I’ve just finished teaching Introduction to Reiki and am left to reflect on what it means to have a practice. When you begin your reiki journey, the focus is on personal practice and self-healing. As reiki practitioners we aim to live by five reiki principles and to give ourselves regular healing; by dedicating time to our own well being, we can be present for ourselves and for others.
I had stepped away from teaching reiki. I needed more time to reflect on reiki as a practice. I have found that many of the ideas in yoga are echoed in reiki. Last year I re-opened my reiki courses. By taking myself to one side, I’ve been able to watch the energy weave its way through the groups. Each time something different comes up. I am beginning to realise its connections with yoga philosophy, bodywork practices, supporting self care as practitioner and self care as human beings in relationship. Each group seems to find a different path and off we go exploring.
Reiki isn’t yoga but the intentions that shape its practice are synergistic with yoga. In yoga, the discipline of practice creates heat to purify the person and create necessary change or maintain the benefits of the practice. A yoga practice can include asana (postures), pranayama (breathing practice) and dhyana (meditation). It might contain all aspects or just one. Yoga is a practice of spiritual liberation. This does not mean you are detached from the world. It is a state where you understand the connections and the spaces in relationship, are master of your senses and can be present for yourself and for others (as for reiki). Practice also needs the combination of sthira and sukha:
Yoga Sutra II.46: sthira-sukham-asanam – ‘The posture is firm and comfortable’
Sthira means steadiness, strength, being present in the moment. Sukha means ease, flexibility, an attitude to promote happiness. Asana (and pranayama and dhyana) needs the correct combination of sthira and sukha to be both steady and flexible. These characteristics are needed for life off the mat. Finding the balance between the two is part of practice.
For me, the most important discussion of the reiki course was what we mean when we try to work with intention. YS1:12 introduces abhyasa and vairagya: the discipline of practice and surrendering to the outcome. The action of practice results in change. We cannot know what that change will be. We try to let go of our expectations and demands, and surrender to what is offered to us. When working with a healing modality, there is a saying: sometimes the healing we want isn’t what we need and the healing we need isn’t what we want. It is the same working on ourselves or working for others. We have to put the support in place and let go of the outcome.
I am committed to my yoga practice. It has been a part of my life for a long time now. I am only just realising the importance and support of my reiki practice – a journey I started over 16 years ago. I often say to clients and students that reiki is something to be experienced, descriptions fall short. I am finally discovering that it is also something to enhance my practice of self-awareness, self-care and self-development.
Thanks for reading, Yvonne x