Microcosmic Orbit

Last updated: 4 sep 2019 20:30

The Microcosmic Orbit is an energy loop in the body that runs around the torso and the head over the back and front. This page describes the process I follow when I do a Microcosmic Orbit meditation (MCO). The book ‘Healing Love through the Tao’ by Mantak Chia  is my main source of information.
This page will be updated frequently as I learn from the book.

I previously read Qigong Meditation by Yang Jwing-Ming but the book by Mantak Chia is far more pragmatic where the book by Yang Jwing-Ming seems more of an encyclopedia.
What is striking in Mantak’s approach is the unimportance of the breath ; in his view the breath should be ignored and should not be a distraction , one should focus fully on the body. Also , he does not use the pelvic floor muscle as does Yang Jwing-Ming .

The approach by Mantak Chia is to open each energy center that is part of the Microcosmic Orbit one by one. He starts with the centers on the front of the torso , this part is called the Functional Channel. This channel starts at the palate of the mouth , runs over the front of the torso and ends at the perineum. The Governing Channel starts at the perineum and runs up the spine to the top of the head , ending at the 3rd eye. Mantak opens the centers in this order:
Tan-Tien (belly button) , Kuan-Yan (bladder) , Hui-Yi (Perineum) , Chang-Chiang (coccyx) , Ming-Men (on back , opposite of belly button), Chi-Chung (on back , opposite to solar plexus) , Yu-Chen (cerebellum) , Pai-Hui (crown of the head) , Yin-Tang (between eyebrows) , Hsuan-Chi (throat) , Shuan-Chung (heart) , Chuang-Kung (solar plexus).

When all centers are activated , the Microcosmic Orbit is opened , clearing the path for a healthy energy flow and other types of meditation called inner alchemy.

Mantak recommends beginners to work no longer than 4 weeks on any single energy center at a rate of 15-30 minutes per day.

(All images from ‘Healing Love through the Tao’ by Mantak Chia )

These are the energy centers that are part of the MCO according to Mantak Chia , I have seen differences in this with other teachers :


Sit on the edge of a chair , with the sitting bones close to the edge. Keep the back straight but not rigid ,the shoulders relaxed but not slumping. The hands are clasped together in front of the belly with the right hand on top. (this closes a loop and prevents energy from leaking away)

There are three positions for the tongue ; they relate to different types of MCO. Mantak Chia does not mention them so far , but this site does. I try to maintain the A- or B-position.


Relax by taking 36 conscious , slow deep abdominal breaths through the nose. If you can hear the sound of the air passing through the nostrils , take it slower. It should be silent.
After that focus on the breath is no longer necessary. Maintain a calm and forgiving mental state and don’t follow thoughts.

Put a slight smile on your face and optionally practice the Inner Smile for a few minutes. Generate love and appreciation for your organs , this builds energy. When done with the inner smile , collect the energy at the tan-tien by moving your attention there. Then , move your attention to the energy center you want to work on. For me , this is currently the belly button (Tan-Tien) so I’m already there 🙂 . The energy will follow your attention , so do not try to direct it. This is an error I made in the past.

Focus on Energy Center

Bring your awareness to the center you want to open , in my case the belly button. Don’t visualize the belly button and focus on that picture in the head , but actually move your awareness to the belly button in your body. Become very aware of that place in the body along with any sensations there. Focus should not be with the breath , let breath go on naturally. Optionally , you can put a finger in the belly button and apply some mild pressure for a while of softly rub it. At the in breath , imagine drawing in energy through all the pores of your skin and imagine the energy being absorbed in the belly button center. Keep your awareness located in the belly button. Maintain a soft and forgiving attitude and should mind wander that’s okay. Just smile and return.

Finishing up

At the end of the session , regardless on what center you were working on , always collect the energy at the tan-tian and imagine it being absorbed or stored there. During that process , place your fist on your belly and make a rotating movement rubbing it softly over your belly. If you’re male ,make 36 clockwise movements like that , followed by 24 counterclockwise movements. For females it is 36 counterclockwise movements followed by 24 clockwise movements.
Slowly and gently become aware of surroundings and return to the here and now.