Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

How to Stay Grounded: 25 Easy Techniques

Posted on November 9, 2017

How To stay grounded

 

As someone who has always loved living in my head (reading, thinking, writing, analyzing, often overanalyzing!) being grounded is not something that comes naturally to me. To compound matters, I was not an outdoors type of person. My mom used to force me to go outside as a kid, because left to my own devices I would have preferred staying inside and reading for hours. (Thanks, Mom!)

Living in New York City, I see a lot of clients and Reiki students with anxiety, as well as people who have trouble quieting their mind, and empaths who feel overwhelmed by the energy and feelings of those around them. Being grounded can really help, so I put together this list of 25 easy techniques on how to stay grounded.

First, what does it mean to be grounded?

To be grounded is to be fully present in your body, to be connected to the earth, to the world around you, to your breath and the way it moves through your body, to be aware of your emotions and how you’re feeling. Being grounded means you remember that you have a physical body.

By balancing the energy in your head with the energy in the rest of the body you can connect to your feet and how they touch the earth.

Here are 25 easy ways to help you stay grounded.

Body

     1. Pound the bottoms of your feet with your fists for a couple of minutes. We have 14,000 nerve endings on the bottoms of our feet, and this will help activate them and redistribute our energy into the feet and instead of the head.

     2. Pound the outside of the legs from the hips down to the feet with your fists (you can do this gently or more firmly). This will help energize and stimulate the Chinese meridians, or energy pathways located on the outside of the legs. Again it helps move the energy into the feet.

     3. Try reflexology. It’s probably one of the most grounding kinds of bodywork because it’s focused on the feet. Reflexology is based on the principle that a map of the body is represented on the feet. Applying pressure to specific points stimulates the nerve endings on the feet and balances the nervous system. (Anxiety is a sign that the nervous system is out of balance.)

Want DIY tips? Check out my Youtube channel with reflexology self help videos. Another option: get a wooden foot roller and use it for a minute or two each day.

     4. Take a bath with sea salt or Epsom salts. This is one of the most popular spiritual grounding techniques. While swimming in a lake or the ocean can really connect us to the earth, a bath can be an easier option (or try a foot bath if you don’t have a bath tub).

Take a bath

How can an empath protect themselves? This is an especially good tip if you have a tendency to feel too much and take on other people’s energy and emotions.

     5. Use essential oils that are grounding such as cedarwood or pine (any essential oils from trees). I absolutely love Andrea’s Alchemy grounding cedar oil roll-on blend.

     6. Try Donna Eden’s Daily 5-Minute Energy Routine for a week and notice how your body feels. This routine is another helpful tip for empaths to protect themselves.

     7. Work out: any form of exercise gets you into your body and out of your head: kick boxing, yoga, running, walking. Do the kind of exercise you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to do it regularly.

     8. Experience sensory deprivation: sometimes referred to as an isolation or flotation tank, the tank is filled with 1,000 pounds of Epsom salts, with water at skin temperature, and devoid of sound and light. The mind is free from distraction and the body is free from gravity. I tried it at Lift Floats.

     9. Try Frans Stiene’s grounding exercises. Known as the Reiki teacher’s teacher, and someone who flies around the world constantly to teach, Frans knows the importance of being grounded. Try both of his spiritually grounding techniques and compare.

     10. Buy a weighted blanket. The heaviness is restorative and calming for the nervous system. I sleep more deeply and wake feeling refreshed. Talk about literally grounding you to the earth!

Blanket

 

Mind

     11. Go on a news fast for a couple days, or even a week. This can serve as a reset, helping you evaluate the frequency of news you intake and how it affects your mindset and body. Hint: the mind might love the chatter and 24/7 news cycle, but the body definitely doesn’t.

     12. Leave your smart phone at home for a day. (I know! Can you even imagine?) I have one client who was sleeping with her phone under her pillow and checking news alerts on her phone first thing when she woke up, as well as endlessly throughout the day.

Those news alerts can trigger a very strong fight or flight response in the nervous system. So often the full news story takes time to become available, and there’s usually nothing we can do in the moment (except feel anxious and worried which doesn’t help anyone).

     13. Meditate. Meditate. Meditate. This is a calming way to train the brain (Hypnosis is another). If you don’t have a practice in place, try the free Insight Timer app. It has lots of guided meditations for a range of issues, which are often easier to stick with if you’re just starting out.

     14. Learn Reiki. Reiki is a simple way to connect to your intuition and center your mind and body. In my Reiki classes, I teach additional spiritual grounding techniques such as the purifying breath and dry bathing to help you center your energy and feel grounded. Again, this is another tool for empaths to protect themselves. (Learning Reiki years ago is what finally helped me meditate regularly after years of unsuccessfully trying other methods.)

     15. Ask yourself “what’s the next smallest step I need to take?” This trains your brain to stay on track and to be as close to the present moment as possible, rather than running 20 steps ahead and getting overwhelmed. I learned this from top hypnosis trainer John Overdurf. Changed my life.

 

Forest bathing

Nature

     16. Walk barefoot on the earth—rock, dirt, grass, sand…. For thousands of years our ancestors did this as a matter of course. The fact that this isn’t an easy thing to do living in a big city like New York tells us something about our literal and metaphorical connection to the earth.

     17. Try forest bathing. Spend time in nature and see how it changes your energy: walk by the river, spend time in a park, go for a hike, etc. In Japan, they call it forest bathing—immersing yourself in the forest for relaxation—doesn’t that sound beautiful? The Washington Post identified it as the latest stress-reducing trend in the U.S.

     18. Get fresh flowers or plants for your home, as well as rocks or sea shells, especially if you live in a high-rise building because you’re farther away from the earth. Think about it, our ancestors didn’t live in the air.

     19. Get crystals that are good for grounding—some of my favorites include selenite, shungite, and black tourmaline, but experiment and follow your intuition on what feels grounding to you. Energymuse.com has two good articles on crystals for grounding.

     20. Lay in the grass and imagine any negative emotions or physical imbalances sinking into the earth and being recycled. (You can do this in the winter but it may be more enjoyable on a nice summer day.)

     21. Stand and lean against a tree and imagine your heart becoming calm and your feet connecting to its roots.

 

Food

     22. Eat grounding foods: root vegetables, cooked foods, hearty stews (as opposed to raw foods like salads). This doesn’t mean don’t eat salads, but you want to experiment and see what foods help you feel more grounded, and find a nice balance depending on the time of year and temperature, as well as what’s going on in your life.

Stew

     23. Drink more water than you normally do—the human body consists of 60-70% water and the body needs it for optimal function.

     24. Cook a healthy meal. Think about it, cooking your own food is different than eating out or getting food delivered. Cooking brings you into the present moment in a very practical way—forcing you to pay attention as you measure the ingredients, follow the details of the recipe, and keep track of timing to ensure your food doesn’t burn, etc. You could take it a step further and reflect on where the food came from and all the people involved—from the farmer to the truck driver to the grocery store clerk—for this food to be here on your plate.

     25. Develop a daily routine of things that personally help you feel grounded. Experiment with the list above and add your own. Know that this is personalized to you and will change depending on time of year, weather, stress levels, and what’s going on in your life, etc. Aim to do one or two of these practices and techniques on a daily basis.

Staying grounded can be one of the most important ways to connect with yourself: bringing the soul, mind, and body together. By acknowledging that you live on Mother Earth, honoring this connection and support not only to the Earth, but to your body that allows you to be here and to feel the full range of human experience is why we are here. Thank your feet for their efforts to do this every day for us.

 

The Beginner’s Guide to Reiki Training

Posted on April 15, 2016

Beginner's Guide to Learning Reiki

Interested in learning Reiki? Here’s a handy beginner’s guide, which includes everything you need to know to be informed and get started:

Can anyone learn Reiki?
I get asked this question a lot and I can relate: I really wasn’t sure when I signed up for my first Reiki class years ago. The short answer is yes, each of us has a natural healing ability. Sometimes people feel overwhelmed or worried by this, while others aren’t sure where to start. Taking classes offers a structure and foundation to build on this ability.

There are 3 levels of Reiki training: beginning, intermediate, and advanced (or Reiki I, II, and III). Learning Reiki is a deeper experience than receiving a Reiki session because it allows you to take your healing into your own hands (literally) with a daily mindfulness practice.

Read on to find out more about learning Reiki.

What are the benefits of taking a Reiki class?
When you take a Reiki Level I class, you’ll learn about the 5 Reiki precepts, or principles to live by. These principles offer advice and a path to help us let go of anger and worry, to be true to ourselves, and to show compassion.

We can understand this advice intellectually, but learning Reiki offers us a way to go beyond this and embody the precepts through the hands on healing, meditation techniques, symbols and mantras (learned in Reiki II), and attunements.  Imagine the benefits you would experience if you were less angry and fearful, and felt calmer and more centered, no matter what stress you encountered in your life.

Read on to find out more about the benefits of incorporating the precepts into your life.

But can’t I just learn Reiki online?
While technology has its benefits, learning Reiki at an in-person training offers many things you can’t experience online such as:

• Practicing giving Reiki sessions with the supervision and feedback of the teacher and fellow students.
• Giving Reiki during an in-person class allows for physical touch, which helps you trust that that the energy is flowing. For most students, this trust often develops over time with practice.
• Receiving attunements in person (vs. online) can be reassuring to our linear mind. Students are more or less sensitive to energy, and having the physical presence of the teacher in front of them during this spiritual blessing often sets the mind at ease that something is happening.

Read more about the benefits (especially if you’re considering offering Reiki professionally).

How can I find a qualified Reiki teacher?
There are many different types of Reiki classes available, and you want to find the right one for you. Questions to consider as you’re looking for a qualified teacher include:

  • How long was the teacher’s own training and how long has s/he been teaching?
  • Do they have a daily Reiki self care and meditation practice?
  • How long is the class and is certification available?
  • Does the teacher offer ongoing support through practice nights and advanced training?

 

Read more to find out how to find a qualified teacher and make an informed decision that’s right for you.

How can Reiki impact every aspect of your life?
My daily Reiki practice has improved my life in so many different ways (and it continues to!). Over time here’s what I noticed:

  • positive changes in a chronic health condition
  • the ability to let go of a negative relationship pattern in my dating life
  • more clarity around how to make a career transition
  • the ability to better handle my finances
  • better time management
  • an increase in my creativity as a writer

 

Read on to find out more about my personal journey with Reiki, as well as one student’s feedback on what she noticed in her own life, and open up to some possibilities of how Reiki can transform your own life in a positive and powerful way.

Want to gain insight from past Reiki students? Here’s more about learning Reiki from the student’s perspective:

A yoga teacher and busy mom of three discovered that less is more when it comes to Reiki.

And another student connected to her own inner wisdom after learning to give herself a daily 10-minute Reiki treatment.

Find out how learning Reiki helped one student deal with a break up.

The practice of Reiki helped another student manage her ego (no easy task!).

Ok, I signed up for my first Reiki class, what should I do to set my expectations?
Here are the elements that are usually covered in a Reiki Level 1 class:

  • Discuss what is Reiki and the history of Reiki
  • Receive 4 attunements, or spiritual blessings (also known as Reiju)
  • Learn a Reiki self-care protocol
  • Discuss the Reiki precepts, or principles to live by
  • Discover Reiki meditations to focus the mind and center yourself
  • Learn a Reiki chair protocol to use with friends and family

 

To get the most out of your class, have an open mind and commit to practicing the Reiki self care protocol for a minimum of 21 days. Notice any little changes such as how you sleep, how you feel when you wake, your energy levels, and your ability to focus and respond to stressful situations.

Read on for more tips to help you prepare for class.

Want more? Here’s a bonus:
Here’s a Pinterest board I created all about learning Reiki.

Best of luck as you begin your Reiki journey, and here’s a tip from my first Reiki teacher. She always used to say: “Your hands are smarter than your head!” Wise words….

How to Become a Reiki Master [& why you can’t do it overnight]

Posted on February 18, 2016

How to Become a Reiki Master

Have you been considering how to become a Reiki Master? There are many different options available, and here are some of the top questions to consider when choosing the right path for you:

What is your motivation?
Why do you want to become a Reiki Master? Some students are interested in their own self-development, deepening what they learned in Reiki I & II, while others are interested in professional practice, or adding Reiki to their existing healing arts practice. If you’re interested in becoming a professional practitioner you want to make sure you have comprehensive training, especially if you’re new to having a healing arts professional practice. If you’re not sure, it’s perfectly fine to see how this next level of training can bring Reiki into your life in a more powerful way.

How long have you been practicing what you learned in Reiki I & II?
Giving yourself time to practice what you learned in Reiki I & Reiki II is so important. Daily hands-on-healing self practice is key, as well as spending time meditating on the Reiki precepts. Yes, we can intellectually understand what the precepts mean, but embodying them–not worrying or holding onto anger and showing compassion to yourself and others–takes time and daily practice. Which leads me to the next question…

Why can’t you become a Reiki Master overnight?
You may have seen Reiki Master trainings that can be done online or in-person in a very short time frame. Taking a training that takes place over a longer period of time offers you the ongoing support and guidance of your teacher. It also allows you to hear what your classmates are experiencing and ask questions as things come up. Most importantly, a longer training offers you the opportunity to practice and integrate what you learn.

Having a lot of practice under your belt is especially critical when you move into professional practice. Practicing Reiki is relatively easy compared to dealing with clients and the issues they bring to you for help. You want to have adequate preparation and experience.

I also wrote a book, Building a Powerful Practice: Successful Strategies for Your Wellness Business. It offers you an essential how-to guide to help you set up your Reiki business.

Why don’t I like the term Reiki Master?
I tend not to use the term Reiki Master as much, since the system of Reiki is such a life-long practice toward mastery! (Can you imagine calling yourself a “Master” of something after taking a weekend class?) As a Reiki teacher, I call it Reiki III training instead of Reiki Master training. You’ll need to figure out the term you feel comfortable using.

What’s the difference between online and in-person training?
The benefits of experiencing Reiki energy in person through the sessions, meditations, and attunements in class with the supervision of a teacher really can’t be compared to the disassociation of an online experience. (Even though I’m a big fan of technology, and it has its place for learning!) Not to mention, you can’t practice giving someone a full Reiki treatment on the massage table over the internet.

Here’s more on the pros and pitfalls of learning Reiki online.

What is covered in a Reiki Master training?
While trainings vary, typically  you will learn the Reiki III symbol and mantra, Japanese healing techniques such as Byosen and scanning, how to work intuitively, and how to give Reiki table sessions and attunements.

How do you find the right Reiki teacher?
Here are some questions to ask to help you find a qualified Reiki teacher.

What is my #1 recommendation for becoming a Reiki Master?
Practice, practice, practice. My first Reiki teacher always used to say “remember, your hands are smarter than your head.” Practicing on yourself daily, giving Reiki treatments to others, and incorporating the Reiki meditations and precepts into your daily life will all help you become an amazing Reiki practitioner!

Live in NYC and interested in taking a Reiki Master (Reiki III) training?

 

Building a Powerful Practice [Successful strategies for your wellness business]

Posted on December 18, 2015

Building a Powerful Practice Deborah Flanagan

I just published a book–Building a Powerful Practice: Successful Strategies for Your Wellness Business. Yikes! It took 3 years but at long last it’s finally done.

How This Book Can Help You

The process of creating and building a wellness business can be baffling, and is rarely covered in training courses.

In my book I share insights gleaned from my own experiences as I built my practice from the ground up, plus advice from other accomplished practitioners and teachers from a range of modalities including Frans Stiene, Gary Strauss, Joanna Crespo, Melissa Tiers, Sarah & Shawn Carson, Pam Herrick, and Maria Rodriguez. Lots of wisdom from this group!

This guide shows you how to:
–make a career transition
–find clients in person and online
–market to your ideal client base (even if you think you don’t like marketing!)
–handle the financial aspects of your practice
–build your confidence and avoid burnout

I also created a free online Business Starter Kit with practical and easy-to-use templates you can follow to manage client data, build an electronic mailing list, and keep track of income and expenses.

Whether you’re just starting out or want to expand your existing practice, this book is the blueprint. It’s ideal for wellness practitioners of any flavor–massage, Reiki, reflexology, hypnosis, acupuncture, Shiatsu, astrology, polarity, cranial sacral, etc.

You can read more about it and buy it here. And if you know someone who might find this book helpful please help spread the word. (It also makes a great gift!)

P.S. I would be honored if you would leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Thank you and I hope you find it useful. Here’s to your successful practice!

P.S.S. Watch the video about what prompted me to write this book.

 

 

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