Microcosmic Orbit (小周天)

The meridian or jing luo (经络) is a path through which the life-energy known as chi (气) is believed to flow. There are generally 72 channels of therapeutic importance. The most important and essential ones for the circulation of Chi, and for most therapeutic applications are the twelve Primary Meridians and eight Extraordinary Meridians.


The Eight Extraordinary Meridians represent the body’s deepest level of energetic structuring and are carriers of Yuan Chi (元气). Yuan Chi or original energy in direct translation from Chinese, is the ancestral energy (prenatal energy) which corresponds to genetic inheritance. They function as deep reservoirs from which the twelve main meridians can be replenished or drain their excesses.


The specific meridians belonging to the “ Eight Extraordinary Meridians” are:

  1. Du Mai ( 督脉, Governing Vessel)
  2. Ren Mai (任脉, Conception Vessel)
  3. Chong Mai ( 冲脉, Penetrating Vessel)
  4. Dai Mai (帶脉, Belt Channel)
  5. Yang Chiao Mai ( 阳跷脉, Yang Motility Channel)
  6. Yin Chaio Mai ( 阴跷脉, Yin Motility Channel)
  7. Yang Wei Mai (阳维脉, Yang Regulating Channel)
  8. Yin Wei Mai ( 阴维脉 , Yin Regulating Channel)

The  Du Mai,  Ren Mai,  Chong Mai and Dai Mai are the most important of the Eight Extraordinary Meridians. The functions of the Du Mai meridian are to regulate the circulation of blood and chi in the Yang meridians. The function of the Ren Mai meridian are to regulate the circulation of blood and chi in the Yin meridians. The Chong Mai flows vertically deep within the body and is most closely associated with Yuan Chi. The Dai Mai circles the waist, and is the only horizontally flowing meridian that acts as a belt to contain the other vertically flowing meridians.


Microcosmic Orbit


The Du Mai flows from the tip of the coccyx (near to the anus) up the spine, over the head, and ends in the upper part of the mouth. The Ren Mai flows from the perineum up along the front mid-line of our torso, and ends in the lower mouth. Bringing the tip of the tongue to the roof of your mouth generates a connection. This is yin and yang in practice, connecting the masculine back channel and feminine front channel. The front and back channel are joined to form a circuit of continuous energy flow. This is how energy was circulated when we were in our mother’s womb. This circuit is called the Microcosmic Orbit.


The Microcosmic Orbit moves energy in a circular motion up the spine, over the head, down the front of the body, under the torso and down to the Dantian. Also referred to as the small heavenly cycle or Xiao Zhou Tian (小周天), this circuit allows us to increase, recycle, and store reservoirs of chi in the lower Dantian.



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