LONG STORY SHORT
When I was broken, Reiki & Yoga pieced me back together again. At my lowest moments, if I could crawl towards my mat, or do some Reiki self-care, I could get through. These two practices brought me back to life, and I sincerely believe they can do the same for most anyone; one or the other, or both if you're so inclined. If you want the nitty gritty, I invite you to keep reading.
MY REIKI JOURNEY
After working in the news industry in our Nations Capital for several years, I found myself completely burned out and battling depression. I was lost and unhappy, and didn’t really know where to turn. I spent a year writing a novel, became certified to teach English as a second language and had plans to move overseas to do just that. But nothing felt right, and I stayed stuck.
So I moved to New York City and became a styling assistant, working on photo shoots for advertising and editorial campaigns. I was lucky enough to have a sister established in the business, and somehow ended up with a job that dozens of girls applied for on a regular basis. I shopped all day long, went to photo shoots and sat around, eating delicious, expensive catered meals. I traveled every few months, and did the same thing, just somewhere different. And I was miserable.
While working for one of the worlds largest advertisers, I finally came to the realization that my job was to help make poison look pretty, and to convince you that if only you would use this specific brand of shampoo, or laundry detergent, then your life would finally be better, and just what you wanted it to be. And I was lying to you.
I found myself in a place where my entire focus was negativity. I could only see what was wrong with the world, and with everyone around me, thereby making me a part of the problem. And so I made the decision to shift my focus to trying to make the world a better place, one moment at a time. And, thankfully, I found Reiki.
My first experiences with Reiki were all done remotely, in fact the first time I received Reiki in person was in a classroom setting once I began my training. I was amazed at how someone clear across the country could tap into my energy field, and help me to shift and reshape how I was feeling. I'll never forget how quiet my mind was after my first session — that constant chatter we all experience day in and day out simply ceased. Did it return? Of course, Reiki is not a magic wand. However, what I realized was that it was a way for me to tap into my true self. Reiki gave me access to that quiet place that resides deep inside, that place that most of us long to inhabit on a regular basis. There are lots of ways to get there, Reiki is just one, however, it's one of my favorites!
It wasn't long before I knew that I wanted to become a Reiki practitioner myself. Living in NYC at the time, I was afforded lots of different training options, but I quickly found my home at The New York Open Center. I eagerly progressed through Reiki I & Reiki II as quickly as my teacher would allow, and then began the Reiki III (Master) program as soon as it was re-established there. I have been blessed to have trained alongside a group of people that I will always consider to be my family.
Since then, I've moved back to the Northern Virginia area to be closer to family and to be surrounded by more trees and wide open spaces. I needed a bit more green in my life to feel balanced and free, and so I listened to my heart and left the concrete jungle behind. Don't get me wrong, I miss the food(!), but it was well worth it!
My life has changed dramatically since Reiki has shined in, and my desire and passion is to bring that same blissful change to other people. I would be truly honored to share in your healing journey with you, and to help shine the bright light of Reiki into your life as well.
MY YOGA JOURNEY
After spending many years lodged firmly inside my own head, I had become completely disconnected with my body. I knew it was there, as it carried around my mind, but I had no connection with this vessel that supported me in every way that I asked it to. It took a caring therapist to recommend yoga to me before I would even consider it. In theory, I knew yoga could be good for me, but I was never quite up for feeling less than perfect when compared to all those perky 20-somethings in their tight leggings and tiny tank tops. So I decided to take her other suggestion of Thai Chi in an effort to reconnect with my physical self.
It didn't work. I felt awkward and weird and after 6 classes, I gave up. Luckily the teacher mentioned that she was offering yoga at her studio as well, and so I finally gave in, after being informed about the mostly older population of the yoga class, and how a woman from India taught the classes. No tight leggings & tiny tanks? Okay, fine, I'll go.
At the end of my first class with a kind and encouraging teacher name Deepti, I laid on my mat in Savasana and cried. The tears streamed down my face, and I could hear my body saying, so clearly, "Thank you, I've needed this. I've always needed this." And I was hooked.
I practiced for months with Deepti and then made the move to NYC. I continued practicing on my own at home, buying lots of DVD's and doing my own thing on the mat, rather than paying the expensive drop in fees at those tight legging/tiny tank studios. I wasn't ready to be in the mix, and I realized that I didn't need to be to get the benefits of yoga. It was about me, showing up on my mat; each time reinforcing that I did, in fact, love myself.
When I returned to Northern Virginia, I got serious about my practice. I started taking weekly classes at the local REC center, and enjoyed them, but it wasn't enough. So I went in search of studio and found one that seemed to fit the bill. I went to my first class there and fell in love with the teacher and sweet little studio instantly. I bought the new student package, which offered unlimited classes for 1 month for $43, and I went EVERY single day for that entire month. I had left NYC a broken mess, and this was my therapy. This is what put me back together again. Showing up, on my mat, and proving to myself that I could love this girl whose hamstrings just wouldn't budge, and whose arms may simply never be strong enough to get up into Crow. I could still love her, it didn't matter. And I could even wear leggings and a tank top, and not judge myself. And more importantly, not judge the girl that looked better in her leggings and tank than I did. It didn't matter, I was showing up.
Satchidananda Ashram kept coming at me from all angles. My shaman, my therapist, someone I knew from college - the name just kept coming up. So I looked into this weird place called Yogaville and was intrigued. I thought maybe, just maybe, I could become a yoga teacher one day. And so I went into class and asked my teacher if she had every heard of Yogaville and she smiled and said that that's where she had trained and where she goes hOMe to as often as she can. I knew in that moment that I wanted to know more, and that I had to get down there somehow. But I wasn't sure I could teach, because let's be honest, I still can't get into Crow. But it was Kanta, my favorite teacher who made me realize that I have something to offer, and that there are students out there who can learn from me, despite that fact that my double-jointed elbowed arms just won't push me up into that bird-like contortion.
And so I applied, and quickly heard back that I would have a phone interview before being officially accepted. I had the pleasure of speaking with Satya Greenstone, a lifelong devotee of Swami Satchidananda, the woman who would be leading the specific training session I had applied for. In my application, I had named both of my teachers, Deepti & Kanta. Satya mentioned how both Deepti and Kanta had trained with her, and that stopped me in my tracks. I had had no idea that Deepti had trained at Yogaville, and it was in that moment that I had one of my most favorite realizations - I was never not going there. It was always in the cards, lurking somewhere in my deck and it was finally time for me to shuffle it all to the top.
I spent 4 weeks immersed in the most amazing program of my life. Once again, all I had to do was show up. If I just showed up, with an open heart and an open mind, they assured me they would turn me into a teacher. And by the time I taught my final class on the last day of training, I had sincerely learned that if I simply got out of my own way, all the knowledge I had acquired would seemingly flow right through me.
Teaching yoga has become my most favorite thing to do - I love sharing what I've learned, and I love the fact that I have to bend my knees in a forward bend (standing or sitting!), because it gives my students permission to bend their knees, too. And let's face it, most of us need to, but we try so hard to make ourselves look like we belong on the cover of Yoga Journal, that we forget that the most important thing isn't looking perfect in a pose, it's just about showing up.