10 ways to cultivate the hara

“Hara” = Japanese word for belly, abdomen, stomach, lower abdomen. Used in Japanese admonitions like, “Be strong!” or “Follow your instinct!”

  1. Use the hara as a centering point when weightlifting, doing yoga, running or cycling. Feel how the strength and power of your limbs increases as you pay the hara more attention — and feel how the opposite happens when you wish it would disappear. 

  2. Rub your belly in a clockwise motion to calm anxiety. 

  3. If you keep zoning out from someone in a conversation, imagine a wool string running from your belly to theirs.

  4. Lightly touch your belly button and feel your connection to your mother. This can be your birth mother, adoptive mother, mother figure or Mother Earth.

  5. Notice how being centered in your hara automatically gives you better posture. No need to force your head up or shoulders back. Let your hara naturally bring your upper and lower body into harmony.

  6. Nourish your microbiome — and therefore your hara, immune system and brain — with diverse foods and beneficial probiotics.

  7. Stand outside, close your eyes, and feel the sun pouring down on you from above, and the earth nurturing you through your feet. Imagine the hara swirling these two energies together.

  8. Next time you have to make an important decision, place your palm on your hara and listen.

  9. If you catch yourself slumped on the couch watching Netflix, check in with your hara and adjust your posture so that the hara has room to breathe. Alternate the way you sit.

  10. As you lie in bed at night, place your hands on your hara and send healing energy to someone you care about. You can also send this energy to an area of the earth you care about.

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