A student recently asked about all the different terms I was using after one of my Meditations in a Facebook Live event. It seems I have forgotten that people beginning their journey are unfamiliar with all this terminology! My apologies. Therefore, I will explain each of them here for your use. You can easily look them up for more depth of understanding. Click on the links for Wikipedia's definitions.
There are two divisions of the autonomic nervous system:
Sympathetic nervous system - this is your "fight or flight" biological response to danger. Being in this state for long periods of time can tax your kidneys and tire you out. We operate at this state at times of intense activity and movement.
Parasympathetic nervous system - this is the calming state you want to achieve during meditation. This can be reached and controlled by exhaling at longer time intervals than you inhale.
Dantian - This is an energy (Qi) center akin to the Chakras in Yoga. There are three Dantians - upper, middle and lower. The upper Dantian is akin to the Ajna or third-eye center, a spot between the eyebrows. The middle Dantian is the heart (or heart chakra known as Anahata). The lower Dantian is the just below the navel akin to the Svadhishthana chakra or sacral chakra. Each Dantian serve a purpose. The lower Dantian is mentioned most often in Chinese Martial Arts, Qigong and TaiChi and is connected to the conception vessel. It is viewed as the root of Life.
Microcosmic Orbit - This is a Tao Yin Qi energy cultivation technique that can be used time and again to gather the energy to our main channels. The orbit begins from the upper Dantian, traces down your front center line underneath your sacrum and tailbone, traces up your spine to your head and above and around your forehead back to your upper Dantian. I refer to this technique through many of my meditations. When practiced enough, it can become second nature and very powerful especially in times of low energy. This technique requires intention (Yi) of the energy (Qi) in order to work. But just like any Taoist practice, where the Yi goes, the Qi flows.
Yi - Intention.
Qi - Energy or vital force.
If there are other terms you would like to see explained here, please let me know and I will update this page.
In Good Qi,