QM Week Five: Microcosmic Orbit

The microcosmic orbit is one of the most famous and most important energy circulations within qigong.  This circulation helps to balance the function of your autonomic nervous system, mind and body, yang and yin.  This meditation involves circulating energy through your Governing and Central meridians in a continuous looping cycle.  Refer to the notes sections below for the location of these meridians.

This Week’s Meditation – Microcosmic Orbit

  • Get into a comfortable position for your meditation
  • Begin your session with a few minutes of breathing in an 8:4:8:4 rhythm (refer to week one instructions if necessary)
  • You can briefly go through the previous meditations you have already done as part of this course at this point if you wish, or move directly on to the next step
  • Spend at least a few moments gathering energy into your Dantien until you feel a warm comfortable sensation of energy in this area
  • Lead some of the energy from your dantien downwards to your perineum (centre of the bottom of your pelvis) so that you can feel this same warm energy feeling there.  Keep your awareness here until you can feel the energy clearly in your perineum.
  • Begin to lead the energy up through your tailbone, sacrum and up the centre of your spine.  Don’t hurry this, just move your awareness along at the rate you can feel the energy progress so that it creates a continuous stream or column of energy.  You can use your breathing to help with this process if you like.  As you inhale encourage the energy to rise a little further, then as you exhale let it rest and consolidate at that point.  When you inhale again encourage the energy to rise a little further again.
  • Continue leading the energy in this pathway up over the top of your head, down your face, throat and centre of your body until it meets the point where it began in the perineum.
  • Once you have completed this loop, continue to move the energy in this circuit.  Again you can use your breathing to help with this if you wish.  As you inhale raise the energy up your spine to the top of your head, then as you exhale descend the energy down the front of your body to your pelvis.
  • Finish by bringing your awareness back to the energy in your dantien for a little while, and then with some 8:4:8:4 rhythm breathing.


The pathway of the central and governing meridians is depicted below.  The governing meridian is yang and active, the central meridian is yin and passive.  By linking these two together we create a virtuous cycle from activity to rest and then back to activity again.

Think of the meridians as quite broad streams which run a little under the surface of your body.  Take as much time as you need to complete this circulation.  If in a particular session you are not able to circulate the energy all the way through this circuit, don’t be concerned, next time begin again and you will often be able to go a little further.  It may take several meditation sessions before you are able to complete the whole microcosmic orbit.

While this may seem like a slow process, as you keep practicing you will be able to activate this circulation easily and very quickly.