Reiki is a Japanese healing modality in which the practitioner channels prāṇa/chi though the client’s energetic body. “Rei” means divine knowledge. “Ki” or chi, means life force energy - in Sanskrit & yoga, prāṇa essentially means the same thing as ‘chi/ki’.
Our energetic system consists of meridians (what acupuncture & reflexology are based on) or 'nadis' in Sanskrit. Within the energetic body we have chakras, or wheels of energy.
The 7 main chakras line up from our perineum to the crown of our head along our central channel - our energetic ‘spine’ - which we harness in yogic practices during pranayama, mula bandha etc. (yogi fun fact: mula bandha is more about an energetic lock than a physical lock!)
In the west, we don't have as much documentation and lineage passed down having to do with our energy body, but as you might be noticing by now, the east has been studying and passing this knowledge down for thousands of years. The meridian system from China, Reiki from Japan, chakras from India etc.
Even though most of us can’t see the energy body, these energetic centers can be felt by anyone who pays attention.
In particular and in my observations as an embodiment coach, people feel love, heart-ache, loneliness, grief - in the heart.
Deep gut instincts, particularly hard/inconvenient truths, or a deep calling for profound expression - in the sacral area.
Fear, instability, ungroundedness - there’s a lack of embodied awareness of the lower part of the body (root, legs, feet)
Quick flashes of insight… in the head.
Frog in the throat, fear of not being heard… in the throat.
Anxious, feeling a dramatic powerlessness… the solar plexus.
There are surface-level variations from person-to-person, but the foundation of these feelings arise within us all in the same areas within our body.
Our emotions and internal felt sensations, though also not able to be ‘seen’ by the naked eye, are one way we can link our awareness to our even more subtle, energetic body.
In a typical Reiki session, the practitioner gets into a semi-meditative state and tunes into the subtle energy body of his/her client. A practitioner who has a regular meditative practice will generally have a stronger ability to tune into the more subtle energetic aspects of his/her client. The practitioner can sense where the client has energetic blocks, stuck emotional energy, or where energy isn’t flowing as easefully as it could be.
The more sensitive someone becomes to this energy, the more that person can ‘pick up’ on. It can even cross-over into the realm of clairvoyance, or psychic phenomena, which happens when someone is highly attuned to the subtle realms.
These abilities and phenomena are briefly talked about in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, though they are meant to be a by-product of a consistent, devoted yoga/meditative practice - and not meant to be the goal of the practice (though they can be fun!).
For example, I've had a session where an image of a deer flashed in my mind - totally random. No clue why. Afterward, my client said the same thing happened to him - and he had no clue why either. So I looked into the symbolism of a deer and it completely validated something my client had a question about.
These kinds of occurrences are quite common, fun and though not fully explained by western science (yet), there are many other benefits to Reiki.
Reiki clients regularly experience...
1) Feeling more energy flowing after feeling quite stuck/stagnant
2) Feeling more vitality and aliveness in the body
3) The renewed ability to process & release difficult emotions
4) A marked reduction in stress & anxiety
5) Resolving of pain & tension
6) Having deep, intuitive insights
7) Feeling lighter, as if a burden has been lifted
8) Their immune system increasing
Consciously combining Reiki with a regular yoga practice never crossed my mind for nearly two decades. In 2018 I was living in San Diego and stumbled upon a small, serene yoga studio near my place. They had nightly "Yin Yoga & Reiki" classes. I'd not heard of Yin yoga, and had never heard of a yoga & Reiki class, so being naturally curious, I tried it out. (Yin yoga is based on the Chinese meridian system, so naturally it combines quite well with Reiki.)
Anyone who has blindly stumbled into a Yin class thinking it's going to be another active yoga class knows my pain - I had never felt such intensity followed by such release in that short amount of time as I did in those first classes. I was hooked. Combined with the Reiki energy in the room - I've never had such profound emotional releases and deep intuitive insights as I've had, crying into the studio's bolsters. As I got to know other students there, we realized we were all having these profound experiences and energetic shifts quite regularly. And, trying to muffle our emotions in the bolsters.
We joked the bolsters were soaked with all of our tears - tears of joy, of release, of awakening, of gratitude, of aliveness.
My aim is to facilitate at least a fraction of what I experienced there, with my students and clients.
If you live in the Tacoma area, Megan offers Yin & Reiki classes, and Reiki Sessions at Tuladhara Yoga.
You can book a class or a Reiki session on Tuladhara's website directly.
Megan is a Reiki Practitioner, Feminine Embodiment Coach, Embodied Yoga Instructor, devotee of Nondual Śaiva Tantra and lover of nature.
To have a chat about working with her in another capacity, schedule a free consultation call here
Channels & Chakras: sahajayoga.dk
Emotions Heat Map: NPR.org