
The profound uniqueness in each Hara echoes the infinite variety we find in our night time dreams. No Hara is like another Hara nor is the same Hara ever the same. The Hara is constantly changing as our Human-ness responds to life and attempts to become more fully self-expressed.
At the beginning of a Shiatsu session, the Shiatsu Practicioner checks the Hara where, according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), there is a ‘home’ for the energies for each of the twelve acupuncture meridians or pathways. One can imagine the Hara as a journey through the meridians. Each of the meridians represent physical processes in our bodies so we have the Heart Meridian, Stomach Meridian and so on.
Much of what I would like to share in Hara Harmony is the understandings and insights about the Hara that have come to me during twenty years as a Shiatsu Practicioner.
I will be coming back to refine and/or expand my discussion of Hara–since it is a topic that has entertained me since 1987! Hara Harmony blog posts will also be discussion the Hara as it relates to reading the energy of the acupuncture meridians in the Hara.