Public interest in Reiki practice is rising rapidly, but there are no standards for Reiki education, leading many to wonder how to know if a Reiki class is credible and the teacher qualified. Here’s what you need to know to make a good choice for yourself.
The best scenario for learning to practice Reiki is an in-person group class with a qualified, responsive Reiki master who is also a skilled teacher, and who offers students on-going support.
A group class is a richer experience than going solo. Interacting directly with people in the same room, both the teacher and other students, enlivens the learning experience in ways even the most sophisticated technology cannot replace.
Gathering data about Reiki classes and teachers
Here are some points to consider when choosing a Reiki class and Reiki master:
The teacher’s Reiki competence
Does she practice daily self-treatment? A teacher who practices daily hands-on self-treatment values and understands the practice with greater depth than teachers who don’t have a consistent, committed self-practice. Also inquire: What was her Reiki training? What is her Reiki lineage? Was she a Reiki professional offering treatment to the public before becoming a Reiki master? What teaching experience does she have? What avenues has she created to offer students continuing support? It takes time to become a skilled Reiki master/teacher–and I mean years.
The Reiki teacher’s presence
Is she welcoming, non-judgmental, even-tempered, professional, and anything else you feel is important in a teacher? Does she have clear boundaries? Does she communicate clearly?
Your rapport with the Reiki teacher
This is an important relationship, so contemplate your values. If you are choosing between a teacher you like vs. one with more experience or a bigger reputation, I’d go with the one you like, especially if she will continue to be accessible to you, as long as she is qualified and committed to her students.
First degree Reiki only class
Give yourself the benefit of taking a class that is devoted to basic hands-on practice, with a focus on daily Reiki self-treatment. The class should include the four First degree initiations; protocols for self-treatment and informally offering Reiki to others (this is not professional training); an accurate overview of the history of the practice, starting with Mikao Usui; and ample in-class practice time. The goal is for you to feel comfortable continuing your daily self-treatment at home by the time the class ends.
Reiki class time
Ten to twelve hours is a reasonable amount of time for a small group class. It’s preferable for the class to be spread out over two or more days, so you have the opportunity to practice at home and bring your questions to the next session.
Accessibility of Reiki class location
Is it necessary for the class to be easily accessible, or is it possible for you to travel to study with a Reiki master you feel drawn to? And is there anything you need to know about accessibility of the location itself, such as stairs or elevator, suitable for wheelchairs, etc.?
Reiki class fee
Did your mom ever tell you (as mine did), “You get what you pay for?” Low fees might indicate low confidence, little experience, or lack of grounding. You want a teacher who appreciates the value of Reiki practice in today’s world. After all, you live in today’s world, don’t you? Your First degree Reiki training is a one-time investment that brings dividends for life; it makes sense to be generous to yourself.
Daily Reiki self practice
There are 2 parts to this. First, does the training include learning hands-on self practice and will you actually practice together in class? Second, does the teacher herself practice hands-on self Reiki every day? And I mean every day, without fail. Given that the main way we develop as Reiki practitioners is by actually practicing, the teacher who relies on her self practice daily will always understand the practice with greater depth and nuance. She will also have more respectful boundaries. A teacher who practices daily self Reiki knows how much benefit comes from self practice and won’t feel the need to push the students. If the teacher doesn’t practice daily hands-on self Reiki, keep looking.
You are welcome to print this copy of the points to keep in mind as you evaluate classes.
What if you can’t find a local class?
What if you don’t find any appealing Reiki masters in your area, and you are unable to travel? There are still options. Is it feasible for you to organize a class and invite a Reiki master to travel to your area?
At what point might you choose to learn from a qualified, attentive Reiki master who is accessible only through technology? Each prospective student has to ask herself, what is the best learning opportunity for me? I offer live, interactive teleconference Reiki Self Care trainings to help people start practicing self Reiki if they are unable to get to an in-person training.
Keep in mind that, if you leave your First degree class feeling unsatisfied for any reason, you can still practice daily self-treatment, contemplate what was missing in your class experience, and consider taking First degree training from another teacher at some point.
I also know many people who were happy with their First degree training, yet over time decided to take another carefully chosen First degree class and found it enriching.
Second degree Reiki training?
Your First degree class will give you everything you need to practice daily hands-on self-treatment, and to share treatment informally with others for the rest of your life, and that’s all most people need.
Please don’t feel pressured in any way to take Second degree (distant treatment). But if you want to learn distant treatment, give yourself the benefit of practicing daily hands-on self-treatment for a minimum of 3-6 months before signing up for a Second degree class.
I am a member of The Reiki Alliance, a global organization of Reiki masters who are committed to continuing Hawayo Takata’s standards of slow, thorough training. If you are looking for a teacher, I suggest you start there, but I still encourage you to go through the points discussed above rather than assume a member meets your standards.
Ultimately, it all comes down to the teacher, her ability to carry the lineage and share the initiations, and to create a healthy relationship with her students.
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