Wherever there is life there is movement, and it is the same with our living qi. If our energy is healthy it will be constantly moving, much like the currents in an ocean. These currents of energy movement in our bodies are known as the eight extraordinary meridians or vessels. We will look at each of these meridians in turn and then look at the combined effect of all of these energy flows.
The Microcosmic Orbit
The first extraordinary meridians we will consider are the central and governing meridians. The governing meridian runs from under the pelvis up the spine, over the head to the top lip. The central meridian runs from the bottom lip down the centre of the body and under the pelvis. When linked together these meridians make a continuous loop circulating around the body. Circulating energy in this loop is commonly referred to as the microcosmic orbit. In this circulation the energy rises from yin in the pelvis, up to yang in the head and then back down to yin again.
Another of these extraordinary meridians is the belt meridian. This wraps around the waist like a sash. Activity in this meridian ‘holds everything together’ much like a physical belt or sash would.
The macrocosmic orbit includes the meridians that run down the inside of your arms, the front of your torso and the inside of your legs and then up the outside of your legs, your back and the outside of your arms. There are four of these meridians that complete this circulation.
This meridian runs up through the centre of the body. The main branch runs through the centre of the torso from the bottom of the pelvis up to the centre of the top of your head. There are also branches through the centre of the legs and arms that feed into the main branch.
The Inner Dynamo
With one more facet of internal energy movement we are ready to put together an interesting picture of our energy circulation. This is the movement caused by the natural functioning of our internal organs. Looking at the front of the body this movement is clockwise in a circular motion. This is exemplified in the direction of movement of the large intestine, but also supported by the functioning of the other organs as well.
When we put all of these circulations together we have a very resilient pattern of energy circulation. This circulation is very similar to a gyroscope. There is an inner rotating flywheel (the organ function) which is also able to move in two more planes of motion (the microcosmic orbit and the belt meridian), and it is supported on a spindle (the thrusting meridian). Because this system involves circulation in three planes of movement it is able to take in and send out energy in any direction, which it does through the feeder flows which come in and out through the arms and legs.
Overall this helps us to understand the functioning of the movement in the ocean of our energy. We can think of our energy centres as moving pools of energy, spinning and turning in all directions and taking in and sending out energy as needed.
Week Four Homework:
- This week’s homework follows on from last week. As you practice your qigong this week focus on your lower dantien and imagine it as a spinning swirling pool of energy, circulating in all directions. With each movement energy is fed into and out of the dantien. When energy is fed into the dantien it causes it to spin faster and glow brighter. When energy is drawn out of the dantien it causes it to spin a little slower and dim a little as some of the energy is used.