The Body & Brain practice originated in Korea as a modern blend of traditional stretching, breathing, Kigong and meditation practices. The foundation of all these is a sense of energy. What is energy? We say that energy is the connection between your mind and body- the invisible but important force without which we cannot survive.
Energy is both material and non-material. In a sense, yoga, tai-chi, and meditation regard energy in a way that’s similar to quantum physics- basically- it’s complicated. Energy can be physical, emotional, and even ‘spiritual.’ If you’re looking for a key takeaway, it might be this: the mind affects the body, and the body affects the mind.
You might be wondering if energy is just an esoteric, mystical idea. In fact, Body & Brain is founded upon a highly developed systems of energy principles that have been studied and practiced for thousands of years.
Let’s go over some of those practical principles of energy so that can understand how the will help you in your practice.
Have you heard of the “three bodies?” You’re already familiar with the first one: the physical body. But we also say that there is 2) the energy body and 3) the spiritual body. Just like certain behaviors and practices will be better for taking care of your physical body, there are certain practices that are better for your energy body and some for your spiritual body. Through Body & Brain, you’ll learn to utilize a variety of simple techniques that are good for all three bodies.
Going a step deeper, we can say that the three bodies are powered by three ‘energy centers’ called dahnjons. The three dahnjons are chakras which are located in the lower abdomen, in the chest, and in the head. Most traditions describe a total of 7 chakras, but for simplicity, we’ll only focus on the three of them that we call dahnjons. The physical body energy is powered by the dahnjon in the abdomen. The emotional or energy body is powered by the dahnjon in the chest, and the spiritual body is powered by the dahnjon in the head. The colors associated with these three dahnjons are typically red for the lower dahnjon, gold for the middle dahnjon, and blue for the upper dahnjon.
There are also energy (or acupressure) points in the body: 365 in fact, as well as 12 major energy channels, known as meridians. Sound familiar? You might notice that these numbers bear a resemblance to a calendar- 7 days of the week (like chakras), 365 days in a year (energy points), and 12 months (meridians). This similarity wasn’t lost on traditional teachers- they often said that the human body and mind operated like a small cosmic system.
By now you might be asking, “So what can I do with this system of energy?” Good question!
Our modern world presents a variety of challenges to the average person. If you’re reading this on your computer or phone, chances are that you spend a lot of your time “focusing outside.” Whether it’s for work, entertainment, socializing, or even relaxing, media and messages can dominate our attention each day. Factor in the influence of our modern diet and physical activity habits, and it’s easy to understand why many people feel stuck ‘in their heads’.
To recover a sense of balance between the energy (emotional) body, physical body, and spiritual body, our first task is often to ‘bring energy down’ to the lower dahnjon. This is why, in Body & Brain classes, you’ll often hear the instructor guiding you to focus on your lower dahnjon. You’ll also practice simple grounding exercises that stimulate the legs, core, and abdominal organs. All of these practices can help to bring our attention, and hence our energy, down to the core. This allows us to ‘recharge’ the lower dahnjon and create a better physical condition.
Through the Body & Brain group classes you’ll be introduced to a variety of exercises that can help you strengthen your lower dahnjon. You may find that your body feels lighter, stronger and more flexible. A strong lower dahnjon can also help your mind to feel more centered and relaxed, and you may even notice feelings of greater confidence and conviction. Try to arrive 5-10 minutes before regular class to participate in a simple ‘dahnjon’ warm-up session before class officially begins.
If you’re looking to learn more about the principles and practices around creating a healthy lower dahnjon, ask about the Initial Awakening workshop. Initial Awakening will let you experience what it feels like to energize your dahnjon, as well as explaining more about the principles. Or, you can always ask your local Body & Brain instructor for guidance on how to do dahnjon strengthening exercises at home. Check out our YouTube channel for some easy tips and techniques to get started!