The Benefits of Shakuhachi on Stress

Stress and Shakuhachi – Part 4

Deep breathing

Whenever I give live online meditation sessions on the meditation app Insight Timer, I invite the participants to practice deep breathing meditation with me. I often tell them that if they practice regularly in a safe situation like at home or during the sessions, they will create a habit, a power they can tap in whenever they find themselves in a more challenging situation.
The day after my last live session in February and the following weeks, I could experience how right I was!

How can shakuhachi help to go through stressful situations?

The Benefits of Shakuhachi

Keep emotions under control

In a stressful situation, taking deep breaths while the emotions are coming up helps to keep the emotional level under control. Not suppressing the emotions, but not getting overwhelmed by them. Observing, acknowledging and blowing the excess tensions away, even for one second, bring a physical relief.

A ten-minute-Robuki or a chakra meditation is a great way to calm things down and connect with your inner peace.

If you can’t find the time for it, just calm down your breathing anytime you catch yourself holding your breath. Take a big breath in and a big sigh out. Right now.

When you don’t have your flute with you, or cannot play where you are, or not even play shakuhachi at the first place, just sing it. Singing RO (even softly) while breathing deeply can already help to calm down your emotions.

It surely works for me.

RO-buki Mantra

RO is the ground tone of shakuhachi. Blowing RO otsu for several minutes is also a way to increase the sense of being grounded in any circumstances.

One mantra related to Ro-buki that I like to use in chakra meditation is “I am safe“.

Of course, in a stressful situation, your mind will tell you different. But if beforehand, you had managed to embody this sensation, this truth, you will be able to still connect to it any time and shut your mind down with some phrase like:

In this moment, as I am blowing RO, I am absolutely safe.”

Blowing RO is connecting to the vital energy of the breathing. It is being aware of your life energy and your inner peace.

A stressful situation takes so much of your energy that you may notice that you cannot do all that you normally do in your daily life. Maybe you’ll notice that when you practice shakuhachi, you’ll end up to have only the energy for blowing RO!

In any case, value every little thing you still can do. Blowing RO keeps you grounded.

Increase of Focus and Clarity

Whenever you connect with your breathing, and thus reduce your stress, it will help you find the clarity needed to make choices. Even though you have no control on the situation, you still have control on your choices and decisions.

If you are in “panicking mode”, you might not take the best ones.

Practicing shakuhachi regularly develops your breathing skills and self-awareness.

Awareness of your limits

Another benefit in keeping a clear mind to make choices is becoming aware of your limits.

Whether it goes over healthy boundaries with other people, the amount of things you can tackle in one day, or other areas in your life, you need to create space for your emotions and protect yourself.

Maybe you’ll have to drop temporarily some of activities, limit some contacts, instead of pushing yourself to continue doing them all as if nothing had happened. Allow yourself to express what you can and cannot do.

While practicing shakuhachi, you learn to be patient with your technical and musical limitations. Give yourself the time and space needed to work them to the next level.


To keep control on your choices, you’ll need to accept the situation and its consequences. Resisting or denying it just makes it harder.

Accepting is not being happy with it, but seeing things the way they are, not less, but also not more. It is quite a balancing exercise that asks to be able to observe things from a distance.
Acceptance is surrendering to life, how difficult this might be.

The shakuhachi is an excellent teacher in discovering and accepting who you are, with your strengths and weaknesses.

It teaches you to give the right amount of energy while letting go of excess control in order to free the sound. Learn to accept any and every sound you make with an open mind and heart.

It asks you to listen carefully to yourself and will let you hear each time you get out of balance.


Staying Grounded and Connected to the Inner Peace

Dealing with a stressful situation is absolutely not a linear process to follow step by step.

When you are in the middle of it, it feels more like a tangled ball of emotions, habits, external and internal pressures, all mixed up with a variable energy level which has a huge influence on the capacity of reaction. In other words, it is a mess.

And the process to go through it is made of going back and forth, up and down and around in circles.

But if you manage to keep your inner compass and your connection to the vital energy of your breathing, you know that your inner peace is still there, deep below the surface, and that only the surface is troubled.


Shakuhachi music gives space to silence, allows grief and sadness in a world where you always have to appear happy, beautiful and successful. It allows you to be yourself and to not hide behind other’s values and judgements. It allows you to find your own path in life.

Listening to shakuhachi has a calming effect on many people and can help you to calm down. Experience it here.


Shakuhachi and deep breathing meditation won’t blow your stress away neither change your current situation, but they can help you to cope with it and stay connected to your inner peace in any circumstances.

For more about this topic, read my previous posts Stress and Shakuhachi Part One, Part Two, Part Three.

Take care.

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