Article by Carrie Anderson
During this pandemic, when many of us are staying closer to home, socially distancing, and trying to create new routines for our days, I thought it might be helpful to find some ways to change up our daily self-Reiki practice. To learn new techniques, or make our practice a bit more refreshed. I have several ideas that I hope will come to fruition in articles over the next few weeks.
This first self-care routine involves some breathwork called the Three Part Breath. This involves using your entire lungs and breathing while visualizing your lung capacity. If you are new to the three part breath, then you will want to practice it in steps to understand the three different parts and how they feel. Breathing is through the nose with the mouth closed.
The three part breath begins in the lowest portion of your lungs near your diaphragm. You can refer to it as a belly breath or abdominal breathing. If sitting cross-legged is possible for you then move to that position. Otherwise find a comfortable position that allows for you to sit with a straight back. These exercises can be done sitting in a cross legend position, sitting in a chair or lying down. Note, that the breaths may be experienced slightly differently in a sitting position versus laying down, so you might want to become familiar with how your breath flows when sitting and then laying down. Otherwise, find a comfortable position that allows for you to have a straight back.
Place your hands onto your belly and close your eyes to concentrate. Draw your stomach towards your spine-this is your exhale. Always start with an exhale to empty the lungs of stagnant air. On your inhale allow your stomach to fill up and go out. Exhale and again draw your stomach in. Inhale and the stomach goes out. Your hands on your belly allow you to feel the movement and keep a connection to your breath and body. Only your belly should move during this step. Try to practice the inhale and exhale about ten times. Take a stretch break before moving on the next step.
Sitting in an upright position, you now will place your hands on your ribcage. Gently squeeze your ribs together on your exhale. The squeezing of the ribs is not done by your hands, but is the movement of your ribcage when you are focusing on this area. Your hands are simply placed here to help you feel the breath. Expand your ribcage on your inhale. Repeat this about five times. You should focus on your ribs moving in alignment with your breath.
The third part of the breath is the upper or chest breathing. To practice, you will place your hands on your collar bones. Exhaling, you will feel your chest or collar bones begin to sink down. Inhaling, will allow you to raise your chest and expand through your shoulders. Practice this five times.
Eventually, when you feel that you have each part of this breath exercise down, then you can incorporate the three steps into one breathing exercise. There is no timetable to feel that you must move on to the complete breath exercise. Focusing on the individual steps can still achieve the awareness of deep breathing.
For the complete three part breath exercise, you will begin by exhaling all of the air out of your lungs. Then inhale, begin with your belly breathing, moving to your ribcage, and then your chest breathing. There is a pause at the top of your inhalation before you begin exhaling. Exhalation begins with drawing in your stomach, your ribs moving together and your chest going down.
The complete breath would look like this in steps
- Draw your stomach in and exhale
- Let your stomach out and inhale through your nose
- Expand through your ribcage and raise your chest
- Draw your stomach in while exhaling, ribs move together and the chest does down.
The full breath should be practiced about five times. It’s a fluid motion through all of the steps.
I incorporate this with self-Reiki by visualizing a beautiful white light of Reiki energy entering my body with each breath and feeling the white light as it cleanses my body. I draw what I call a white light of Reiki energy down upon me. On my exhale, I focus on being at peace with this white light. One my next inhale, I again visualize a white light of energy cascading through my body filling me with healing, health, and happiness. On my exhale, I try to create a moment of stillness with the white light of Reiki energy before it moves on. I create a synergy between the breath movement and the Reiki energy. At the tip of each exhale and inhale, I focus on the peace that I feel during self-Reiki. I don’t use hand positions, because I visualise the Reiki flowing in and out with my breaths, and in this way it is easily accessed for healing.
I hope you are able to use this three part breath exercise with your Reiki practice and that it brings you peace, deep breath awareness, and calm.
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Carrie Anderson has her Bachelor’s in Anthropology with a Minor in Women’s Studies. She is a Reiki Master with additional training in Grief Reiki, NOW Reiki, Crystal Reiki, Reiki Space Clearing, and Animal Reiki. Her focus is on Distance Reiki. She also has certifications in Teen Guided Meditation, Chakra Cleansing, Meditation Guide, Manifestation Practitioner, Energy Healing with Color and Art, Reflexology and Acupressure. Additionally, she is a Yoga Instructor with a focus on Gentle Yoga, Restorative Yoga, Children’s Yoga, and Yoga Nidra. Carrie is a co-author with Mellisa Dormoy for the book, “Easy Mindfulness for Today’s Teens”. She is an active member of the Natural Healer Society and may be reached at email@example.com