Small Heaven Circulation
Small Heaven Key Points And Channels
Of the eight extraordinary meridians in the body, two main channels; the ‘Ren Mai’ channel and ‘Du Mai’ channel are considered highly significant in Taoist meditation.
The ‘Du Mai channel’ or ‘Governing Vessel’ is the Yang channel running downward, however in the Small Heaven practice, it is run upward from the perineum to the crown and down to the just above the upper lip.
The ‘Ren Mai channel’ or Conception Vessel is the Yin channel that runs upward , however in the Small Heaven practice, it is run downward from just below the lower lip from to the perineum.
Small Heaven Advanced Practice
- Begin the standard 3 adjustments before mediation:
- Adjust the posture & relax: Go beyond superficial relaxation and slowly relax beginning with skin and external muscles tissue, gradually penetrating deeper into each limb and every part of the body, guiding Qi from the outer, toward the inner body. Graduate deeper and deeper into the muscles and internal organs, brain, nervous system, etc. Go deeper into the bones and to the point of relaxing and drawing Qi into the bone marrow.
- Focus the mind: Focus at the Xia (Sha) Dantien, the lower abdomen and prepare to concentrate and direct your intent at the points or meridians to be narrated.
- Regulate your breath: Begin breathing smooth, slow, long, thin, and deep. Keep the breath silent if possible and continuous. If your mind is directed to be focused on the lower Dantien, breathe into the chest and exhale out guiding Qi down to the Xia Dantien. Draw the lower abdomen inward toward the spine on the inhale and expand the lower abdomen outward on the exhale.
(Outlined further in Jing Gong Practice)
- Reminder: Keep the eyes closed, the head and body straight but relaxed. The head is as if it was lifted by a thread and the tongue is touching the upper palate connecting the Du Mai and Ren Mai channels. This technically would be a part of the first adjustment in preparation for Small Heaven practice.
- Store the Qi into the lower Dantien. Before circulating the Qi up the Du Mai channel and down the Ren Mai channel, it is important to have significant Qi stored in the lower Dantien. When there is an abundance of Qi in the lower Dantien, then the Qi will naturally move through the Small Heaven circle as a lake flowing into its adjacent river. Guiding Qi to the lower Dantien and using breath to guide the Qi into the Dantien as described above (c. Regulate your breath) helps to develop abundant Qi in this channel.
- Begin Practice of Small Heaven (A recording with a singing or chanting of the key energy gates in the Small Heaven circulation practice is highly recommended).
Directing Your Focus On The Key Energy Gates
- Xia Dantien (Pronounced “Sha Dawn-Tien”) – Lower Abdomen: Guide your mind at the lower abdomen, about 1.6 inches below the navel and 2/3 the way in toward the spine.
- Hui Yin (Pronounced “Way Yin”) – Perineum: Guide the Qi down the Ren Mai channel (Yin) tracing the pathway from Xia Dantien to Hui Yin. Sense the Qi in the Hui Yin or the perineum located centrally between the sex organ and the rectum directly straight down from the top of the head .It is the opposite pole of the Bai Hui point.
- Wei Lu (Pronounced “Way Loo”) – Tailbone: Guide the Qi up the Du Mai channel (Yang) tracing the pathway from Hui Yin to Wei Lu. Become aware of and sense the tailbone. As we began guiding the Qi upward from the perineum point, we switched from the Du Mai channel to the Ren Mai channel.
- Ming Men – Lower Back: Guide the Qi up the Du Mai channel (Yang) tracing the pathway from Wei Lu – Tailbone, to Ming Men – Lower Back (opposite Xia Dantien Point).
- Da Zhui (Pronounced “Dajh-Way”) – Base of Neck: Guide the Qi up the Du Mai channel (Yang) tracing from Ming Men – Lower Back to the Da Zhui – Base Of The Neck. This is the big bone at the base of the neck, vertebrae C-7.
- Yu Zhen – (Pronounced “You Jen”) – Under Base of Skull: Guide the Qi up the Du Mai channel (Yang) tracing from Da Zhui – Base Of The Neck to the Yu Zhen – Base of Skull. This is located at the base of the skull opposite point of the third eye.
- Bai Hui (Pronounced “By Way”) – Top of Head: Guide the Qi up the Du Mai channel (Yang) tracing from Yu Zhen – Under Base of Skull to the Bai Hui – Top of Head. This is located on the soft fontanel in with the back of the ears to the top of the head.
- Shang Dantien (Pronounced “Shong Dan Tien”) – Forehead: Guide the Qi down the Du Mai channel (Yang) tracing from Bai Hui – Top of Head down to the Shang Dantien – Forehead.
- The Qi is then guided down from the forehead straight down the middle of the face and descends from under the lower lip down the Ren Mai channel (Yin) down the neck and down to the heart.
- Zhong Dantien (Pronounced “Joong Dan Tien”) – Heart; Center Of Chest Between Two Nipples: Guide the Qi down the Du Mai channel (Yin) to the Shang Dantien – Heart.
- Return to the Xia Dantien and continue.
- As you progress you may draw the Qi in one breath from the Hui Yin (perineum) to the Bai Hui (top of head), then exhale from the Bai Hui to Hui Yin.
- At the end of practice, return your mind to Xia Dantien and concentrate there for a while
- Slowly open your eyes. Rub the palms together. Massage your ears and back of the neck. Begin patting the body down the outside then the inside of the arms. Pat down the outside of the legs, and then the inside of the legs. Pat down the shoulder, chest, and abdomen. Perform closing movements.
Afterward you may begin practice circulating the Qi up the Du Mai channel in a single breath beginning from the Hui Yin point at the perineum and inhaling from Hui Yin and drawing the Qi up to the Crown Point called Bai Hui. Then exhale from Bai Hui down to Hui Yin and repeat.
Finally, draw you attention back to the Xia Dan Tien, keeping your breath and concentration in Xia Dantien for a few minutes at least. Complete the practice with the closing form for returning the Qi to the external body and grounding yourself (Study “Closing Form” first).
Note: It is highly recommended that you become proficient with Small Circle first before you begin Small Heaven. Small circle is similar except the circle ends at Ming Men (the lower back) and crosses over at the diaphragm.
Performing The Small Circle:
- Begin the same preparation and directives as with Small Heaven.
- After you pass the Mingmen point, CROSS over at the back of the diaphragm where the spine meets the lower ribs to the front of the body at the diaphragm.
- Circle down to the Xia Dantien and continue as with Small Heaven except go only to the cross over point and then circle downward. When you have built up a strong force in the lower circle, then it is recommended to begin the Small Heaven circle.
The Three Dantiens:
- The lower Dantien (Xia Dantian) is considered to be the major powerhouse, or battery, for storing Qi. The lower Dantien is the prime focal point for qigong exercise and meditation practice and the seat of power, vital essence relating to your kidneys and lower vital organs
- The middle Dantien (Zhong Dantian) is associated with love, kindness and compassion and your soul or spirit; it correspinds the heart, lungs and the thymus gland.
- The upper Dantien (Shang Dantian) is above the bridge of your nose, behind your forehead, and in the region referred to as your third eye. It is associated with your pineal gland, intuition, and higher consciousness.
Brief History Of The Small Heaven Meditation
The history of the Small Heaven Meditation dates back to prehistoric times in China, and the underlying principles can be found in the I Ching. Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu have also alluded to the technique of this meditation, encouraging circulation of energy through theses “psychic” meridians in their writings.
A stone carving in the White Cloud Temple in Beijing contains a pictorial representation of some of the symbols which describe the processes involved in the microcosmic orbit meditation technique. These particular techniques are derived from the Taoist Patriarch Lu Tung Pin who was born in 798 AD. Lu Tung Pin was one of the Eight Immortals from the Taoist tradition.
Understanding The Governing Vessel and Conception Vessel
The Governing Vessel and Conception Vessel are the main rivers of the body’s Yin and Yang energies. They are polar aspects of the body, perfectly complementary, like midnight and midday. These vessels are formed during the first cellar division forming left and right sides.
At the time of conception during the first cell division, the primary Yin and Yang meridians of the body or the Governing Vessel and Conception Vessel are formed. The Yin meridian is infused by the Mother and the Yang meridian is infused by the Father. These are the two polar energies; feminine & masculine energy, internal & external energy, etc., that work in harmony with each other and they come together to form the human.
- The Du channel feeds and nourishes the Yang organs and the Yang acupuncture channels and the Ren channel feeds and nourishes the Yin organs and the Yin acupuncture channels.
- Normally the Qi circulates in counterclockwise in these two channels together. In order to achieve longevity and health benefits and increased awareness, Taoist reverse the direction of the Qi flow in a clockwise direction in these two channels together.
- Circulating Qi in these two channels are the first important goals in Qigong and Tai Chi. Known as the “Small Heaven” circulation.
- Circulating Qi on these channels in the opposite direction will bring health, remove trauma from birth and circumstances, and blockages in general.
- Clearing blockages along these channels is key to health and awakening.