5 ways deep BREATHING can benefit your Reiki sessions

My lungs and I spent many years battling: I had asthma as a child and smoked in my 20s. When I practiced yoga, I was the person in the room who teachers addressed when they said, "Remember to breathe!"
When I started practicing Reiki, this changed. First, during my meditation practice—I had to work with my breath to build qi, which then translated into my sessions. Being aware of my breath really transformed my practice. How? 

1) Being one with my breath keeps me centered. No more, "Is this the right position? Is the person feeling it? What does that sensation in my left hand means? Is this a weird place to put my hand?" When you are one with your breath, it's almost like white noise: you create a peaceful space in which doubts have a tougher time disrupting your session. 

2) Clearer boundaries. When you are aware of your breath, it's easier to maintain healthy boundaries between client and practitioner, reducing (and with practice) eliminating that feeling of being drained or exhausted after a session. (Keeping your eyes open is also key!)

3) No labeling. When practicing a Reiki session, you follow the sensations but are not supposed to label or judge them. When you are busy breathing with awareness, it's a lot easier to let go of that instinct to classify.

4) Your session becomes more intense (in a good way). In many spiritual practices, breathing builds life energy (prana/chi/qi). The same happens in Reiki, where the ki part stands for life force. Try taking a deep breath all the way into your diaphragm/hara and then exhale slowly through your mouth: feel what happens to your hands. Notice the difference? That's what I mean.

5) Breathing keeps the little Napoleon inside at bay. During my practice, especially at the beginning, I had this little Napoleon that would pop out (hey, I was born in Europe.) He would say stuff like, "Way to go, girl, you are good, look how warm your hands are!" The shame I felt after these thoughts was so intense it disrupted my whole practice. I tried fighting my inner Napoleon, but it only made him sneakier. Breathing, however, brought calm and acceptance. As soon as he starts talking, I breathe deeply and remain centered in the now and connected to the right kind of oneness. 

 

Nathalie Jaspar is the co-founder at Natky927 Wellness Collective, a group of professional Reiki practitioners supported by life coaches, clinical herbalists and yoga teachers in New York City and Miami.  

5 questions to ask when choosing a Reiki practitioner

How do you choose a #Reiki practitioner among dozens that are offering their services. Here are 5 questions that can help you make a decision.

1) How can Reiki help me?
Beware of miracle claims or sentences involving power. Although Reiki promotes relaxation and balance and can provide you with many benefits, it won’t fix your life in one or two sessions. The answer will also give you a peek of the practitioner’s personality and view on wellness.

 2) Do you practice Reiki on yourself every day?
It may seem like an odd question to ask, but #Reiki practice is based on the principle that a practioner has to take care of himself first in order to take care of others… Think of it like the oxygen mask policy on airplanes. 

3) Do you practice Reiki full time? For how long?
Most Reiki sessions are relaxing and lovely, but practitioners who have practiced longer do have more experience, like when it comes to treat people who have difficulty moving or positioning themselves on the massage table, or on how to handle emotional releases. Additionaly, hours of experience are more important than the master title, which implies rather the capacity to teach others than to a higher quality of sessions.

4) What’s your “Touch” policy?
Some practitioners let their hands hover, others prefer to touch or are open to adjust their touch according to your sensitivities. Find out what you can expect from their treatments and how to communicate during the session if the touch is in anyway uncomfortable.

5) Do you offer packages or multiple session discount?
Most practitioners are open to negotiation if you commit to multiple sessions or to a monthly/bi-weekly treatment schedule. Ask them. You have nothing to loose and everything to gain!

Messages or no messages—that’s the question.

What to answer when people ask, ‘Did you get any messages?’ after a Reiki Session?

 When you take a Reiki class in one day like I did, you learn very fast—so fast that thousands of details fall through the cracks. Among them, what to do with the so-called “messages” given by spirit guides.

I’ve been practicing for close to five years and handling sessions has become easier. Handling my clients’ expectations when it comes to messages however became tougher and tougher.  

 While practicing at the JCC Reiki clinic with Reiki Master #PamelaMiles, her ‘No-Message Policy’ was easy to execute. Even when people asked we barely had time to answer, “It was our pleasure to offer you a Reiki session,” before they were ushered to the exit.

For a long time,  I tried to guide my clients' attention to what they felt, but I didn’t totally grasp the why, grasp it not only with my mind, but with guts and heart. And that probably affected my confidence when handling the matter.

It took a really awkward situation (a client literally kicked me out and refused to pay the session for lack of what she called “guidance”) to realize that I needed to understand why sharing these messages didn't feel right and communicate it clearly.

So, I did some digging.

According to Reiki masters and authors #FransStiene and #BronwenStiene, ‘hibiki’ or the sensation we feel during a "hands-on" healing session/meditation literally “means an echo. The reason why these sensations are called ‘hibiki’/echo is because they are not real—an echo is empty, like a reflection or an illusion.”

How then do we know that messages are real if ‘hibikis’ are not? Worse, what if messages are not only echoes, but also echoes that have been distorted further by our own experiences and emotions?

If, as Stiene explains, we are to experience Hibiki without labeling it, shouldn’t we do the same with messages? Experience them and then let them go, trusting the session to do its work?

Later, talking to Reiki Master #DeborahFlanagan, she mentioned that #Reiki practice was all about reconnecting with yourself. It seemed to me then that by giving messages, a practitioner may actually be getting in the way of his client’s best interest.

I gave it some thought. And what came to me was very simple.

When my clients ask for messages or guidance, they are—knowingly or not—shifting the responsibility of their own healing into my hands.  And that’s why it’s so important to gently shift it back into theirs—because, after all, they are the ones doing the work.

I’m not claiming this is a universal truth. But this works for me, for now. It doesn’t have to work for you. But I do believe that as we progress in our practice, it’s important to ask ourselves questions—even if they have been answered a hundred times—meditate on them, and come up with our own unique answer.

What’s your POV about messages*, would love to hear it.

 

* When I talk about messages in this post, I am not referring to the "there is a lot going on in your back" kind, but more to the "that person who hurt you recently? Not worth it" kind of messages.

 

Photo credit: http://purpleturtles.muzy.com/#lightbox_post_93097755