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Minor Cycle of the Universe (micro cosmic cycle) 小周天

by: Joe Hing Kwok Chu  興 國編譯 

Background of Minor Cycle

 The minor cycle of the universe (microcosmic)  and the major cycle of the universe (macrocosmic) are the basic foundation training of dao jia (Daoist philosophers), especially the minor cycle of the universe.

It was the general belief among the people who practise qigong that once a person could master the practice of minor cycle the person could solve many health problems.

It is difficult for the general public to read the old Chinese writing on these training, because they are coded to prevent outsiders from learning them. using those writings. The same physiological location of the body can be called with several different names in the same article to confuse the outsiders. For example dan tian 丹田(meaning the farm where the pills are grown) in the same article it can be called "he dong 河東 (meaning east side of the river),  or "huang ting" 黃庭 (meaning yellow court yard) etc.

Today many qigong writers make up their own version of the trainings. It is like the Chinese saying of "It is easier to draw ghosts than to draw people." because nobody has seen a ghost or very small number of people have had these trainings until the Chinese Government started to promote qigong in the late fifties or early sixties. Then all kinds of "qigong experts" suddenly appeared. Most of these questionable  training methods come from the thin air and can be harmful.  It is trainee beware situation.

The Training Method


The minor cycle of the universe (小周天) can be practised in standing, sitting or lying down.

If you can stand, standing posture is preferred. If you sit, sit on a stool. Sitting with legs crossed on the ground is bad for the joints and the circulation. It can also be  painful and distracting. [1]

Why do the old writings depict sitting on the floor with legs crossed? There were no chairs in China until they are introduced about 2 thousand years ago and only the wealthy had chairs. Of course, today you can pick up good chairs from the garbage dumpsters.

If you cannot sit due to health problem, you can lie on the floor or in bed to practise it.

Building the Qi in Dan Tian

Setting dan tian

Dan tian is an area where qi is gathered. Dan tians can be set at any location. In some qi exercises, they are on bai hui point (top of head), or yin tang point (between eye brows), or in the middle of the chest, or in the navel, or in qi hai point (1.5 cun below the navel) or in guan yuan point ( 3 cun below the navel) etc.

In this exercise, we set the dan tian at guan yuan point ( 3 cun below the navel).

Concentrate on the breaths. Focus the sensation in dan tian during the inhales. Practise at least 20 minutes in each session. After a few days you may start to feel the warm sensation building up in dan tian area. Then you can start to move the qi along the route as below.

The Route of Qi Flow

The minor cycle of the universe involves moving the qi downward along ren mai to the perinium, through the anus, to chang qiang point (between the anus and tail bone) and up the tu mai at the back. On the back, move the qi through ming men [3] (gate of life, across from the navel, on the spine), also through jia ji points,  to complete a cycle.

Start the qi flow after you feel the warm sensation building up in dan tian area. Then draw the anus up and send the qi through chang qiang point (between anus and tail bone), and up  tu mai at the back, going along jia ji, through  ming men, through dai zhui point (below the 7th cervic vertebra), through bai hui point, to the roof of the mouth, and down the  ren mai channel.


More to upload.

Ren mai (conception channel)

Du mai (governing channel)




[2] Jia Ji points are in the back, at both sides of the first thoracic vertebra to the 5th of  lumbar spine vertibrae. They are located at  0.5  cun from the midline, consist of 17 points on each side, a total of 34 points on both sides.

夾脊穴是在背腰部,當第1胸椎至第5腰 椎棘突下兩側,後正中線旁開0.5寸,一側17穴,共34 穴。

The first thoracic vertebra is the one below the 7th cervic vertebra (the large vertebra behind the neck)

[3] Ming men point DU4, GV4 is on the spine, opposite from the navel, at the middle line, in the second lumbar spinous depression. It is sensitive to pressing by finger.


cervical (neck) vertebrae

da zhui is below C7

[1] In the book Lamrim Chenmo (Step by Step to Bodhi) 菩提道次第廣論 written by Tsongkapa (15th century), the founder and grand master of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, it is suggested that if the legs are both folded, it would be a distraction. It is not advisable to do so. If one has a stool, then sit on a stool. But if the adepts are accustomed to the postures of folding both legs (full lotus position), it is acceptable to do so. What has Tantric Buddhism to do with minor cycle of the universe? According to some Chinese historians and the famous English historian, Joseph Needham, Bön is an offshoot of the original Daosim. The meditation of Bönism has a profound influence on the Tantra practice of Tibetan Tantric Buddhism, especially on the Nyingma sect (Red sect). Many lamas may refute that because Bönism was banned at one time in Tibet during the past.

[2] Yellow court yard: This term was commonly used in the northern part of China. When the northerly wind is blowing, it carries a lot of sand and dust from the Mongolian gobi desert and the ground is covered with brownish yellow sand. So, the court yards were called "huang ting", 黃庭, meaning yellow court yard.



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