Microcosmic Orbit Yoga
The meridians are the energy channels of our body. This is where energy or chi circulates. There are two primary meridians in our body. One flows up along the spine. Other one flows down the chest bisecting the belly button. These two meridians connect at the base of the spine and are connected by sealing mula bhanda. On the other end they are connected at the roof of the mouth and by pressing the tongue flat into the space behind the teeth. By connecting these meridians we stimulate energy to move and flow within us opening blocked areas and imbibing us with greater power.
Meditation is one of the Five Principles of Yoga. It is the practice by which there is constant observation of the mind. It requires you to focus your mind at one point and stilling the mind in order to perceive the self. Through the practice of Meditation you will achieve a greater sense of purpose and strength of will. It also helps you achieve a clearer mind, improve your concentration, and discover the wisdom and tranquility within you.
Background of Microcosmic Orbit Yoga
This is the classic Taoist yoga method for refining, raising, and circulating internal energy via the ‘orbit’ formed by the ‘Governing Channel’ from perineum up to head and the Conception Channel from head back down to perineum. Activating the Microcosmic Orbit is a key step that leads to more advanced practices. Taoists believe that Microcosmic Orbit yoga fills the reservoirs of the Governing and Conception channels with energy, which is then distributed to all the major organ-energy meridians, thereby energizing the internal organs. It draws abundant energy up from the sacrum into the brain, thereby enhancing cerebral circulation of blood and stimulating secretions of vital neurochemicals. It is also the first stage for cultivating the ‘spiritual embryo’ or ‘golden elixir’ of immortality, a process that begins in the lower abdomen and culminates in the mid-brain. This is probably the best of all Taoist methods for cultivating health and longevity while also ‘opening the three passes’ to higher spiritual awareness.
Taoists often refer things in symbolic languages. ‘Opening the Three Passes’ is another name for this yoga method and refers to the three critical junctions which pave the way for energy to travel up from the sacrum through the Governing Channel along the spine into the head.
The Practice of Microcosmic Orbit Yoga
1. The first step is to still the body, calm the mind, and regulate the breath. With this settled mind, sit alone in a quiet room, senses shut and eyelids lowered. Turn your attention within, and inwardly visualize a pocket of energy in the umbilical region; within it is a point of golden light, clear and bright, immaculately pure. Focus attention on the navel until you feel the ‘pocket of energy’ glowing in the umbilical region. The breath through your nose will naturally become light and subtle, going out and in evenly and finely, continuously and quietly, gradually becoming slighter and subtler. When the feeling is stable and the energy there is full, use your mind to guide energy down to the perineum and back up through the aperture in the coccyx.
2. Steadily visualize this true energy as being like a small snake gradually passing through the nine apertures of the coccyx. When you feel the energy has gone through this pass, visualize this true energy rising up to where the ribs meet the spine, then going through this pass and right on up to the Jade Pillow, the back of the brain.
3. Then imagine your true spirit in the Nirvana Chamber in the center of the brain, taking in the energy. When this true energy goes through the Jade Pillow, press the tongue against the palate. The head should move forward and tilt slightly upwards to help it. When you feel this true energy penetrating the Nirvana Chamber, this may feel hot or swollen. This means the pass has been cleared and the energy has reached the Nirvana Center.
4. Next, focus attention on the Celestial Eye between the eyebrows and draw energy forwards from the midbrain and out through the point between the brows. This may cause a tingling or throbbing sensation there. Then the center of the brows will throb – this means the Celestial Eye is about to open. Then move the spirit into the center of the brows and draw the true energy through the Celestial Eye. If you see the eighteen thousand pores and three hundred and sixty joints of the whole body explode open all at once, each joint parting three-tenths of an inch, this is evidence of the opening of the Celestial Eye. This is what is meant when it is said that when one pass opens all the passes open, and when one opening is cleared all the openings are cleared.
5. You may wish to stay and work with this point for a few minutes, before letting energy sink down through the palate and tongue into the throat to the heart. This may feel as though there is cool water going down the Multistoried Tower of the windpipe. Do not swallow; let it go down by itself, bathing the bronchial tubes. Then the vital energy will bathe the internal organs and then return to the genitals. This is what is called return to the root.
6. From the heart, draw it down through the Middle Elixir Field in the solar plexus, past the navel, and down into the Ocean of Energy reservoir in the Lower Elixir Field, where energy gathers, mixes, and is reserved for internal circulation. Then begin another cycle up through the coccyx to the mid-spine behind the heart and up past the Jade Pillow into the brain.
7. Breathe naturally with your abdomen, and don’t worry whether energy moves up or down on inhalation or exhalation; coordinate the flow of breath and energy in whatever manner suits you best. However, if you reach the stage where you can complete a full Microcosmic Orbit in a single breath, it’s best to raise energy up from coccyx to head on exhalation and draw it down from Upper to Lower Elixir Field on inhalation.
If you practice this way for a long time, eventually you can complete a whole cycle of ascent and descent in one visualization. If you can quietly practice this inner work continuously, whether walking, standing still, sitting, or lying down, then the vital energy will circulate within, and there will naturally be no problem of leakage. Chronic physical ailments, Taoists believe, will naturally disappear.
Also, once the inner energy is circulating, the breath will naturally become fine, and the true positive energy of heaven and earth will be inhaled by way of the breath and go down to join your own generative energy. The two energies will mix together, both to be circulated by you together, descending and ascending over and over, circulating up and down to replenish the depleted true energy in your body.
This true energy harmonizes and reforms, so that the vital fluids produced by the energy of daily life again produce true vitality. When true vitality is fully developed, it naturally produces true energy, and when true energy is fully developed it naturally produces our true spirit.
If you have any physical problems or discomforts in a particular section of your body, focus your energy at the pass closest to the discomfort and let it throb there for a while. This will help heal and rejuvenate the injured tissues. For example, if you have pelvic problems, focus energy on the coccyx pass; for lower-back pain focus on the lowest lumbar vertebra just above the sacrum; for upper-back and shoulder pain focus on the fifth thoracic vertebra, and so forth. This Meditation may also cause the head to rock or the body to tremble, which, Taoists believe, are signs of progress.