Q&A with Joy: Does Reiki Practice Make Anapanasati Easier?

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutes

Mindfulness of Breathing in Reiki Practice

Someone interested in Komyo Reiki contacted me, asking how the Buddhist practice of anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) fits in with Reiki. The question asked was, “Does Reiki practice make anapanasati easier?” My answer describes instead how anapanasati makes Reiki easier.

View from Komagatake by Hiroshi Yoshida.

The question:

Hello. I became interested in Komyo Reiki. I realize that the Buddhist practice of anapanasati is embedded into your particular style and I wanted to ask a few questions about how it fits into your reiki meditations. I’ll list them out below:

1) Do you find that reiki practice makes anapanasati easier or more effective?

2) Approximately how much longer does daily meditation practice take with Hatsurei ho and the addition of anapanasati?

Thank you.

My answer:

Hi! Thanks for contacting me. I don’t have training in Buddhist meditation techniques, so I’m not sure I can fully address your questions. However, I do like to start a meditation by bringing awareness to the breath and how it flows through the body. In my experience, this helps people get out of their heads, so to speak, and more in tune with, and grounded into, the physical body.

Part of basic Reiki meditation, as taught in some lineages, is to build energy in the hara, or belly. When people attempt this from a mental level, they tend to be less likely to experience it. If I can guide them to switch their awareness from thoughts to feeling, then they can more easily perceive the presence and flow of the energy through the body. Eventually this results in learning to concentrate and build the energy in the hara. Practicing awareness of the breath helps switch from thoughts to feeling. And energy flows on the breath, so feeling the breath leads to feeling the energy.

Does Reiki Practice Make Anapanasati Easier?

Does Reiki practice make anapanasati easier? I use breathing mindfulness to make Reiki easier and more effective, not the other way around. If you already practice anapanasati and then learn Reiki, I’m not sure what result you would see. You’ll have to let me know!

how much longer does daily meditation practice take When adding Mindfulness of Breathing?

I only take a minute or two to transition from the everyday non-meditative state into jôshin kokyû hô. (Jôshin kokyû hô is the breathing meditation that makes up the majority of the hatsurei hô practice). I make this transition using a combination of practices. Breathing awareness is one practice, gasshô (hands together in prayer position) is one, reading waka (Japanese poetry) is one, mokunen (silent intention) is one, and so forth. None of these need to take very long, and most are part of the practice of hatsurei ho anyway, so they don’t technically “add” time.

But in my practice, the breathing awareness is only for a few seconds until I feel the flow of energy. When I’m leading a non-Reiki practitioner in meditation, or a group of Reiki students, I will spend one to two minutes until I feel the group energy shift. So at most it only adds a couple of minutes to the main meditation practice. Again, I’m not teaching breathing awareness as a meditation in itself, only as a transition into Reiki practices.

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Joy Vernon
Joy Vernon is widely recognized as an expert tarot teacher and respected community leader. With over twenty-five years’ experience teaching energetic and esoteric modalities, Joy brings expertise and practiced familiarity to her specialty of esoteric tarot, which layers astrological and qabalistic symbolism onto the traditional tarot structure. Under her leadership, the Denver Tarot Meetup grew into one of the largest and most active tarot-specific meetups in the world. Now Joy runs the Greater Seattle Tarot Meetup. Joy works as a tarot reader, astrologer, and teacher in Burien, Washington. To learn more, please visit JoyVernon.com.

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