The Small Universe (Microcosmic Orbit) is awesome. Whether you’re an intermediate or advanced practitioner, this technique has something profound to offer. Let’s dive into why it’s more relevant today than ever.
The Small Universe is a powerful and ancient qigong technique. I’ve written several blog posts about it, and this will be another in that series. You don’t need to read the previous articles in order to understand this one. In fact, this article might be better to start with. Nevertheless, here are the other articles:
- The Real Truth About the Small Universe Qigong
- 7 Secrets of the Small Universe Qigong
- History of the Small Universe
In the past, the Small Universe was practiced by a small number of people in China, and many of them were monks or nuns. Today, qigong is practiced by literally millions of people all over the world, and very few of them are monastics. The world has changed.
Is the Small Universe still relevant in today’s world?
Why would someone in the 21st century want to practice this technique? What are the real-world benefits for regular people like you and me? What’s the incentive?
I would argue that it’s not only relevant, but that it is even more practical today than it was 1000 years ago.
The Small Universe is a game changer for the modern practitioner of qigong or tai chi. Here are 13 reasons why:
#1 – Emotional Regulation: The Small Universe is surprisingly useful for harmonizing emotional distress. Once you get the hang of the technique, you can use the breathing methods even when you are agitated. Energetically, it also circulates qi through all of the organ-emotion systems, thereby smoothing out imbalances. As a trauma survivor, I have also found the Small Universe to be useful for healing (but you have to approach it in an trauma-informed way).
#2 – Better Mental Focus: The Small Universe requires a special kind of soft focus. The same focus is sometimes used in sitting meditation, but I personally find it much easier to implement using the Small Universe. I love that we get feedback in the form of qi sensations, which are helpful for measuring progress. For example, as you gradually practice the Small Universe, energy points like dantian, huiyin, and mingmen really come alive. The more they come alive, the easier it gets to focus the mind on the technique, and the stronger your mind becomes as a result.
#3 – Increased Longevity: This benefit is hard to prove, but we should not ignore the fact that past masters often talked about the Small Universe being the key to a long and healthy life. The Small Universe, it was often said, will help you to reach the age of 100. I’ll let you know in 49 years!
#4 – Healthier Meridians: The Du meridian is said to be the ultimate yang regulator while the Ren meridian is said to be the ultimate yin regulator. By circulating qi through the Ren and Du meridians, the Small Universe acts as a yin-yang regulator for the energy in the entire body. In other words, even though we are focusing on just 2 meridians, all of the meridians will get healthier. This is probably why past masters often said that the Small Universe would keep hundreds of illnesses at bay. This was a poetic way of saying that the technique will help you cultivate more health and vitality.
#5 – More Vigor: The Small Universe seems to increase energy levels beyond what other types of qigong typically offer. With practice, the orbit between the Ren and Du meridians eventually takes on its own momentum. This acts like an internal generator that produces energy as it circulates. If you’ve seen benefits to your energy levels with other types of qigong, you should see even more improvement with the Small Universe.
#6 – Sexual Vitality: There is a qigong technique specifically for sexual vitality called the Small Circle, which circulates energy from dantian, down to the perineum, up to mingmen (in the lower back), and then back to dantian. This small loop in the lower body is basically a baby version of the Small Universe. Practicing the Small Universe will give us similar benefits to the Small Circle, specifically: stronger orgasms, greater ejaculation control (for men), less sexual dysfunction, and deeper emotional connections before, during, and after sex.
#7 – Deeper Meditation: The quiescent nature of the Small Universe will enhance your existing sitting meditation practice, leading to deeper states of bliss and awareness. Or if you don’t have a sitting meditation practice, then the Small Universe will fill the void (even if you practice it standing).
#8 – Spiritual Growth: I’m no longer a fan of the word “spiritual” simply because it has been misused and abused for too long. Nevertheless, the Small Universe can help us to connect with something larger than ourselves. I’ve gone on some pretty amazing cosmic adventures while practicing the Small Universe, and you will too if you practice consistently.
#9 – Internal Power: These days, increasing your punching power isn’t super important, but it was life-or-death for past masters. The Small Universe was one of the biggest secrets in the world of internal martial arts. If this topic is important to you, then you owe it to yourself to learn the Small Universe. It’s hard to quantify, but I would estimate that I punch roughly 1-2 boxing weight classes above my actual weight. So for example, I’m a Super Welterweight (147 to 154 pounds), but I probably hit more like a Super Middleweight (160-168 lbs).
#10 – Fun: If we do it right, the Small Universe is a fun little internal game. It’s an exciting next step for those who have enjoyed practicing basic qigong techniques and are ready for a new challenge. My students have told me that the Small Universe opened up a whole new world of qigong for them.
#11 – Inner Alchemy: The Small Universe isn’t just about circulating energy; it’s about transforming it. In my articles on the 12 Dimensions of Qigong, the Small Universe falls under Transforming the Qi. In the world of Chinese internal alchemy, this practice is similar to the philosopher’s stone. It is said to turn your base energies into something more refined and more potent. If you’re interested in this kind of esoteric journey, then the Small Universe is exactly what you’ve been looking for.
#12 – Tai Chi Synergy: For those who practice tai chi, the Small Universe can act as a powerful complement. The principles of yin and yang, soft focus, and flow are common to both. When you integrate the Small Universe into your tai chi practice, as past masters did, you’re essentially turbocharging it. The flow of qi becomes more harmonious, and your movements gain an added layer of fluidity and power. If you’ve never felt a buzzing vibration through your arms and legs as you practice your tai chi form, then it’s time to learn the Small Universe.
#13 – Deviation Protection: when practiced well, the Small Universe is actually protective against qigong deviations. This idea is confusing because some people have experienced deviations as a result of incorrect Small Universe practice. How can both be true? Think of it this way. Strength training will protect our health in countless ways, but only if we do it safely. If we lift too much too fast, and if we use poor form, then we might end up injuring ourselves. On the other hand, with a better methodology, strength training will help protect us from falls, sarcopenia, heart disease, and diabetes.
How to Get Started
If you’re new to qigong, the best thing you can do is develop a holistic, daily practice using basic techniques. Obviously, I’m a fan of Flowing Zen Qigong. You can learn the basics of my system, including the 5-Phase Routine, in my book and the companion videos.
If you’re an intermediate or advanced qigong student who hasn’t yet learned the 5-Phase Routine, then I recommend you do that before learning the Small Universe. The 5-Phase Routine will not only protect you from errors, but it will enhance your benefits, no matter what style you are practicing. Again, the easiest and cheapest way to learn this is in my book.
And if you’ve been doing the 5-Phase Routine for a while and feel like you’re ready to learn the Small Universe, then click here to receive updates about my upcoming 12-week course.
The Small Universe is a profound practice with ton of benefits. It’s the perfect next-step for students who have been practicing qigong and tai chi for a while. It’s also a testament to the wisdom of our ancestors, and their understanding of the human body and spirit.
In conclusion, the Small Universe isn’t just an ancient relic; it’s a living, breathing technique that’s more relevant today than ever. In a world that’s increasingly chaotic and stressful, this practice offers a sanctuary of balance and vitality. Whether you’re looking to regulate your emotions, sharpen your mental focus, or even enhance your tai chi practice, the Small Universe has got you covered.
And please don’t let the term “advanced” intimidate you. The beauty of this technique is that it meets you where you’re at. I don’t think it’s a good choice for beginners, but intermediate students can start learning and the skill will grow with you.
From the heart,