1. The Chi (Qi) Story | 2. What Does Yin Yang Mean? | 3. What Are Body Meridians? | 4. What Is A Dantian? | 5. Wu Chi (Wuji) And Other Qigong Principles | 6. Microcosmic Orbit Chi Meditation
Would you like to feel at ease in your mind and body; energised and “on top of the world”? Do you want more life? Are you seeking spiritual grace? If so, then, qigong meditation (active or still) is a BIG step in the right direction, and one of the most valued chi meditations is the Microcosmic Orbit.
Why use Chi Meditation?
Every moment, life force energy or chi, is circulating around your body in a network of energy channels known as meridians. Chi (qi) nourishes and supports all of your organs and your body systems, and allows you to thrive.
Your network of meridians includes 12 main channels to circulate your chi, and eight extraordinary vessels to regulate the flow of energy.
In perfect health, vital life force flows strongly, but if your meridians are narrowed or blocked, then the chi can stagnate, and your mental, physical and spiritual health suffers for it.
The Taoist, Microcosmic Orbit meditation is a very effective technique for cultivating and clearing qi. With this process, you can influence the strength and movement of your chi by mentally directing, or meditating on, the stream of energy.
Creating A Circuit Of Qi
Two of the Eight Extraordinary Meridians – the Governing Vessel and the Conception Vessel – are believed to be particularly important because they feed all of the 12 main, yin and yang meridians.
They are used together in the microcosmic orbit meditation, to create a cleansing and purifying circuit of qi along the midline of your body.
The Governing Vessel (Du Mai)
This meridian connects all of the yang meridians. It reaches from below your tailbone or coccyx, up the midline of your back, over the top of your head, and down your forehead and nose, to your top lip.
The Conception Vessel (Ren Mai)
This meridian receives all of the chi from the yin meridians. It reaches up the midline of the front of your body from the lower pelvis to your bottom lip.
Both channels normally flow upwards, but since qi follows thought, you can mentally direct it to move downwards in the conception vessel during the meditation, thus creating a microcosmic orbit or circular flow of energy. This aids in clearing all the main ‘energy gates’.
What Are The Benefits?
The qigong meditation will grant you all the benefits that come with any meditation, such as:- decreased stress hormones; reduced blood pressure; better muscle relaxation; increased oxygen saturation levels due to deeper breathing; improved memory, and clearer thinking.
This special microcosmic orbit, chi meditation also…
- Balances your yin and yang energy
- Flushes out stagnant chi from areas that are most likely to block. Some of the areas where energy tends to stagnate are the following points: Wei Lu which is below the tip of the coccyx; Ming Men, or the gate of life in the lower back; the dorsal gate or Jia Ji in the middle of your upper back; the base of the skull or Yu Zhen ; and Bai Hui or the top of your head.
- Strengthens the flow of life force in the governing and conception vessels, so that they can either augment or reduce the flow in the other meridians.
- Opens up the crown of your head to receive Heaven chi; helping you to connect more fully to your inner guidance, and improving your intuition.
- Opens the gates at the Hui Yin and Wei Lu points, which may result in increased sexual energy and function.
How To Do The Chi Meditation
NB: Before you begin make sure you read the rest of this article, for important guidelines on doing this exercise .
Keep in mind that this is only one version. There are quite a few variations taught.
- Sit comfortably upright, with your feet flat on the floor if you’re on a chair. You may choose to sit in a Yoga position on the ground if you prefer, or lie down if you need to.
- Close your eyes and focus all your attention on your lower dantian (Shen Guan). The aim is to heat the “golden stove”, allowing the energy to build here before you focus on the other energy points in sequence (see the diagram below). This avoids overloading your meridian system.
- Take slow deep breaths into your lower abdomen, letting your belly expand as you breathe in, and pull back in slightly as you breathe out. It will probably take between three and twelve breaths to either feel increased heat or tingling, or to imagine a strong golden colour in your dantian.
- Gently tighten your pelvic floor muscles, and place your tongue on the roof of your mouth (see the guidelines below)
- Starting with Ming Men, focus your breathing on each point sequentially, in a relaxed way, This is not compulsory; you can start with Shen Guan if you prefer.
Three Tips For Doing The Microcosmic Orbit
- Imagine each focal point as a soft, ball of light, and see it expanding with the in-breath and reducing a little with each out-breath. You could also imagine a tiny pair of lungs at each spot if you find this more helpful.
- You may like to use a stream of golden light to connect the points as you shift your focus from one spot to the next. It doesn’t have to be golden light. You can use any colour that feels good to you.
- It’s a good idea to learn the sequence before trying the meditation, so that you don’t need to keep stopping, to check where to focus your attention next. It’s not necessary to know the Chinese names for the points. They are included for interest, and out of respect for the creators of this beautiful meditation.
The Microcosmic Orbit Meditation Steps
When you’re ready to begin, focus your breathing and attention on…
- Ming Men – the door (gate) to life in your lower back
- Jia Ji – the dorsal gate in the middle of your upper back
- Yu Zhen – the Jade Pillow, at the base of your skull
- Bai Hui – the crown of your head
- Yin Tang – your upper dantian, or third eye region between your eyebrows
- Tan Zhong – your middle dantian in the centre of your chest
- Shen Guan – your lower dantian behind and below your navel
- Hui Yin – perineum region between your anus and your genitals
- Wei Lu – the end of your tailbone (also called Chang Qiang); then back up to Ming Men, your starting point to begin another cycle. On your last circuit finish at Shen Guan.
Important Guidelines For The Microcosmic Orbit Meditation
- LIGHTLY place the tip of your tongue, against the roof of your mouth (there’s often a ticklish or sensitive spot that marks the connection point) and keep it there for the entire chi meditation exercise. This acts as a switch to connect the two channels, so that your chi can flow in a continuous circuit (the orbit).
- Slightly tighten your pelvic floor for the duration of this qigong meditation. This creates a subtle shift in the position of your lower back and pelvis, and improves the flow of chi through the two extraordinary vessels.
- Do three or six breaths at each point, depending on how much time you have available. If you haven’t done qigong exercises before, or any other energy work or meditation, see how you go with one or two breaths at each level first. This will prevent you from overloading your energy system.
- Do one or more full circulations of all nine points, but on your final round, finish at your lower dantian.
- Be gentle with yourself and never force the process. Do less or stop for a while if you experience increased tiredness, dizziness or pain.
- If the exercise doesn’t feel good, then don’t do it!
- To close this microcosmic chi meditation, place your hands, one on top of the other, over your lower dantian: men with the right hand on top, women with the left hand on top. Relax this way for a few moments and enjoy the feeling of peace and wellbeing.
Qigong Meditation – Simpler Option
Once you’re familiar with the location of each energy point, instead of breathing into each one, you can circulate the chi in time with your breath. In this slow breathing exercise, imagine a stream of golden light flowing up your back as you breathe in, and down your front as you breathe out. Picture each of the energy points lighting up as the chi flows through it.
I hope you find this Microcosmic Orbit exercise hugely beneficial.
To do this on a deeper meditative level without first having to practice meditation for ten years or more, take a look at “Peace Of Mind” Brainwave entrainment mp3 or some of the other amazing brainwave entrainment music offered here. Combining this exercise with these technologies can improve your experience greatly.
If you’re looking for qigong exercises to do at home, check out my qigong dvd reviews.
Thanks for joining me today.