If you’ve ever done a yoga class, you’ll know ‘prayer position’ or in Sanskrit, Anjali Mudra. It’s used throughout a yoga practice as a sign of reverence and greeting, to bring your awareness back to your heart, to centre yourself (in Vrksasana, Tree Pose for example) or to move your hands from one position to another.
But did you know there’s an almost identical practice in Reiki (which is also heavily influenced by Buddhism)? Known as Gassho, it’s a style of simple meditation, using the same hand position – hands touching in front of your chest. It has a similar yet distinct meaning and intent to Anjali Mudra.
In traditional Reiki teaching, it is one of the first and most important practices the student learns. Gassho literally means “to place the two palms together”. It’s a way of bringing opposites together, creating unity (an aim of both yoga and Reiki). It balances and integrates our left and right sides, our mind and body, the masculine and feminine energy we all carry. It helps to calm and focus the mind.
As you might imagine with a Japanese practice, there is an element of precision to Gassho meditation –
- Bring your hands together in front of your face
- Your fingers should be about a fist distance from your nose
- Your elbows should be away from your body
- Breath naturally and try to keep your body relaxed
- Concentrate on the meeting point of your middle fingers – either with your eyes open, or in your minds eye; you can use this as a focus point if your mind wanders.
(Having said this, make sure you’re feeling relaxed and easeful – don’t force yourself into a position and to stay there!)
You might like to set a timer or simply follow your intuition about the duration of your Gassho practice. You may set a particular intention for each meditation (even just to ‘be’ for a few minutes) and it is proper to express gratitude at the end (to Reiki and to yourself)
This simple daily practice has been an anchor for me through our Covid-days and will continue to be. Just five minutes first thing in the morning and last thing at night – and, really, any time you feel I need it! – is an incredible way to quiet and focus the mind, bring a sense of balance and harmony to my day, and connect with myself and the higher and subtle energies all around us.
Try it out, and I’d love to hear how you go!