Whether you’re a student or a teacher, Reiki can empower any yogi. Discovered by Dr. Mikao Usui of Japan in 1922, Reiki is an energy healing modality with the aim to clear energy blocks in the body.

Yoga, too, very much has an energy healing component. Asana, meditation and pranayama tone and balance our chakra system: the energetic body introduced in the Vedas. Our chakras are our centers of consciousness that store the energy of our every thought, feeling, emotion, memory or experience. While yoga uses physical and mental practices in order to balance our life force, Reiki can be a wonderful supplement to every yogi’s sadhana in order to bring mind-body balance.

To get you started, here are 10 ways Reiki can take your yoga practice to the next level.

10 Reasons Reiki Will Uplevel Your Yoga Practice

Reiki Deepens Awareness of Your True Self

"The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali" present that a major aim of our practice is to find stillness in order to know our True Self. Reiki balances energy flow in our chakra system so that we’re rooted in our bodies, connected to our intuition and open to wisdom. Once we balance our energetic anatomy, we begin to know our true nature.

(For some more background on this text, read The Foundation of The Yoga Sutras.)

Reiki Clears Suppressed Feelings and Memories

When we are practicing asana, we are already bringing things that need healing to the surface. Many of us have felt sudden anger or sadness on the mat and were reminded of situations or relationships that we need to acknowledge and transform in our life. Reiki can help move the energetic residue of feelings and memories, transforming them into what’s of our highest evolvement.

Reiki Helps Us Sink Into Deeper Relaxation

One of the most frequently reported benefits of Reiki is the deep stillness that people experience. A blind trial was conducted with 45 participants who were split into three groups. One group simply rested, the second group received the Reiki placebo from people who didn’t know about Reiki, and the third group received Reiki from actual practitioners. The findings were that those who received Reiki had significant reductions in their heart rate and blood pressure compared to the control and placebo groups. Since Reiki centers the autonomic nervous system, it can be a great way to enhance your own savasana, or your class’ savasana, if you’re a teacher.

Reiki Enhances Mindfulness

Just as practicing yoga does not simply encompass asana, practicing Reiki is not simply hands-on healing. The system of Reiki teaches meditation, breathwork, blessings, attunements, mantras, symbols and the precepts. The precepts are guidelines to living, similar to the the yamas and niyamas in the Yoga Sutras. They are:

Just for today, I will not worry.
Just for today, I will not be angry.
Just for today, I will be grateful.
Just for today, I will do my work honestly.
Just for today, I will be kind to every living thing.

The precepts help us surrender fully on the mat by encouraging us to release anger and worry one day at a time. They also teach two of the yamas in yoga philosophy: ahimsa (non-violence in action, speech or thought) and satya (honesty).

Reiki Helps Us Understand Sankalpa

Sankalpa, in Sanskrit, refers to an intention of the highest good and is an essential component to channeling Reiki. With a Reiki practice, we realize how quickly our energy responds to our intention. By changing our energy, we change our experience of life. Reiki reminds us that we have power to create and manifest our desires through heart-felt sankalpa.

Reiki Connects Our Consciousness

When we witness our energy in Reiki, we practice svadhyaya, or self-reflection. We recognize patterns and begin to notice which thoughts and feelings are draining, maintaining and enhancing our life force. We begin to see what aspects of our consciousness need healing. Through Reiki, we witness the fluctuations in our consciousness that Patanjali describes in Verse 1.2 of the Yoga Sutras: yogas citta vrtti nirodhah.

(Learn about the phrase and philosophy of 'Yogas Chitta Vritti Nirodha'.)

Reiki Opens Up Tight Spots for Increased Flexibility

Many of us practice yoga in order to open up and stretch our shoulders, hamstrings or hips. At the root of the issue, we may be holding a difficult emotion or story in these areas. Reiki brings life force into these areas, transforms the energy of those emotions and stories, and helps release years or even lifetimes of energy.

Reiki Advances Our Soul’s Journey

Reiki is often translated as "spiritually-guided life force energy." Calling in this subtle energy helps us learn the lessons we came here to learn and heal karmic ties. If you’re a yogi who knows you have a larger purpose here, Reiki can support your mind, body and soul in your discovery.

Reiki Heals the Root of Pain

Yoga students are often drawn to the practice to heal chronic neck, back and knee pain, amongst others. While asana strengthens our physical body and meditation strengthens our mental body, Reiki can strengthen our emotional and energetic bodies in order to heal the root of our pain.

Reiki Teaches Surrender

Patanjali presents that samadhi is attained by surrendering. While practicing Reiki, we intend for the energy to flow for the highest and greatest good of all, and then trust our unfolding and healing journeys. We learn to surrender through this process of creating intentions and trusting.

Choose Your Reason

Whether you practice Reiki for physical, mental, emotional or spiritual benefits, Reiki is the perfect complement to your sadhana. If you’re a student, you can share reiki with yourself, or with your sacred space. If you’re a teacher, you can share energy healing with your students in savasana, restorative poses, yoga nidra or even throughout class!

(Read on for How 500 Hours of Yoga Teacher Training Changed Me.)