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Thread: Micro-Cosmic Orbit/Small Circulation/Lesser Heavenly Cycle

  1. #1
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    Micro-Cosmic Orbit/Small Circulation/Lesser Heavenly Cycle

    In this summary I try to represent what the Taoist circulation practices are in detail that have become known under a variety of names. I will from now on refer to them as Small Circulation or SC to ease discussion.

    Energy Anatomy

    (from http://kheper.net/topics/Taoism/circ..._of_light.html)

    The SC is about circulating energy along two energy lines. There are 8 special energy lines in the human body the Daoists call "vessels", because they can regulate Qi, store it to a certain degree, and are of a big importance to well-being. Two of the most important ones are the "Governor Vessel" and the "Conception Vessel".

    The "Governor Vessel" starts from the perineum, up behind the spine, to the crown of the head, down the face, and terminates in the roof of the mouth.

    The "Conception Vessel" starts at the tongue, down the front of the body and into the perineum.

    Together they make up the energetic circulation known as SC.

    Basic technique

    To practise the technique, focus on a given point on the circulation, for example the perineum. Now start moving your awareness upwards behind the spine like denoted in the diagram. And then down the front, doing a full "circle".

    The tongue rests at the roof of the mouth, acting as a connector of the circulation (in old times this was a guarded secret).

    The points in the diagram can be used as points to switch your awareness to if you cannot draw your energy continuously at first. Then simply switch your awareness from point to point, and the energy will follow.

    As the diagram indicates with those flaming nodes, everywhere energy is drawn upward along the spine, a hot sensation is expected, and when you draw energy down the front a cold sensation is expected. In this diagram this is attributed to the whole "Governor Channel".

    Safety points to consider

    Generally I would recommend not to force this process. Go gently and force nothing.

    Special importance was paid to three places on the circulation - the "Three Gates". They are at the base of the spine, behind the heart and where the head meets the spine (the "Jade Pillow"). These are three points where blockages and inappropriate force can cause the energy to run the wrong way - at the base of spine into the legs, at the back of the heart into the heart, and at the Jade Pillow into the brain.

    These points were considered dangerous, because they could do damage to the leg nerves, speed up the heart beat until it gives out, or damaging the brain.

    I will give you reasons why I think this is not as dangerous as it seems, while you still should pay due caution.

    If you are gentle, forcing does not happen. Also in former times the master would let an apprentice train other things like raising/storing energy for years before teaching the circulation, so right from the start a lot of energy would be moved. And IMO what adds to these dangers is forcing things and trying to be powerful, because that leads to ignoring natural signs of trouble.

    If in doubt, don't panic, sink the energy down to the Lower Tantien and below the feet to ground it.

    Why it makes sense

    It is said that normally a full circulation of your body's energy in the SC at natural rhythm takes 24 hrs to complete. So what you are doing here, like in many other energy work methods, is speeding up or putting more awareness into a process that is natural to your body.

    The effects of the SC are one of a cascade - first the two Vessels get regulated and filled up. From the Governor Vessel in the back the six primary Yang channels of the body branch off, and from the Conception the six primary Yin channels. These twelve channels affect your main organs and energy from the circulation overflows into them, unblocks them, and makes you healthy.

    Variants

    The variant depicted here is the so-called Fire Path. It is called so because it increases the Qi flow along the natural path, therefore increasing "fire" in the body. Reversing this circulation is called the "Water Path". It can be used to calm the circulation down and cool the body down.

    A third major variant exists, the "Wind Path". Here the spine, the "Thrusting Vessel" is involved instead of the Governor Vessel. This method is considered advanced, since spine and brain are directly involved, and therefore more risky.

    It is almost funny - Mantak Chia describes three tongue positions for the three paths, but not the three paths (with pictures) in his book, Dr Yang the three paths but not the corresponding tongue positions, so if you really want to be very precise, read both.

    Combining with Energy Raising

    Typically the method is combined with an energy raising method to the Lower Tantien, or for example "Embryonic Breathing". These techniques "build energy", and the SC "circulates it off", to clean the energetic system and make you healthy.

    Other ways to practise

    While SC is pure Neigong, pure "inner work", it can be combined with breathing patterns, either with two stops or four stops.

    It can also be worked by combining it with movement Qigong, like in the "Marriage of Heaven And Earth".

    It can also be triggered by breathing patterns without guiding the energy directly.

    Literature

    Mantak Chia, "Awaken Healing Light of the Tao" (Book)
    Dr Yang, "Qigong Meditation: Small Circulation" (Book)
    Bruce Frantzis, "The Marriage of Heaven and Earth" (DVD)

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    Thank you Korpo. You don't mess around!
    AD Pedia:http://www.astraldynamics.com.au/sho...abetical-Order
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    "Stop acting as if life is a rehearsal" Dr. Wayne Dyer.

  3. #3
    Korpo,
    online I found a very similiar method to microcosmic, except there is a little more emphasis on both channels (ascending + descending), this is pretty much what i've been practicing.. its like a mix of pranayama + MCO.

    tell me your thoughts


  4. #4
    TalkingHead Guest
    Thanks.. that was really helpful Korpo..

    One question; you mention the energy can be circulated with 2 or 4 stops. So if you were doing 4 steps... say the first step is to bring the energy up along the spine to the general heart area... Would you continue bringing the energy up during the OUT breath.. or just hold it there until your next IN breath.

    Thanks!

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    Since I currently have no internet at home, it will take some time until I can look it up. I generally do not circulate with the breath, only with the mind.

    Oliver

  6. #6
    harryb Guest

    Re: Micro-Cosmic Orbit/Small Circulation/Lesser Heavenly Cycle

    yes talkinghead, if you are doing the circuit in 4 steps, you inhale up to behind the heart, hold energy there as you exhale, then inhale it up over the top of your head to the third eye area. then (with tongue raised), exhale it down to the heart area, hold it there while you inhale, then exhale it down to your sub-navel area. i think the 4 step approach is useful if you have blockages or are starting out. once you are practiced, inhale in one step up to the third eye, then exhale in one step down to the sub-navel. breathing should be deep and relaxed.

    i have found a massive increase in effectiveness using robert bruce's NEW method while doing this route. the key is to try to feel the resistance of the astral body while doing this circuit - just focussing on each point on the circuit (as chia describes the technique) can make energy move, but it's way less effective (at least for me).

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    Re: Micro-Cosmic Orbit/Small Circulation/Lesser Heavenly Cycle

    anyone know how to do the macro-cosmic/greater heavenly cycle?

  8. #8
    harryb Guest

    Re: Micro-Cosmic Orbit/Small Circulation/Lesser Heavenly Cycle

    the macrocosmic includes the arm and leg routes.

    run the microcosmic a few times, then, instead of exhaling down to the sub-navel/perineum and stopping there, exhale down to the perineum, split awareness in two, and continue exhaling down the backs of the legs along the leg routes (more on this in a mo). finish exhaling with attention on the soles of the feet.

    inhale, bringing energy up over the big toes, up the shins and insides of the thighs to the perineum. join both routes to continue up the spine to between the shoulder blades. exhale and split awareness, taking energy down the insides of each arm to the centre of the palms.

    inhale, taking energy over the fingers, and back up over the backs of the hands and outsides of the arms to the back of the neck. carry on up the spine to the third eye. exhale, taking energy down to the perineum, split awareness and continue down through the backs of the legs to the soles again. continue.

    for more info, and to see the leg and arm routes, search for 'alchemical taoism' on yahoo (don't use google). the first site that comes back (the .com) has lots on mantak chia's system from people who have tried it.

    chia recommends using specific routes/moving energy along particular meridians only. i used to do that, but now i've incorporated NEW into it, and use much broader movements through the astral body. for me this is far more effective and allows much more energy to move, much more effortlessly. in fact, it was only when i used the NEW techniques that i began feeling warmth at the sub-navel like you're supposed to (and i've been doing this for several years). it's also good to prestimulate the palms and soles like rb recommends.

  9. #9
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    Re: Micro-Cosmic Orbit/Small Circulation/Lesser Heavenly Cycle

    I'm not fully convinced of Chia's idea that the arms and legs already make it a "Grand Circulation". Sometimes I have read that the "Grand Circulation" has to involve certain points (Dr Yang), and I think I remember to have read in another place that the practitioner needs to circulate energy of into the Heaven at the top of the head and back and off into Earth at the feet and back - therefore extending from the body's "microcosm" into the "macrocosm".

    Oliver

  10. #10
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    Re: Micro-Cosmic Orbit/Small Circulation/Lesser Heavenly Cycle

    It doesn't seem like anyone can agree on how to do the Macro version....unless, there's no one way to do it....

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