Buddhist monk Mikao Usui introduced the energy-healing therapy of reiki in 1920 in Japan before it came to the United States in the 1940s, and then Europe in the 1980s. The aim of the practice? To provide for improved physical, mental, and emotional well-being via meditation, mindfulness, hands-on healing, attunements, and the use of symbols and mantras. As a Reiki master teacher in New York City, I’m happy to share my reiki self-healing practice so others can reap its benefits in their own homes.
I found reiki a few years after being diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and, soon thereafter, adrenal fatigue. I couldn’t deny the role stress was playing in my life, and along my journey to get my stress in check to temper a number of my other symptoms, reiki proved helpful. It’s given me a tangible practice to help me relieve aches and pains, process difficult emotions, and stay resilient in the midst of challenges.
While reiki is not meant to replace scientifically backed strategies prescribed by medical professionals, it can be called upon to complement other healing practices. And though you can’t technically practice Reiki on yourself until after completing reiki level 1 training, you can use my seven-step reiki self-healing practice to your benefit at home in quarantine, and beyond. As with any tool for transformation, the growth happens in consistently showing up for the practice, so I encourage you to commit to a a regular practice.
How I practice reiki self-healing on a consistent basis:
1. Support the body in a sturdy, sustainable posture
I begin my daily self-practice by finding a comfortable posture that will support my body and mind in relaxation. I typically practice by sitting cross-legged on a meditation cushion or by lying down. If you’re sitting cross-legged, ensure your hips are above your knees for optimal comfort. If you’re lying down, support your knees and neck with bolsters. You may also sit on a chair, with your feet grounded, flat on the ground. Experiment until you find a posture that’s engaging yet restful.
2. Honor your intentions
Now is a great time to salute your choice to show up and practice. You’ve already carved out time, remembered your practice, and gathered the courage to practice. Though sitting with your racing mind, uncomfortable physical sensations, and loud emotions can be intimidating, know that every day you show up with compassion is a day to celebrate.
Next, I draw my attention inward to my breath, and I also notice the areas of my body that feel tense or achy. I send my awareness and breath to release. I consciously drop my shoulders away from my ears to open my heart’s center. I relax my facial muscles, and unclench my teeth. I continue scanning my body with awareness and breathe until I feel embodied.
Next, direct the breath into the lower belly. Breathing into this area of the body anchors the mind and tones the vagus nerve, which Reiki master Nicholas Pearson, author of Foundations of Reiki Ryoho, says, “helps cultivate our reserves of vitality while simultaneously grounding and centering us into the present moment.”
4. Reiki precepts
Mikao Usui introduced the five reiki precepts, or principles, when he shared the healing practice with his students in 1922 to offer a framework for approaching real life.
During my ritual, I enjoy reciting the precepts several times in Japanese and in English as a way to practice mental and emotional hygiene. My spiritual evolution, health journey, relationships, and pursuits as an entrepreneur are often guided by these precepts:
- Kyo dake wa: Today only
- Ikaru na: Do not anger
- Shinpai suna: Do not worry
- Kansha shite: Be grateful
- Gyo o hageme: Practice diligently
- Hito ni shinsetsu ni: Show compassion to yourself and others
5. Call upon your guides
While this step is optional, I welcome the guidance of spirit. With my hands in prayer position, I typically repeat a simple invocation similar to, “I welcome the presence of my Reiki masters, teachers, healers, and guides. I welcome your energetic blessings and messages for the highest good of all. Thank you for gracing us with your love and light.” Allow their presence to be intuitively seen, felt or heard, however subtle or dramatic that may be.
6. Use hands-on healing
Although one must receive attunements by a Reiki master teacher in order to channel reiki, anyone can channel love and light with the power of their intentions, awareness, breath, and spiritual guides. “We all possess reiki and use it daily without knowing,” says Jalpa Dhaduk Reiki master. “For example, when a child falls and stubs their knee, the parent will naturally place their hands on the knee, rubbing it. Unconsciously, the parent is working with the Ki (life force) energy. The parent is unconsciously sending and channeling the energy, and the child is receiving and drawing in the energy.”
You may similarly begin to practice hands-on healing without an attunement. However, if you’re interested in intuitively sensing and channeling the reiki energy, I recommend taking a reiki training with attunement.
7. Give thanks
I take a moment here in my practice to give thanks to my guides, the reiki energy, and myself for co-creating in the process of reiki self-healing. I thank the journey that brought me to reiki. I trust that life force has been balanced for my mind, body, and soul’s highest alignment and gently release the practice.
Reiki energy is always within us and available to us, so even if you haven’t been attuned to reiki, you can still practice self-healing. With a comfortable posture, meditation, recitation of the reiki precepts, and hands-on healing, you can begin your reiki self-healing journey. All it takes is some courage and the willingness to show up for your evolution.
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