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Being in the Hara by W. Rappenecker

Thoughts on the meaning of the Hara in Shiatsu. 

During my first Shiatsu course my then teacher, W. Ohashi, emphasised the outstanding importance of the Hara within the body of the giver. This view became engrained in me and was for many years a kind of dogma in my Shiatsu practice. For a long time I would try to anchor my attentiveness as often as I would be thinking about it. It was frustrating to experience how quickly my mind would jump away again and occupy itself with anything that would randomly enter my mind. I quite simply was not able to hold my attention in my Hara. Only as the years went by did I realise that every attempt ‘to be in the Hara’ is doomed to fail as long as the body space doesn’t, at least partially, open itself up as a whole.

Slowly, I began to understand that our body is primarily an energetic space that can unfold its potential only when its various compartments and areas can communicate with each other more freely and easily, becoming quasi-wide. Only when this space experiences itself as whole, as being expansive and connected to its environment, can the Hara become a powerful centre. The Hara is, of course, the centre even before this state is achieved but it is a centre whose power and expressiveness is more or less strongly restricted.

Indeed, it is my experience that this centre will be more powerful as the space forming its energetic centre becomes lighter and wider. Vice versa, lightness and expansion can be experienced more vividly as the centre becomes more powerful. The power of the centre and the lightness and expansiveness of the space are mutually dependable.

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