Happy now beautiful souls! It is a crisp, cold morning here in upstate NY- the perfect kind of day to cozy up with a cup of tea, good book or get started on a new blog post! I do like to hibernate a bit more in the winter. My body and mind crave warmth, comfort and seclusion. I have learned over the years to pay deep attention to my body as the body mirrors the mind. This process of understanding the mind-body-spirit connection has been made clearer with Reiki.
So first let us take a look at what Reiki is and the science backed benefits it provides. REIKI, (pronounced Ray Key) is a stress reduction and relaxation technique where through the laying of hands, the practitioner channels Universal energy through the body to assist in removing emotional blockages, stress, and anxiety. REIKI energy balances & works on the four levels of existence: Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual. Reiki activates the parasympathetic nervous system allowing for deeper relaxation and renewal.
The parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) regulates functions outside of voluntary control such as the cardiac muscles, digestion and relaxation. When we are able to activate or be in touch with the PNS we can reduce stress levels and in turn reduce heart rate, blood pressure and raise our levels of joy.
Let’s look at an example. We have all been in a situation where our sympathetic nervous system (AKA Flight or Fight response) is activated like when we get cut off in traffic. A flood of adrenaline ups our heart rate and breathing. Unfortunately, this system is in overdrive with our modern way of life. We tend to respond in traffic the way our ancestors would have responded to being chased by a tiger. These constant reactions create unregulated stress in our bodies. Long term, this can have serious health effects.
It has been scientifically shown that we can reduce the stress reaction by activating our PNS with various techniques such as Reiki. During a Reiki treatment with me, the client lays comfortably, clothed, on a massage table and is guided into a relaxed state with meditation. You will be asked to gently focus on the present using your breath to bring you back to the moment when your mind drifts. While you enjoy healing music such as solfeggio frequencies, I will first access your energy by placing my hands on your shoulders followed by hand placements at specific energetic points on the body. You may feel a subtle shift of consciousness, or release of emotion, warmth or tingling sensation as REIKI energy flows through your body. Once the treatment is complete you may feel relaxed, refreshed, or very tired. You will be advised to drink plenty of pure water to aid in detoxifying your energetic body.
I routinely perform self-treatments to assist in healing my own health issues or dis-ease. I have found that my state of mind greatly influences the levels of pain I experience, for our body is a reflection of mind. Our thoughts precede our actions and our physicality. Reiki has helped me to slow down, to find presence, to be instead of do(ing). Now when I experience pain, I know it is due to imbalance in my overall mind-body-spirit system. I am able to actively participate in my treatment and healing. Migraines and stomach upset frequently have less to do with physical dis-ease as they do mental dis-ease. Stress and trauma can cause flareups in my IBS, fibromyalgia and endometriosis. Being aware of my mental state gives me opportunity to see the patterns of cause and effect. This awareness take time to cultivate but offers one a chance to begin healing from within.
When we learn to cultivate practice for our mental well-being our physical body follows suit. Healing modalities such as Reiki, breath work, meditation, Qi Gong all can help us become in touch with our mind-body-spirit connection. We need to heal wholly, at each level of existence in order to live a balanced life. If you would like to know more or would like to begin on a path of healing, please contact me for a free 15-minute consultation.
How many of us rush through what we have to “do” because it is boring or tedious or we just do not feel like doing it? We are leading unmindful lives, allowing moments to rush by in a flurry of frustration and angst always thinking the next thing will be better, more entertaining, more rewarding.
When we go through our days unengaged with the present moment we have a tendency to forget our days, conversations and moments. We are so caught up in thoughts and to-do lists that “doing” becomes frustration. So we need to learn how to flow through our days in a state of being, a state of awareness.
Being comes from our authentic self; our deepest inner knowingness. It is effortless, flowing, dynamic, honest. Most of us have experienced moments of awareness, true focus and immersion into what it is we are doing. Those states of flow, when the background chatter is reduced to non-existent, we become one with our task. I experience these stretched out moments of awareness when reading, painting, or drawing. Notice these are all creative endeavors. We are inherently creative beings, which is why a flow state is so natural in artists, writers and musicians.
Through practice we can begin to experience this moments of flow, of pure being more frequently. We can align ourselves with the Universe and live in harmony.
In addition to mindfulness practice/training we also need to look deeply at our motivation and intention. We need to understand the WHY of our actions. When we participate in practices that encourage mindlessness it is usually for escape. We try to escape stress and unpleasantness whether from our work, families or our own minds. Incessant scrolling on social media or imbibing substances recklessly are both examples of escapist behaviors. Escape is doing. Gentle awareness is being.
We must learn to sit with our toxic and unpleasant emotions when they arise. The next time you get frustrated doing the dishes or taking out the garbage, ask yourself “Why?”. What about performing a task (that must be preformed) is frustrating? Does your frustration actually relate to the task, or is there something deeper that gets triggered when performing certain tasks?
When we can take a moment to pause and look at the cause for the frustration, we begin to peal back the layers until we reach our central motivations. For example let’s say I get frustrated every time I take the garbage out. I recognize my frustration and pause to consider why. Perhaps I have repeatedly asked my son to take the garbage out, then I’m frustrated with his negligence. This could be evidence of a deeper issue, perhaps my son is lazy and this is one more example; yet I choose to ignore the connections to avoid confrontation. Magically we have arrive back at me. If I have problem with confrontation then I am most likely frustrated with myself for not dealing with the situations; instead blame-shifting first to my son, then to the garbage.
A lot of the time our frustration is because we have expectations of others that are not met. Again, the problem lies within. We cannot place unrealistic expectations on others. Life happens and sometimes it is no ones fault the expectation is not met. We need to be able to pause and see situation clearly and not through the lens of “how it only affects me”. This takes practice. In order to experience more flow in our day we must make time for stillness.
Through practices such as yoga, meditation and breath work we can begin to feel some ease and adjust to a slower pace; allowing space for gentle awareness to arise naturally. We begin to stop doing and start being.
Please contact me if you would like more information on how to start your own personal practices of ease and flow.
As we continue into week two of our chakra healing adventure, we will begin to look at how an imbalance in one chakra can affect the others. We will be working with the Vishudda (throat) chakra because most of us use our voices every day. The vishudda governs communication in all forms. It is how we express ourselves; how we express our beliefs, emotions, likes and dislikes; it shows up in our tone, inflection, and even our body language.
The Vishudda also links our inner true self with the self we put on display for the world. Most of us lead two lives. Our outer persona typically morphs into what others expect of us (or what we THINK they expect of us.) We have a role to play and show up willing to don what ever hat we have been asked to wear. Then there is our inner voice, the voice of our AUTHENTIC self. It is this voice which we need to bring forth. We need to release the fear of being ourselves.
Vishudda (Throat) /Muladhara (Root)
The root chakra grounds us, connecting us to the rich Earth energies. Support, courage, survival are the key elements of the root chakra. When the Muladhara is balanced, we KNOW who we are; we stand tall, grounded and sure footed in our understanding of our place in the world. When the root chakra is suffering from imbalance we become unsteady and can allow others to overly influence our decisions.
The imbalance of the root chakra can lead to issues with how we communicate because the energies of the root will entangle with the energies of the throat chakra. If we are lacking confidence in ourselves it show up in our speech and body language. We essentially have a hard time being our authentic self.
Our speech may begin to be colored with words of appeasement in difficult situations if the root chakra has been weakened. If we are unable to stand up for our truth, we may then have feelings of shame or inadequacy. If the root chakra is carrying an excess of energy, our speech can become clipped and insincere and we begin to dwell in the realm of the ego.
Return to Balance
In order to balance our root chakra and bring authenticity to our voice we need to ask ourselves the following questions:
Who am I?
What do I value?
Do my words, tone, and body language resonate with my inner truth?
Additionally, we can practice energy work to align our root and throat chakra.
Try this: Stand tall, barefoot in the grass. Relax your shoulders and your jaw. Take a few deep breaths and feel the Earth energy flow in to your body. You are rooted to the Earth energy, you are grounded and supported. Breathe in slowly and feel your breath swirl down your throat bathing your throat chakra in healing energies. Exhale fully, emptying the stale breath from your lungs. As you exhale, feel your throat relax and open as all of the stale breath (energy- thoughts and emotions) leave your body. Repeat these slow deep breaths; breathing in strength and truth; breathing out what no longer serves you.
This exercise can be repeated daily, strengthening our awareness of the flow of energy within the body while balancing our root and throat chakras.
If you are interested in deepening your practice or learning more about Reiki training, please contact me.