Shamanic Reiki

Shamanic Reiki blends wisdom from many traditions, including Mayan, Native American, Earth-based wisdom, etc.

Shamanic Reiki blends wisdom from many traditions, including Mayan, Native American, Earth-based wisdom, etc.

I recently completed a Level 2 Shamanic Reiki certification with Stacey “Sky” Gibbons, a Forrest Yoga teacher and Reiki master. I completed Level 1 with Stacey in October 2012. Level 2, as Stacey noted, is a much deeper attunement than the Reiki 1 attunement. But wait. What’s an attunement? A reiki attunement is given by the Reiki  master to the student. An attunement is a series of reiki hand positions, symbols, and breath techniques to transmit the energy of the reiki master, along with his or her lineage of reiki masters, to the student, empowering him or her to give the reiki treatment at that level.

Symbols are used in reiki. These symbols were said to have appeared to Dr. Usui, the founder of the system of reiki that has since been used as a platform to evolve new styles of reiki (in a nutshell, “traditional” vs. “Western” reiki). Symbols are given in level 2 that allow the practitioner to send reiki at a distance, or in other words, to perform distance healing. In the reiki system, “distance” can be interpreted as physical distance or linearly, as in time (sending reiki to events in the past, for instance).

Shamanic Reiki differs from tradition reiki in that shamanic techniques are layered on top of the reiki energy treatment to give, in my opinion, a much more complete and personal healing experience. Some of the shamanic techniques we learned and practiced during this training included shamanic journeying, the use of stones/crystals/plants or other earth elements in the reiki session, and “cutting cords,” or energetically severing ties between people.

As reiki sees “no future, no past, no present,” energetic ties to people from our past can persist to this day. Stacey even told us that women retain energetic ties to any man she has ever been intimate with. It was in this context that we performed the cord cutting ceremony, to allow the energy that woman naturally gives out to come back to her luminous field, aka her light body or energy body. Stacey taught us that feminine polarity is give/receive, symbolized by the void of her vagina/uterus, so the woman continues to draw energy, much in the way the Galactic Center continuously pulls things towards it. She compared this to the masculine polarity which is a more outward-directed/searching energy and is fed by movement, variety, and conquering. This is a blog post in itself, so let me stop here before getting carried away…

Using shamanic techniques before, during, or after reiki treatment brings added insight. Reiki moves energy in a very palpable way for those sensitive to such things. For example, during a treatment I thought for sure the person treating me had her hands on my right hip. It was not the case. She was not touching my right hip, but I felt the most heat, pressure, and sensation in that area. In other scenario, a woman receiving reiki treatment could not stop a tremor in her shoulder, even though reiki hands were not on her shoulder. Reiki students are taught that reiki energy goes where it is needed, so while hands may be on one part of the body, the energy is activated throughout the body. Shamanic techniques add another layer of insight to what is going on in the body, so a student could connect to the areas of greatest sensation and use visualization, for instance, to see his/her energy body as a transparent crystal, then look for “occlusions” in the crystal body. The seeing is done intuitively, and this is an area where Shamanic Reiki shines, for intuition is a major tool of the shaman.

On the first night of our training, after receiving the Reiki 2 symbols, I was exhausted. The same thing was reported by most of my fellow students in the training, due to having loads of energy moved in the work we did that day. On the 2nd day, we felt much revived, and the evening of day 2 I did not feel so wiped out. Stacey told us that over the next 21 days, the energy from the attunement will settle and move within us, and to be alert to changes subtle or overt. Within 24 hours of completing the training, I broke out with pimples and a cold sore! It was like my body was literally erupting and purging. Break outs are not too common for me, and I felt like this was directly tied to energy I was moving via the work. The training did help me bring to the surface a few issues that had been rattling around in my brain, which I did not know needed as much ventilation as they did, but I found out just how much I needed to release these energies by sobbing quietly throughout an entire 30 minute reiki treatment. During this experienced, I observed which hand positions caused tears to well up, and which helped them subside. Placements over the heart center definitely welled up more tears, while positions over the crown chakra helped them dissipate.

Shamanic Reiki both strengthens and reinforces intuitive power, in both the giver and receiver. Shamanism gives a new context in which to practice reiki, and the combined forces are far greater their either on its own. I will write more about my experiences working with reiki energy and shamanism as I continue learning. I am grateful to be part of this lineage of healers, which goes back to my teacher’s teacher, Llyn Roberts.

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Filed under crystals & gemstones, healing, mind body spirit, shamanism

Does the 200-hour yoga teacher training produce well-qualified teachers?

Signs you are in a TT: colored pens & pencils; binders & notebooks; foam yoga blocks used as desks :)

Signs you are in a TT: colored pens & pencils; binders & notebooks; foam yoga blocks used as desks :)

As yoga grows in popularity, more scrutiny is being cast upon teacher training programs. Is the 200-hour teacher training enough to really prepare someone for teaching yoga? I look into this question in a blog post I wrote for Pravassa.com. This is a multi-layered question with no right answer since many of us decide to do a yoga teacher training only after we’ve had decades of practice, while some of us jump in after only a few months. These, and other factors, weigh in on the final answer of “does a 200-hour teacher training adequately prepare people to teach yoga?”

In my opinion, a personal practice is where a teacher finds his/her wisdom, but a yoga teacher training, or “YTT” in the parlance, obviously fills in certain key gaps (like anatomy, a structured approach to the Sutras, etc.) that practitioners may not have dove into in their own practice.

Read more here…and please comment if you have something to add to the conversation.

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How to cure hiccups with yoga

Since I was a little girl, I’ve had a tendency to get the hiccups. My mom told me I frequently had them in utero, and I still get them. In the past, I tried all the old-fashioned treatments: breathing into a paper bag (pretty good results), eating a teaspoon of sugar (no), drinking a glass of water upside down (how do you do that?) or getting someone to scare me (never works when you’re expecting it). But thanks to my yoga practice, I discovered a new way to cure hiccups: uddiyana bandha.

Uddiyana translates from Sanskrit to mean, basically, “flying up.” It’s what your belly does when you take uddiyana bandha. So how can you learn how to use this technique to cure hiccups? Follow this video from one of my teachers Erica Mather, where she instructs  uddiyana bandha. Practice this a few times when you don’t have hiccups, so you can be prepared to take action when you do.

One day I realized that since hiccups are due to a spasm in the diaphragm, something that tones and relaxes the diaphragm might help. I tried uddiyana and behold! hiccups gone. The more refined the practice of uddiyana becomes, the more you can sort of “feel around” using your diaphragm to find the area that is under spasm and pull gently up on that area. Basically use uddiyana, and the empty breath retention (known as a rechaka kumbhaka), to sooth the spasmodic musculature. Now I use this technique every time I get an attack of the hiccups, and have been able to cure any hiccup attack with just one or two repetitions (and long kumbhakas) of uddiyana.

This is an advanced practice, and the bandhas are primarily energetic locks, so having the assistance of a teacher to help you understand what you should be doing/feeling and why is helpful. If you proceed without a teacher, move with caution, never rushing thru the practice and always honoring your feelings – if it doesn’t feel right, stop.

And here’s something fascinating: hiccups can be traced back, genetically, to fish.

physiological cause of hiccups

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Riding the Breath (cross-posted from ReflectionsYoga.com)

Here is a blog post I wrote for one of the studios where I teach, the lovely midtown Manhattan oasis, Reflections Center for Conscious Living. It’s amazing that such a serene and lovely space for yoga and meditation exists in the middle of hustle-bustle Hell’s Kitchen, NYC. That’s one of the things that makes Reflections so special. It’s also where I did my first yoga teacher training, with my teacher Paula Tursi. She taught me a great deal about the breath, in particular, she taught me how to watch the breath, and to use this watchfulness to know when I’m struggling or trying too hard in a pose. Without further ado, here is the text of the post, or you can read it in its original form here.

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Riding the Breath

One of yoga’s gifts is the cultivation of witness consciousness. By teaching us to watch, with compassionate detachment, the fluctuations of our minds and bodies, yoga shows us that everything is always arising or dissolving.

We start with the breath and watch its fluctuations, its rise and fall in our bodies. Then we begin to extend our awareness to our bodies, and watch sensations rise and fall in them as we move through the poses. Another way to help us build awareness is to watch our thoughts and the attitude we bring to practice. By checking in with how we’re feeling when we sit in those first few opening breaths of class, we can set a baseline of tone or attitude that we can compare against once practice is over, and then see again the cycle of arising and dissolving.

To see everything as either arising or dissolving helps us when life takes its inevitable challenging turns. Cultivating witness consciousness and compassion towards yourself on your mat can help you bring this same watchfulness to your life. Instead of being caught in the drama of things ending or the exultation of things beginning, what would happen if you took an attitude of equanimity and allowed things to simply settle into place?

For many of us, the idea of letting go of control is very threatening. We have agendas that want fulfilling and we have invested in things turning out such and such a way. When things don’t go as we hoped, many of us suffer twice: once for not getting what we wanted, and twice for having our expectations thrashed. And yet we keep fantasizing into the future and sowing the seeds of our disappointment.

When meeting the edge of a challenging yoga pose, our teachers usually tell us to slow down, approach with respect and awareness, breathe, and feel. Witness consciousness is doing this before every big and small decision, before each potential argument, before each potential disappointment, before each conversation, before we deepen into another yoga pose, in short, always! If we can pause long enough to not barge ahead when a mindful step is a more skillful choice, we may find the rough edges of our lives becoming smoother. Instead of a series of ups and downs, we can learn to navigate ourselves right down the middle, riding the edge with grace and mindfulness.

~Post written by Lola Rephann

Lola teaches at Reflections Wednesday nights at 6:30pm (Foundations 1), Fridays at 6pm (Yin Yoga) and Sundays at 12:30 (Quick Fix)

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Juvenile Red-Tail Hawk in Jersey City, NJ

Juvenile Red-Tail Hawk in Jersey City, NJ

Juvenile red-tail hawk with prey near Journal Square.

Red-tail hawks have been spotted in Jersey City since 2009 (at least according to a quick Google search). This forum post, started in September of 2009, shows a photo of an adult red-tail hawk perched near Journal Square’s PATH station. The Jersey Journal also photographed a hawk (same one?) in 2009, this photo taken a few weeks earlier in August. Then, fast forward to February 2012, and we have video footage of a red-tail hawk atop St. Bridget’s Church in Jersey City.

The above hawk being a juvenile leads me to think that the adult from 2009 has reared offspring in this area.

The animal totem of hawk governs visionary abilities and guardianship. The red-tail hawk is considered a messenger. Whenever it shows up, a message is coming. This is a powerful totem having to do with discovering and living from your life purpose, or said another way, living your dharma.

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January 21, 2013 · 3:09 pm

Yoga in Jersey City

Do you live in Jersey City, New Jersey in the Journal Square area? Are you looking for yoga instruction in the Jersey City Journal Square area? I am a certified yoga instructor living in Jersey City near Journal Square available for private, semi-private, group, and corporate classes.

There are not many options for yoga in the Jersey City area, especially around our lovely Journal Square area. I live a short walk from the Journal Square PATH station and can teach in the privacy of my home or yours. Private yoga instruction is actually the way yoga was taught eons ago, with one student and one teacher working together to raise the consciousness of the student, or devotee as they were called then. A modern teacher/student relationship is not too different, with me, the teacher, working closely with you, the student, to figure out what is most important to you, what is most valuable to you, and helping you become more aware of the immense power for creativity and manifestation within you.

Whether you want to build on a current yoga practice, start practicing yoga for the first time, relax, de-stress, calm your mind, improve your health, increase your flexibility and strength, defeat insomnia, become more balanced and serene, find more joy in your life, or just experience the beautiful presence of mind that is the gift of yoga, and you live in Jersey City, New Jersey, I may be the teacher for you.

My yoga teaching background includes the following:

  • staff teacher for nearly three years at Reflections Yoga in midtown Manhattan
  • experience working with teenagers, adults, corporate groups, beginner yoga students, and recovery from injury
  • experienced thai massage therapist
  • over 12 years of personal practice
  • study with world renown teachers
  • extensive study of yoga philosophy, pranayama, and meditation
  • bilingual Spanish
  • I have training in Yin Yoga, Forrest Yoga, hatha & vinyasa yoga, thai massage, and meditation.

Together we can design a custom yoga and wellness program for you (or with your family or friends) that will bring increased vitality, joy, and relaxation to your life! Yoga will keep you young in mind, body, and spirit.

Please contact me with any questions about creating a custom yoga program for your Jersey City Journal Square lifestyle. I am honored to be of service.  Please see my About Me page for more information on my teaching background and style.

I look forward to be of service in the healing, health and wholeness of Jersey City residents. Namaste.

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Spiral

Happened to find this in the stream of blogs I follow and thought it was worth sharing here. Not only does this spiral happen within our current incarnation, but I also believe our rebirths follow the same incarnational spiral.

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