Reiki meets Prana and it’s another case of no separation!
By Heather Alexander, Contributing Editor
In just a few weeks time thousands of Yogis will descend on Miami, Florida for the first of the years Wanderlust gatherings. It’s Yoga by day, rock music by night, all against a backdrop of sun and sand. The festival is now 4 times as big as it was when it started in 2009 which adds to a mountain of evidence that Yoga is one of the major success stories of spiritual practice. So we thought this would be a good chance to get into how exactly it works and how it fits with the practice of the system of Reiki.
I went to meet co creator of Wanderlust, Schuyler Grant. She’s no stranger to the press banging on her door. She was a child star, playing Anne’s best friend Diana in Anne of Green Gables. She’s since transformed into a leading lady of Yoga, founding New York’s Kula Yoga Project. Schuyler has also done Reiki level 1 and told me it was an amazing and powerful experience which changed her whole feeling about energy work.
Schuyler hosted a Reiki 1 class at Kula Yoga, it was a five day class and she says even after just that her experience of energy was palpable. She said she liked it because it wasn’t woo woo or fruity, it was very evidence based, “I was a blockhead, Earthbound tourist, American person, very much about what I could touch and feel, it became clear very quickly that the energy was just as tangible as being touched physically, it felt very real.”
Now I have never really got into Yoga so I was keen to ask her exactly what the deal is. Her explanation was very clear. Yoga means union or yoking, in this case connecting breath and movement, so when you practice poses or asanas you move consciously. She said breath was the biggest key to that and is what changes Yoga from just moving your body into an energetic practice. An energetic practice designed connect us to universal energy or Prana and guide us to some sort of enlightenment. On that journey the role of the asanas is to prepare you for sitting meditation. Schuyler says “the whole point is not the asana, the point is to be able to sit and you cant sit well until you can move well, and you sit so you can attain stillness.”
Now in my mind there can be no difference between what Yogis call Prana and what Reiki practitioners call Reiki. Call it what you like but universal energy is universal, right? Schuyler agreed they were “the same thing but with a slightly different execution.” While Yogis practice asanas and sitting, Reiki practitioners practice with the symbols and mantras, attunements, precepts and meditations which altogether lead us to effective hands on healing for ourselves and others.
So can coming at something from two different directions be helpful? I asked Schuyler what happened with her Yoga practice after she had done Reiki 1. She said it changed her Yoga teaching dramatically, “people in my Yoga classes would say when I touched them my hands were so hot it was amazing, Yoga is a touch practice as well so even if you are speaking the instructions so much is said in the way you touch someone’s body, the way we give cues by touching the top of their head. If you had cultivated a Reiki practice it would be really helpful.”
All I have to do now is check out whether practicing Yoga helps my practice of the system of Reiki! But perhaps some of you have some comments about that...
Find out more about Schuyler and the Wanderlust festival here.
Heather Alexander is the New York Partner Teacher for the International House of Reiki. She is also the presenter of NewUnderstanding, the online health and wellness show.