November 18th, 2017
By Willow Mainprize
In a city where it seems we are told that hard work and exerting the most amount of effort is what it takes to be the most successful version of ourselves, Reiki, at first glance, seems like a counter-intuitive practice.
With Yoga having swept Vancouver and the world for its mind/body benefits, and dare I say, fashion (Are those LuLu’s you’re wearing?), I was beginning to wonder if Yoga was becoming more trend than transformative.
My first foray into the yoga was at a Bikram’s Hot Yoga class in Kits about 13 years ago when it first began to be the hot new health trend. I almost passed out. Instead of a Kundalini awakening, I left with a massive migraine. Ok, not the best class to start with, I admit. But, chances are, if it’s popular, I may dip my toes in the water but I probably won’t want to swim. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that Yoga is a beautiful practice with incredible benefits, it’s just seemed like it wasn’t for me at the time.
I have always shied away from whatever was currently popular. As a child I always marched to my own drum. If everyone was into The New Kids On The Block, I made of point of, well, not being into The New Kids On The Block. If kids were heading to the mall for the latest accessories, I could be found riding bareback on my event pony through the woods on our farm getting lost in all the wonders mother natured offered. As an adult, I am still there in many ways. Decidedly out of loop of what everyone else is currently doing. And Vancouver, you have been doing A LOT.
Vancouver has been ripe with Steve Nash Gyms, Grouse Grinds, vegan buddha bowls, and Yoga studios, for forever infinitum. You have been there, done that. So I have been thinking that maybe this beautiful, eclectic, forward-thinking, seawall-loving city may be ready for a new self-care regime.
Yoga has been practiced for centuries for good reason and, comparatively, Reiki is just a wee babe having only been founded in Japan in 1922 by a Buddhist monk named Dr. Mikao Usui. However, some historians claim that some form of energy healing has been around since the time of the Egyptians and even before that. So what is Reiki exactly? To put it simply, Reiki channels Qi energy through the bodies meridians while clearing, opening and balancing the energy centers (chakras) that are at the core of optimal health in the body. Sound familiar? That’s because Yoga works on the exact same principles through movement. However, Reiki, harnesses this Qi energy, using stillness and deep relaxation to rejuvenate, rebalance and restore the mind, body and spirit. Yoga and Reiki produce similar health results, Reiki just does so with less physical effort. Reiki will not help you strengthen your core and drop those last few pounds in time to pile them all back on again at the next family feast. But, like Yoga, Reiki can increase feelings of peace and relaxation, enhance mental clarity, increase energy levels, reduce anxiety and depression, and alleviate pain just to name a few. And the beauty of it is, with a little training, you can Reiki anytime, anywhere, for as long or as little as you want with nobody being the wiser but you. No Yoga mat required. No trendy, overpriced outfit necessary. You pay the class fee once and you reap the fruits of thy labour (or lack thereof) forever. All these benefits with out breaking a sweat? Sign me up!
And I did sign up…Total. Life. Changer. When I first started practicing Reiki I did so very quietly. I was worried I would be laughed at and teased. Too far outside the box for the average Joe to understand, I thought. It took me over two years, and finishing my Master training in stealth mode before I came out of the Reiki closet. But here is what surprised me; the more I talked about it, the more I heard about it. Suddenly, almost everybody was doing it or knew somebody who did. My post office lady had been practicing for over 20 years. The hostess at Hy’s had been receiving treatments since basically in utero thanks to her mother who is also a Reiki Master. My paralegal friend at a large law firm gets a friend to send her Qi-balls to get her through her insanely busy work day. Oh, and the Staples guy who printed my business cards? He and his boyfriend do it. It’s everywhere. Granted, there are a few that raise a skeptical brow but, my point is, not a single person I have spoken to has not at least heard of Reiki if they don’t already practice it themselves, or know someone who does.
So, there ya have it. I am no trailblazer, folks. I am in fact, a trend follower and for the first time in my life I am absolutely ok with it. I am ecstatic even. The truth is, despite my head having been hidden under a rock, in a closet, afraid of my own Reiki-loving shadow, people have been enjoying Reiki for years in Vancouver. So, why am I only hearing so much about it now? Perhaps, thanks to groundbreaking developments in quantum physics, the principle of harnessing universal energy for ones own betterment isn’t such a far-fetched notion. Maybe, most of all, it is due to Yoga’s popularity that the knowledge and understanding of the body’s subtle energy systems and how they relate to mind and body wellness has penetrated mainstream consciousness. Perhaps, it isn’t taking all that much convincing for people to slow down, tune into their bodies, and explore a new way of being in the world. Vancouver, maybe you really are ready to embrace the idea that the most successful version of ourselves can be found in the stillness rather than in the relentless movement towards a goal.
So, is Reiki the new Yoga? All I know is that it is certainly trending on its own merits and worth exploring. The Yoga studios seem to think so too. Both Reiki and Yoga are now being offered together to promote the optimal health of mind, body and spirit. It appears to be a natural, synergistic paring that compliments each practice equally, bringing the best of both worlds together for maximum results. And when put that way, maybe that’s finally a Yoga trend I can join in on.
To learn Reiki, or receive a Reiki treatment with a certified Reiki practitioner, contact Willow or Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org
Willow and Rose Mainprize are cousins and Usui Reiki Practitioners and Teachers at Rosewillow Reiki in Vancouver, BC. Canada.