I wouldn’t normally consider myself cynical or a sceptic: I think homoeopathy has it’s place, I am aware of the different chakras, and I have ventured into the weirder side of yoga, but learning about Reiki really challenged my comfort levels.
I didn’t know too much about Reiki, just the basics – practitioners place their hands over your body and transfer energy from them to you. My mum has had a Reiki massage and really enjoyed it, but it has always been a bit too “out there” for me. However, this challenge has definitely made me open to so many more things, and I have been trying to take advantage of all sorts of free opportunities available at the moment. That’s why I was intrigued when I found a free Reiki class on Mind Body Green, a wellbeing and mindfulness website I enjoy, and whose classes normally run around €200.
Full disclaimer here, I have not completed the whole class yet. It is roughly 5 hours long, and I am about halfway through. I really tried to go into this with an open mind. It was quite interesting to learn about the history of Reiki, but I was surprised to learn that what I thought was an ancient Japanese art, was actually developed in 1922. I was even more surprised when it’s creator came up with the idea after a “mystical experience on top of a mountain”. I have to admit, this was really testing my limits.
Once we moved out of the theory and into the practical side of the course, I began to lean into it a little more, something which I suspected might happen before I started. I knew I wouldn’t necessarily believe in the healing power of Reiki, but I was willing to accept that it might help to relax or reduce stress. Some of the practices in the videos really did feel relaxing. The very first practical practice was quite eye-opening: I held my hands out in front of me, as though I was holding a ball (something that is a key part of tai chi, and qi gong – two practices I love), and then I moved my hands in and out. I didn’t feel anything when I moved my hands apart, but as soon as I started to bring them back together I felt as though my hands were two repelling magnets. I understand this is a physical reaction, but I was surprised to feel it all the same.
My afternoon with Reiki was a mixed bag. The theory and history were totally beyond my comfort level, but once I applied some of the practical elements, I could feel that it felt quite calming. I’ll continue the course to give it a fair shot, and I reserve no judgement if I find I’d like to keep practising it or not. This challenge has involved me pushing my boundaries, and softening to new ideas – I genuinely don’t think I would have given the Reiki class a second look before I started it.