As we know, Reiki complements any modality or spiritual practice, from conventional medicine to meditation to yoga. This week, we hear from Reiki Master and Yoga Instructor Gauri Ramirez, who shares with us how she integrates Reiki with yoga.
Yoga practice has been a tool of healing and a source of transformation in my life. When I discovered Reiki it was clear to me that both systems could work hand-in-hand, at least for my own healing process. I immediately complemented the 5 Reiki principles into the Yamas & Niyamas (the ethical precepts) and into Dhyana (meditation practice) of the Yoga System.
My first attempt of using Reiki while practicing Asanas (yoga poses) took place only recently during an intensive yoga teacher training. Being in my late 40s had never really bothered me until the day I entered that yoga room full of young instructors looking like the front page of the Yoga Journal! I felt intimidated, insecure and not strong enough to cope with such a challenging physical training and, for the first time in my journey as a yogini, I felt too old… I remember considering leaving the room when suddenly a soft and kind voice from inside told me: “Stay, you have Reiki now, use it”. I closed my eyes and mentally drew the Reiki symbols and I started my training with the pure intention of self-love and self-acceptance. I started the Sun Salutation in tears and with a sense of humility and deep peace I never experienced before in my 6 years of yoga practice. Only then, I realized that a meaningful yoga practice empowered with Reiki can break me free from social conditioning and constricting insecurities, and allow me to grow and expand my experience while honoring my age and natural limitations.
Q. Can you give us some examples of how you have integrated Reiki into your Asana practice?
Not long ago, with a great and compassionate yoga teacher (Anusara inspired), I learnt that while holding a strenuous pose, we could be soft in the inside and physically fully engaged at the same time. This simple but powerful lesson helped me tremendously especially with balancing and inverted postures. I found that, instead of counting what sometimes seemed like endless minutes, I could use the time of holding a pose to scan the natural flow of energy throughout my physical and subtle bodies. In other words, instead of resisting the apparent discomfort of an advance pose, we can not only increase our physical and mental strength, work on our grounding and stability, but also deepen the connection with the divine source of universal energy.
According to the osmotic principle, I’ve also discovered that Reiki can nourish my asana practice by bringing alignment exactly where it is needed, not only on a physical level but on a psychological and spiritual level too.
Q. Can you give us an example where Reiki brought you “psychological alignment” during your yoga practice?
Under the Anusara style of yoga, there is a common verbal cue: “melt the heart” which refers to a particular alignment of the torso, especially while holding Adho Mukha Svanasana (Downward-Facing Dog Pose). It’s a physical alignment at the level of the chest and shoulder blades, which took me a lot of time to understand and apply to my poses. One day, after having integrated Reiki into my practice and inviting the universal energy to merge with my muscular energy into the pose I was holding, I clearly felt that something started happening at deeper levels of my subtle body (right at the heart chakra) and at the level of my subconscious mind when I heard the instruction “melt the heart”. I felt the Reiki actually reaching and melting my iceberg.
Q. Do you use this concept in your therapies?
Yes I do. This was such an amazing and powerful experience so I started using the concept of “psychological alignment” in my yoga therapy sessions with patients who have Reiki. In some cases (specially working with anxiety, depression and trauma) when the patient hasn’t been initiated to Reiki, I will suggest a Heart Attunement and then work with those alignments in a safe and compassionate space. I think this is a tremendous opportunity for insight and personal growth.
Indeed, I see a yoga mat as a space for healing on all levels and both systems Yoga and Reiki act as my inner Guru (from Sanskrit Gu “dark” and Ru “light”) dispelling darkness and bringing mental clarity on and off the mat.
Q. You mentioned you use specific symbols during your yoga practice (Reiki Level 2 techniques). What were the differences you experienced and how you have benefited?
I do use CKR to empower the poses I struggle to maintain. I’m still experimenting with different poses… For instance, with Vasisthasana (Side Plank Pose), an intermediate pose where you laterally balance your body on one arm while stretching the other arm towards the sky. I mentally draw CKR on the back of my hand (the one supporting the weight of the body and resisting gravity), then I look up at the other hand and do the same to allow the Reiki to flow strongly and enhance muscular energy to hold the pose. I have tried with and without symbols, with one and both hands, and I did notice a difference in resistance and stability. I have also tried with a more challenging pose Adho Mukha Vrksasana (Handstand) by drawing SHK to harmonize my fear of falling down and CKR on the back of both hands to empower the grounding resulting in more balance. And of course, this can be applied to many postures.
Gauri is a Psychologist, Certified Yoga Instructor & Yoga Therapist and a Usui Reiki Teacher. She has dedicated many years practicing meditation and exploring different energetic techniques used in the treatment of common anxiety & depression, stress management and cancer.