yoga

Yoga & Reiki

Yoga & Reiki 101

My OM artwork
My OM artwork

In Sanskrit, yoga means the union of spirit, mind, body, and breath. This union occurs when you open your heart and surrender to the present moment. I believe when you live in the present moment, yoga blesses you with the benefits of:

  • Awareness of your concentration, effort, and mindfulness.
  • Articulation of truth in your intention and understanding.
  • Authenticity in your speech, actions, and livelihood.

I teach clients how these benefits help yoga to become Your Opportunity to Graciously Accept yourself and life.™

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a Japanese word that means universal life energy in the human body. It is a form of healing touch that involves the transfer of energy from practitioner to client to enhance the body’s natural ability to calm, de-stress, and heal itself through the balancing of energy.

20 Year Yoga & Reiki Love Affair

Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley, www.leighmosley.com
Photo Credit: Leigh Mosley, http://www.leighmosley.com

1995 is the year it all happened. I fell in love with yoga first. It happened while I attended my first yoga class during an African-American studies trip to Egypt. The class ended with a round of OMs and a deep bow to my heart as I chanted the Sanskrit mantra Namaste. It means, “The light within me salutes the light within you.”

When I returned from my trip, I hired a private yoga teacher to guide me through the asanas (poses). Her name was Gloria. She was a kind, firm, loving, and knowledgeable woman I met in a monthly meditation group. She showed me how to embrace yoga as my own healing balm for anxiety, stress relief, and tight hips, hamstrings, and legs that needed stretching after my long runs.

My Reiki love affair began during one of the monthly meditation group meetings. A group member who was also trained as a Reiki practitioner gave me a mini Reiki session. The academic inside of me decided to search for a book on the topic. My search led me to Diane Stein’s book, Essential Reiki: A Complete Guide to An Ancient Healing Art. Essential Reiki became one of my self-care go-to resources.

Yoga Teacher Calling

Practicing yoga in Malcolm X-Meridian Hall Park
Practicing yoga in Malcolm X-Meridian Hall Park

2004 was a big year for me. I celebrated my 40th birthday and reflected on what I was passionate about. Yoga was one of my top five passions. It took me several months to get clear on what my yoga passion was all about. Journaling and meditation helped me realize I wanted to teach yoga. Thanks to the Internet, I was able to do a search on yoga teacher training courses located near my home. I found one at a brand new yoga studio called Flow Yoga Center. It was located next to my favorite Whole Foods and several blocks from my employer and home.

Before writing my check for the six-month training, I took a class taught by Faith Hunter, one of my yoga teachers and mentors, at Flow. Hunter’s class was OM Amazing OM! After class, she encouraged me to pursue my passion. That class sealed the deal and allowed me to become a member of Flow’s first class of teacher trainees. My yoga sisters and I were led by Debra Mishalove, the co-founder of Flow, and a team of phenomenal instructors during the fall of 2005 and winter of 2006.

When I completed my teacher training, I launched kg yoga life practices to teach kind and gentle yoga that honors the heart of each individual’s needs. Publishing a yoga blog on a weekly basis became a part of my service offerings. My blog gave me a chance to talk about my personal yoga journey and build community and share resources with my clients.

Also, I began offering a free monthly yoga class in Malcolm X/Meridian Hill Park (which later turned into a MeetUp.com group that existed from 2007 to 2014). Through my classes and blog, I encouraged my clients to use their life experiences as opportunities to surrender their egos, open their hearts, and practice mindfulness (sati), loving kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), honesty (satya), empathetic joy (mudita), and equanimity (upekka) on and off their yoga mats.

Practicing yoga in Montego Bay, Jamaica in 2011
Practicing yoga in Montego Bay, Jamaica in 2011

In addition to my yoga teaching, I practice some form of yoga every day. Most times, it is yin yoga, gentle yoga in my bed, office yoga at my desk or forward fold and twisting poses while I am waiting for a subway train or bus. My home practice is enhanced through regular participation in a yin yoga class offered by my teacher Danielle Polen at Tranquil Space. Bringing my yoga mat with me when I travel has created many wonderful memories including some of my favorites in Montego Bay, Jamaica in 2011 and London, England in 2014.

Me and London-based yoga teacher Rosemarie St. Louis after her vinyasa class in East London in 2014
Me and London-based yoga teacher Rosemarie St. Louis after her vinyasa class in East London in 2014