Reiki, a Powerful Complement to Restorative and Prenatal Yoga
At this very moment, take a quick scan of your body and just be aware of where you are holding tension. Do you feel pressure around your eyes? Are you clenching your teeth? Do your shoulders, back, hips, or hamstrings feel tight? Now notice your breathing. Are you taking shallow breaths at the top of your chest? Or are you remembering to take nourishing, deep breaths from your belly? Being aware of the tension you’re holding is the first step to releasing it.
Yoga opens and releases the tension held in your body, and helps our mind and emotional state to release as well. Restorative yoga is a gentle and therapeutic practice that anyone can perform. Restorative poses are passive because you aren’t exerting or tiring your muscles. This is accomplished through supportive use of props and by holding each pose for a longer duration of time (usually for 5 minutes or more). This helps to “restore” the body by activating the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for resting, healing, and restoring balance. While the poses are passive, you are actively focused on releasing tension – which in actuality, is an advanced practice of the body and mind.
Reiki Releases Deep Tension During Restorative Yoga
Adding the energy healing of reiki to restorative yoga can deepen the level of relaxation and restoration. Reiki addresses the root cause(s) of imbalances, harmonizing your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual state. Reiki clears and heals the energy pathways, allowing healthy energy to flow. When you regain this balance, you feel release and deep relaxation, which allows healing to occur.
When assisting reiki master Jennifer Brinn in one of her Reiki Restorative Yoga classes, I immediately noticed how the flow of reiki was deepening the effects of the restorative yoga poses. As the students held a pose, Jennifer and I would quietly walk around the room and offer a short burst of gentle, hands-on reiki to each individual. You could feel the elevated frequency of healing the reiki provided and see the relaxing effects on class participants.
Reiki Enhances the Benefits of Prenatal Yoga
Restorative yoga poses are also used in prenatal yoga, although some of them may differ as they are adapted for the pregnant body. Restorative prenatal yoga poses provide much needed relaxation, release, relief, and grounding for expectant mothers. In addition, prenatal yoga emphasizes building stamina and core strength, focusing on the pelvic floor, and improving breathwork.
I was fortunate enough to take prenatal yoga throughout my three pregnancies. Those classes offered a much-needed refuge to relax, cope with the discomforts of pregnancy on the body, and feel a sense of camaraderie and support in the sanctuary of other prenatal yoginis. As my prenatal yoga teacher, Jane Austin says, “Yoga helps us reconnect into a state of trust in ourselves, one breath at a time”. This is even more vital for expectant mothers, who need to have faith and trust in themselves, their pregnancy, their baby, and that the path that is unfolding will work out fine.
“The greatest benefit to working with reiki and pregnancy is to bring the pregnancy into harmony with nature, and to open the mother to the fullest expression of love and trust possible at that time in her life.”
Annette Kohn-Lau, Reiki Master
To deepen this feeling of calm and trust, blending reiki with prenatal yoga helps expectant moms to drop deeper in to a state of balance. Those benefits in turn are passed on to the fetus. Initiating a flow of reiki at specific targeted regions of the body can also enhance the effects. Reiki practitioner Mia Tennenbaum explains, “Working on the crown of the head seems to help with focus and breathing. Working on the lower back seems to ease stress. Hands placed on the pregnant belly seem to lift spirits and build inspiration.” As reiki master Annette Kohn-Lau shares, “The greatest benefit to working with reiki and pregnancy is to bring the pregnancy into harmony with nature and to open the mother to the fullest expression of love and trust possible at that time in her life.”
Find more information about the benefits of restorative yoga and reiki in these resources: