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Joshin Kokyu Ho as Breath, Balance, and Being.
In the midst of our modern world’s chaotic tempo, it’s the simplest of human functions that often goes unnoticed – breathing. Yet, it’s this very act of inhalation and exhalation that holds the profound keys to balance, mindfulness, and serenity. Today, we delve into the elegance of the breath, its benefits, and how the practice of Joshin Kokyu Ho in Reiki resonates with our daily lives.
Consider this: when was the last time you truly paid attention to your breath? This natural, unassuming life force quietly fuels our existence yet often escapes our conscious awareness.
A frequent observation in spiritual practice is the paradox of simplicity and profundity, and breathing is no exception. While mechanically straightforward, the act of focused breathing fosters an array of profound benefits. It enhances physical vitality as energy (ki) follows the breath, reduces stress as the body and mind become oxygenated, invites mental clarity, and cultivates emotional balance as the Three Diamonds (body, mind and heart) find harmony. Yet, perhaps the most profound benefit is an increased sense of presence and mindfulness which is at the foundation of the Reiki precepts and the system of Reiki itself. As we bring awareness to our breath, we anchor ourselves firmly in the ‘now,’ away from the tempest of past regrets and future anxieties.
It makes sense, then, that to work with the breath is to improve our quality of life. So, how do we transform a typically subconscious process into an object of active focus? How can we implement this practice into the bustling rhythm of everyday life? The answer lies within the potent framework of a Reiki technique: Joshin Kokyu Ho.
Translated as “focusing the mind with the breath,” Joshin Kokyu Ho serves as a quintessential training tool to nurture breath awareness. Awareness is the mind. Although there is the physical ritual of the practice, its core concept connects us back to the natural breath. It enhances the focus, intention, and gratitude we bring to this otherwise mundane task. Once again we find ourselves working with the Three Diamonds. Here is one version of the Japanese Reiki practice of Joshin Kokyu Ho for you to try.
Joshin Kokyu Ho
1. Sit and gassho to set your intent.
2. Place your hands in your lap, palms facing upwards.
3. Breathe in through the nose. On the consciously ki-infused breath, breathe down into the hara in your deep belly below your navel. Imagine that you are feeding a ball of energy at the hara. This energetic center in our bodies can be viewed as a reservoir of tranquillity, strength, and grounding. When we consciously draw our breath towards the hara, we initiate a dialogue with this center, fostering balance and a sense of inherent wholeness.
4. Breathe out through the nose and expand this ball of energy with its sense of grounded balance and strength through the entire body, in every direction and out into the universe. This is the mind remembering its connection to the body, allowing the heart to expand to infinity as the body balances the Three Diamonds. It is the human body in pure balance mirroring the universe in its pure balance.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for up to 30 minutes.
While the ritualistic nuances of Joshin Kokyu Ho might seem distant from our everyday lives, it is the essence of this practice that we should seek to embed in our daily routine. Each breath, regardless of our activity or environment, offers an opportunity to reconnect with our innermost self, to cleanse and renew, and to anchor our awareness in the present moment. Try the following practice to see what I mean.
Joshin Kokyu Ho (Simplified)
1. Keep on doing whatever it is that you are doing right now
2. Bring your focus to the breath, this is your intent.
3. Notice how deeply the breath can move into the body while remaining natural and unforced without interfering with whatever it is you are doing right now.
4. Notice the breath release naturally and the stray emotions, mental tightness and physical body of the Three Diamonds release with ease along with this outgoing breath.
5. Once all the breath is released, notice the natural intake of breath again.
6. Repeat 2 to 5.
7. Continue doing whatever it is that you are doing right now.
The beauty of this practice is it serves as a gentle reminder that extraordinary insight often dwells within ordinary phenomena. By imbuing a simple act like breathing with intention and mindfulness, we touch upon a potent spiritual truth.
The act of breathing is our constant companion – silent, steadfast, and vital. Yet, it is also an exquisite teacher, whispering wisdom of balance, mindfulness, and serenity. If only we remember to listen.
By shifting our perspective on this act, we transform the mundane into the profound, the unconscious into the conscious. The rhythm of life takes on a new, richer cadence. We step into a state of being that is grounded, balanced, and vibrant. All it takes is a breath.