A characteristic for the Japanese arts -alongside of Shiatsu, here in the West, the Japanese martial arts have become known- is an understanding and the importance of the hara.
Hara, the Japanese word, can be translated to "abdomen", refers to the physical and energetic centre of a person. Working form this centre out Shiatsu is practiced. Centring at the Hara allows the work of shiatsu to become natural, free from tension and exertion. Strengthening the hara therefore, is the core to strengthen the constitution of the exerciser. This centre of ultimate power enables ones actions to able to be performed in an unintentional, playful way- just as an apple falls from the tree when it is ripe, without the tree needing to do something.
A strengthened hara gathers all experience, and is the centre in which reside our deep capabilities and strength. It is the core centre of the body. As an example from everyday life, is the posture of a meditating monk or Buddha, whose physical centre is formed by the hara.
The figure of the Buddha expresses what everyone can find within one self: Resting in the centre of being between Heaven (Yang) and Earth (yin), uniting (seeming) opposites.
As centre of man-woman the Hara also forms the basis for an energetic diagnosis. The so-called Hara- diagnosis permits one to examine the constitution of the Organs and Meridians, and forms a possible starting and ending point of a shiatsu treatment.
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