If you are from an Indian background then it is likely you will be familiar with the concept of Dharan being out of balance. What is Dharan? Where exactly is it in the body? What is the purpose of this Dharan? How do you know it is out of balance? Why is it if you ask a doctor they have never heard of it? How exactly can you balance the Dharan if it does not even physically exist?
Also referred to as Nabhi, Navel centre and Solar Plexus, the Dharan is centred at the belly button. It is not a physical body part that can be seen or dissected, but an energy centre. Its effect can be observed by assessing the body and feeling for its pulse. When it is centred in place, you experience good physical and emotional health and a sense of vitality. Problems occur when it is out of balance.
Your Dharan may be misaligned if you are experiencing diarrhoea; vomiting or nausea; constipation; pain in back, thighs and calves; menstrual problems; low energy. The imbalance in Dharan can occur if a sudden movement has occurred in the body such as a fall or walking on uneven surface.
There are several ways of balancing Dharan. Here we will look at some self techniques that you can do to help yourself.
Checking for Balance
One way to check for imbalance is to relax on your back and press your belly button with the tips of all your fingers and thumb of one hand brought together. If you can feel a throbbing sensation under the navel, it means your navel centre is balanced.
Raised Leg Pose (uttanpadasana)
If your navel centre is imbalanced, then you can do raised leg pose (uttanpadasana) to help bring it to balance.
Relax, lying on your back. Keep your legs straight and feet together, lift both legs very slowly and bring them up to 90 degrees, hold, and bring them down again.
Slowly lift the legs up:
– lift to 30 degrees – and hold to a count of 10.
– continue lifting to 60 degrees – hold to a count of 10.
– continue lifting to 90 degrees – hold for a count of 10.
Gently bring the legs back down:
– gently bring legs to 60 degrees – hold for a count of 10.
– gently bring legs to 30 degrees – hold for a count of 10.
– gently bring legs back to the floor.
– stay focused on your breath and lower abdomen.
– do this with full concentration.
– you will know that you have the angle correct, because your body will gently shake.
– keep your legs as straight as you can, don’t worry if you cannot get them perfectly straight.
Do this just once. Then take a break. If the navel still feels out of balance, repeat after a few hours.
This posture should be avoided if you are suffering from high blood pressure, hernia or had recent abdominal surgery. It should also be avoided if you have lower back pain or had recent surgery of your back or spine, as it gives pressure to your spinal cord and lower back. This yoga pose should also not be practiced in pregnancy or menstruation.
The effect of the uttanpadassa in helping to balance the navel centre is increased if you also hold your hands in Apaan Mudra. Apaan mudra is formed when you touch the tips of middle two fingers with the thumb and keep all remaining fingers straight. This can be done for 10 to 15 minutes on a daily basis to keep navel balanced.
The physical body reflects what is happening emotionally. If your personal power is low, the physical body can go out of balance, which is reflected in the dharan being out of of balance.
Dharan out of balance can be a sign that you have given your personal power away and are being controlled by influences outside of yourself. You have been finding it hard to say ‘no’, and this has led to overwhelm and feeling powerless.
What can you do to take your power back? What is your ‘yes’? Where do you need to create boundaries so that you are not constantly overwhelmed?
With my clients I always stress the importance of taking a holistic approach, rather than just trying to sort it out physically. What I found was that when clients did not make the lifestyle changes to take back their power at the non-physical level the dharan re-balance would be a short lived experience.
There are several other methods including massaging the navel, balancing the pelvic and other yoga postures which can help. If problems persist despite self treatment it is worth seeing a practitioner who has knowledge in this field and can help you achieve optimum health and vitality.
As a physical therapist, I found gentle therapies to be far more effective at getting Dharan into place and keeping it in place, than aggressive massage and movement.
I have found Bowen Technique to be highly effective in aligning Dharan very quickly and is my therapy of choice when I am working with clients.
I always get asked “How do I explain to the therapist what Dharan is?”. I agree that that most people in the West will not have heard of this term, but a skilled therapist will be able to assess the body and bring it back to balance. Explain the symptoms and they will be able to work with this. You may also send them a link to this blog article.