Love Letter - Spring, 2018

Dear Urban Yogis,

The "promise of spring" has been fulfilled, yet again!  This is my favorite season, perhaps because I'm a Taurus and a huge fan of flowering plants.

I see the light green leaves, gentle rain and bright blooms of springtime as proof of life's resiliency.  Nature, in her perfect way, mirrors the ways in which we, too, spring to life after lying dormant.

It's ironic to me that many of us set new year's resolutions in the dead of winter, when right around the corner is a time of extra daylight, cheerful colors and bodies  rebounded from flu season.

Would anyone else care to resurrect their best intentions now that nature is cheering us on?

We all have unique lives, needs and aspirations. As I continue my advanced Yogic studies at The Soul of Yoga, I'm learning more about the ways in which Yoga can meet us exactly where we are, and gently steer us in the direction of our hearts' desire.  

It takes a teacher with specialized training to show us the tools that are always at our disposal to meet our present needs. Once we know how to utilize these tools, we can be independent, and use them as needed to be well.

I am being trained by brilliant teachers who work in the realm where modern science and ancient practice say the exact same things! The field I'm entering unifies the empirical and the qualitative aspects of self-healing.  

These teachings are part of the core curriculum in the Yoga Therapy program in which I am currently a student.  Our classes in Holistic Anatomy and Physiology of Yoga have been produced and made publicly available on the new online learning platform, Soul Yoga Therapy!

Learning about the human body through the lens of Yoga is, to me, like a continual journey on the magic school bus.  Beyond my amazement at the body's way of balancing every single thing that happens to it, however, is an unshakable optimism.  I am convinced of everyone's ability to heal through their own efforts. I know of evidence-based practices to support this conviction, and it's my desire to teach anyone who is willing to use them.

We are unimaginably powerful and we have access to mighty tools that remove the obstacles standing in our way of feeling so.  It's a remarkable time to be alive, and I hope you'll join me in seizing the springtime of our souls to flourish the way nature intended us to.

With great love and respect,

Susana Jones

How to Take a Reiki Nap

Of all the nurturing practices I've adopted over the years, the one that I resort to when I'm most in need of some tender loving self-care is what I call "The Reiki Nap."

A Reiki Nap is a time of rest that is infused by the natural healing energy we call 'Reiki' that flows through one's hands.  This flow of energy can be strengthened and directed through Reiki Trainings, like those I offer, but even people with no prior experience of Reiki have healing energy in their hands, and thus, can do this!

In Reiki, we use our hands as instruments because they are energetic extensions of the heart, which is the home of love, and therefore our source for energy that heals. Our instinct, when hurting, is to put our hands on the places where we ache.  We tend to do this whether we're in physical pain, mental anguish, or emotional upset.

We don't have to wait until we're really hurting to use our hands as self-healing instruments, however.  That same energy is available to us 24/7, and can help us prevent stress-related dis-ease in mind and body.  

When we notice signs that our vitality is low, like a weakened immune system, fatigue, burnout,  irritability, poor digestion and the like, a little time spent in a Reiki Nap can go a long way.  What's even better is that it doesn't cost a thing!

Here's how to do it:

  1. Decide how much time you have for relaxation, if you have time constraints, and set a mellow-sounding alarm.
  2. Cozy up to your liking with blankets to ease relaxation.
  3. Grab an extra pillow to prop over your chest, and rest your upper arms on it.
  4. Bring each hand's fingers and thumbs together, and let the hands relax.
  5. Close your eyes.
  6. Place the hands for a few minutes at a time over any of the following areas:
    • eyes, ears, top of the head, back of the head, throat, heart, sides of the abdomen, lower abdomen, hips.
  7. Adjust the pillow and hands as needed to make it effortless.
  8. Observe the thinking mind, and let yourself be in that space between awake and asleep.
  9. Let yourself fall asleep, or not. Either way, you are relaxing, which is replenishing.

Some tips for ease and relaxation:

  • You can't do this wrong.
  • The more comfortable you make this for yourself, the better.
  • You may only bring your hands to a couple of places before falling asleep, which is fine.
  • Can't take a nap? Consider doing this to fall asleep at night, or after hitting Snooze in the morning!
    • (My student and fellow Reiki Master Janet Ratniewski came up with the "Reiki Snooze," which I thought was brilliant!)

Questions?  I'd love to read them, and answer them as best I can below.

In Joy and Peace, 


On Reiki: "Is it working?"

I pulled this excerpt from an e-mailed reply to a student of mine. Her inquiry followed what she considered to be a "true" experience of Reiki, provided by a new and awesome practitioner.  She wondered if her previous trials in receiving Reiki actually "worked."  Here's my reply:

I am so glad that you had a new experience of Reiki!  My response to your question of "it working" before you felt it so powerfully, is that Reiki is always working within our bodies, our planet and the universe.  It's the unifying life force energy of all things.  It's never absent, and thus is always contributing to the pulse of life in some way, shape or form.  A Reiki practitioner simply magnifies and helps direct the energy.  Some practitioners do this more effectively than others, and some people have a more visceral experience of it than others.

My experience in practicing reiki daily is that sometimes I don't feel much from it.  We're working with subtle energy so, by it's nature, it's not always obvious to the senses.  On other days, perhaps when I'm in greater need of it, or my senses are heightened by yogic practice or other variables, I actually feel energy moving in unexpected ways.  Whether or not I experience the characteristic tingling, warming, or pulling effects of Reiki on a given day, I feel qualitatively better for it.  Undoubtedly, part of that feeling is from the simple, yet profound reward of taking time for relaxation, and turning my attention inward.

By practicing yoga, we tend to be more sensitive to things.  Our self-awareness is heightened by the practice of going within and feeling the effects of different postures and ways of breathing.  Many people aren't so sensitive as to feel what we feel through yogic practice. A more stagnant lifestyle and externally-rooted awareness promotes less movement of energy and connection to one's body, which can make subtle energy less easy to detect.

Regardless, if this energy weren't working through us, our ecosystem and the cosmos, we would cease to be.

So, if you've been practicing more yoga and introspection than usual, perhaps you felt your latest treatment more powerfully because you're better able to feel it.  Or perhaps your system had different needs on this day.  Perhaps the Reiki practitioner was better connected to his or her own practice, and was thus able to direct a greater flow of energy through you.

We'll never know.  And I think that's ok!  But if you've found a Reiki practitioner who's work really works for you, then by all means, keep seeing her!

Here is a fabulous article I use in my Reiki classes to explain the science behind reiki.

Thanks for the opportunity to lend my "expertise" here.  It's such a humbling field to work in.  Reiki itself is the true healer!

Much love, and ease to you,