Self-Care as a Healer - Art of Living Retreat Center

Exploring Wisdom: Self-Care as a Healer

By Wah! & Dr. James Leary
November 10, 2018

Self-Care as a Healer - Art of Living Retreat Center


In this series, regular Art of Living Retreat Center presenters Wah! and Dr. James Leary answer your questions about life, love, and spirituality.

“What can a healer do to take care of their energy, and not exhaust themselves when taking care of others?”


James: That’s a good one. I hear it all the time, from teachers and healers of a huge variety of modalities. The most common advice I hear in regards to this question is to remain grounded. As a healer, it’s easy to take other people’s energy and feel it as we work with it. You can allow your intuition to take over and to give you guidance as you work with what you know and what you feel.


So grounding is great until you get tired, until you take on something that you can’t handle in the moment. Rooting is much more effective.


If you look at trees, plants, everything that grows in nature, it all has a root system. If we root, energy can continuously move through us and return to the earth. When you’re feeling other people’s energies, it’s good to just visualize. Be like a tree or a plant and just allow these energies to constantly root through you. You could be 56 floors up in a skyscraper and still feel that you’re rooted to the earth. It’s so tangible.


Wah!: When you’re working with other people, affirm the whole time that they are capable of healing themselves. Often after sessions, someone will say “Oh, thank you so much, you fixed me.” and James will say, “No, I didn’t. We worked together and you did it yourself.”


True healing is something that the person who is ailing does for him or herself. And so, in your work as a healer, always have the feeling that it’s a perfect world. The people who are coming to you are not broken. They’re just working through a certain issue. They’re learning something, and so the work you do with them or for them is something that you’re doing in order to brighten your own countenance.


You don’t feel drained, because what you’re doing is increasing your light, increasing your heart energy by doing this service and by helping someone who already has the ability within themselves to do their own healing. You know for sure that they will work through his issue in a way that is correct for them.


If you take on and try to do the work of another person or try to push their timing, that’s not your work to do. It’s their work to do. They do it in their own time, so this feeling of buoyancycx5 and joy is increased in your system as you work with them, because you’ve increased your own light and have affirmed that the person you’re working on is perfect. They’re going to get all of the blessings and information and guidance they need.


Wah! Wah! blends a seductive, Eastern-tinged spiritual sound with a unique mix of pop, world music, ambient electronica, hip hop, and reggae. She teaches women’s leadership trainings, sound healing workshops, yoga teacher trainings, and performs healing concerts in planetariums and theaters throughout the United States.


Dr. James Leary, DOM, DMQ, PhD, has been treating people successfully for 30 years. His Life Qi Renewal is a protocol for life activation which draws from many teachers and healing methods. Dr. Leary’s expertise has been utilized by healing therapists, professional athletes, and corporate executives all over the world.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: energy , healer , self love , self-care , wisdom

Exploring Wisdom: Shakta Khalsa on the Energy Between Us

By Shakta Khalsa
October 5, 2018

The Energy Between Us - Art of Living Retreat Center


Every thought, every feeling, every action has a particular frequency of energy or vibration. The American Heritage Dictionary defines vibration, in the sense that I am using it, as: A distinctive emotional aura or atmosphere regarded as being instinctively sensed or experienced.


Tuning into your emotional aura and energy

I like the description of vibration as an “emotional aura,” because I feel it accurately describes the tone of the frequency that we emanate at any moment. If I am sad, my emotional aura, or signal, is of the frequency of sadness. And if I am happy, the signal I emit is joy. Others who come into my energy field pick up on that signal either consciously or unconsciously and respond to it. The really good news is that we can learn to become mindful of our vibration and, with practice, consciously choose the vibration we want to feel.


This atmosphere of thinking, in terms of energy and vibration, is the new luminous space we are feeling for in our relationship to ourselves and, in turn, with our children.


The true impact of disengagement

Consider this scenario and the various energy vibrations it contains: Mom (or Dad) is driving with a 4-year-old who is sitting in their car seat in the back. They are driving down a highway when another car cuts them off, and Mom has to slam on the brakes to avoid an accident. Mom begins to swear, then tries to calm down. The child notices the dramatic change in her parent’s energy. This child can tell that something upsetting has happened, so she asks, “What’s the matter, Mom?”


Now, Mom can either use this as a time to “protect” the child by saying, “Nothing, honey. Everything is fine.” Then Mom looks at the small child through the rearview mirror trying to smile, but it really doesn’t reach her eyes because she’s scared. The child, being intuitive and instinctive to feelings, knows that something is not fine.


So this one little incident becomes one of many little incidents for the child, and over time the child will begin to believe that either: (1) Adults do not tell the truth because what they say does not match with what I can feel, so they cannot always be trusted, or (2) Since adults are bigger and wiser and must be telling the truth, I must not be perceiving this correctly. This is how a child begins the path of mistrusting his or her own guidance.


Choosing presence and intention

Now, since every cloud has a proverbial silver lining, we can turn this same scenario around so that it becomes a gift. The same thing happens, but this time when the child says, “What’s the matter, Mom?” Mom says, “That car cut me off and I got scared we’d have an accident, so I got a little upset. But everything is okay now. I am calming myself down by taking some deep breaths; do you want to do it with me?” And she glances at her child with an encouraging smile. Now the child can relax and feel safe. She also gained three profound understandings:

  • Things happen in life that I may get upset about.
  • It is okay to admit that.
  • There are tools, like breathing, that I can use to help myself feel better on the spot and recover my connection to my inner self.

Obviously Mom or Dad or Teacher would do well to practice centering techniques such as breathing or meditation at times when there is a lull in the action. Centering practices set the stage for positive experiences when life with children is presenting the threat of a storm, and can even help avoid a full-blown hurricane-level interaction.


Learning to remain centered for yourself and your child

In my yoga path, we always take a moment to center with the breath or sound before starting a project. It is a great habit to get into, even for small things such as answering the phone mindfully, getting ready to drive the car, or having a conversation with your child. The centering makes all the difference in the interaction. In my Montessori training, we were told to get on the level of the child and look into their eyes with an open, supportive attitude. I think of it as answering an invitation into their world.


More and more parents and teachers are practicing the “highest yoga” by relating to children with an attitude of wholeness of body, mind, and spirit. Life becomes so interesting, and yes, even extraordinary—once we start the inner journey toward being who we actually are, our authentic selves. It’s at this place that we sense what truly exists and find ways to deal with what life brings us in a more graceful, connected manner.


Do you feel called to share the joy of yoga with children? Join Shakta for her Radiant Child Yoga Training at the Art of Living Retreat Center from November 7th-11th, 2018, and contribute to the building of a more peaceful world.


This article is excerpted from The Yoga Way to Radiance by Shakta Khalsa. © 2016. Used by permission from Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd and reposted with permission from the author.


Shakta Khalsa, ERYT-500 and IKYTA certified Kundalini Yoga teacher, is a leading expert on children and yoga.. She is a parent, Montessori educator, and a yoga professional recognized by Yoga Journal magazine as one of the top five Kundalini Yoga teachers in the world. Shakta is the Founder and Director of Radiant Child® Yoga, an internationally-known training program for teaching children yoga and working with/raising children consciously.  In the children’s yoga community, Shakta is considered the “godmother” of the children’s yoga movement.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: childhood , children , energy , intuition , meditation , mindfulness , parenting
Reiki - Art of Living Retreat Center

In House: Neil Kagan on his Reiki Journey

By Neil Kagan
June 7, 2018

Reiki - Art of Living Retreat Center

Why might somebody feel called to take a Reiki class? In my experience, there are generally four categories:

  1. You have a need for yourself
  2. You have a need for someone else
  3. You are in the Healing business (massage therapy, chiropractic, etc)
  4. You love the subject of energy work and other similar modalities

Taking healing into your own hands

The common theme through all of these is that you can learn how to take healing into your own hands — literally — with Reiki. By tapping into the unlimited supply of universal or Reiki energy, you can administer the energy to yourself, a loved one, an animal, or even a situation.


A holistic approach with Reiki

In my case, I fit into the second category. My firstborn son was getting ready to have a liver transplant at the age of 10 months. While I knew he had to undergo major surgery, I was still searching for ways and modalities that I could do to help facilitate his healing.


Approximately one month before his transplant, I took my first Reiki class. I still remember the energy I felt the first time I put my hands over him, just hours after his transplant. The energy I felt in my hand was very powerful, but yet I was not aware of just how powerful.


The beginning of a lifelong practice

The doctors told us that he would be in the hospital for a month — he was out in two weeks. His mother, his donor, also being treated with Reiki, had one of the fastest returns back to normal liver functions that they had seen from a donor. We couldn’t believe how well he was doing.


As he continued to recover extremely well from his transplant, I thought my days of using Reiki would soon be over. But as fate would have it, and as time went on, I would get sick with colds and later with a knee energy. I found myself using Reiki for myself, moving over to the first category.


A powerful tool for healing

I have been in this category for over 22 years, and have seen thousands of people using Reiki for all sorts of ailments, illnesses, and various other concerns. Reiki is very powerful on healing the physical body, it it is equally effective on the other parts of our being — mental, emotional, spiritual, etc. Still, to this day, I am amazed at how powerful and effective this energy is and how it can literally change peoples lives for the better.


Reiki Master Neil Kagan’s diverse background started with martial arts in 1981. This prompted a life-long study and practice of various martial and healing arts, including Yoga, Tai Chi and Chi Kung. In 1995, he earned the title of Kung Fu Master (8th degree black belt). He has been teaching classes since 1997.


Learn how to support yourself and your loved ones with energetic healing with Neil and Tobi Gold at the Art of Living Retreat Center from July 13th to July 15th, 2018 at their retreat, Become a Reiki Master. 


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: energy , healing , in house , neil kagan , reiki
Reiki - Art of Living Retreat Center

In House: How Tobi Gold Discovered Reiki

By Tobi Gold
May 3, 2018

Reiki - Art of Living Retreat Center

I came to Reiki through teaching Yoga. For years, as I ended a class and people were resting in Savasana, I would place my pointer fingers in the center of my student’s foreheads and spread a little oil. Student’s would often remark, “I really liked the energy I felt from your hands!” I was not a Reiki practitioner then, but hearing those words led me to pursue it.


Finding the right Reiki teacher

In May of 2016, I took Reiki Level I at a lovely Holistic Center in Florida. I’d heard many stories about finding the right teacher, and didn’t understand why that was important. But that was before I had Neil Kagan as my teacher — I knew right away that he was the right teacher for me. In addition to making us feel comfortable with his relaxed approach and great stories, he was not “woo-woo” at all. In fact, he was very grounded, organized, and clear in his communication. I ended up taking all three Levels with him.


Healing from a distance

At Level I, I could practice Reiki on myself. At Level II, I could use Reiki for distance healing. I was telling my old friends from New England all about my newly acquired skill, and as they talked about their various illnesses, I offered to send Reiki to them long-distance. They would “recieve” this energy in a variety of ways, some with relief from pain, some with relaxation and better sleep.

I was so happy that I could help.


Now, as a Level III practitioner, I often use Reiki when I work with clients one-on-one. Reiki, the ability to use universal energy as it comes through my palms, is simple and effective.


Experiences with Reiki

I have one client who experiences chronic pain in his hips and lower back. All I have to do is bring in the Reiki energy and rest my hands in those areas, and he feels relief. Sometimes he falls alseep — a sign of complete relaxation and the absence of pain.


Another client experiences occasional pain from anxiety and tension. For her, I combine Reiki with restorative Yoga. I simply help her get into a comfortable, supported pose and apply the Reiki energy where she is feeling distress. She does experience the heat from my hands, and a deep relaxation with the treatment, which leads to reducing pain: a great gift.


Tobi Gold has been practicing Yoga and Meditation since 2001. She completed her first certification at Kripalu in 2007, and has been teaching Hatha and Vinyasa Flow ever since. In 2016, she took a Reiki Master Program in Florida, taught by Neil Kagan.


Learn how to support yourself and your loved ones with energetic healing with Tobi and Neil Kagan at the Art of Living Retreat Center from July 13th to July 15th, 2018 at their retreat, Become a Reiki Master. 


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: energy , healing , in house , neil kagan , reiki , Tobi Gold , yoga
Slow Down - Art of Living Retreat Center

In House: Wah! on Slowing Down

By Wah
April 9, 2018

Slowing Down - Art of Living Retreat Center


Slowing down seems like it’s the opposite of what you might want — to move forward. But when you slow down and reconnect to the energies of nature and divinity, you have enough flexibility and openness to move forward with a greater clarity of intention and a wealth of grace.


Slowing down

When things are going great, that’s when you can move fast. We all love to move fast, moving here, going there, getting it all done. But when it’s time to regroup, moving fast is the absolute worst thing you can do. Moving fast when you’re injured, sick, or in a bad mood only sends you down the wrong road faster.


Don’t miss the view

Anger comes from trying to force something into existence. Every one of us has felt that illusion: thinking we’re in charge, that we make our life happen. Life choices help us steer the boat, but we didn’t make the boat or create the water. If you want to make something happen, if you want to rise to the top, it’s actually an indication of aggression. Aggression moves against the flow. Aggression is unable to regroup and find a different way. My teacher Amma says, “You’re riding on a train, and you want to get to your destination faster, so you jog back and forth on the train.” You don’t get there faster, of course. But you do miss the view.


Your breath will tell you everything

Where are you going, that you have to get there so fast? Are you sure you can maximize your success? Or, let me ask you this — are you breathing? Can you take a fresh, clean breath right now? If you can, you’re in the flow. If you can’t, you need to regroup. Your breath will tell you everything, because it holds the same information as the rest of your cells. What is in your consciousness is also in your cells; what is in your cells is in your field. What is in your field is in your life. So what’s your intention? What do you want to discover and feel? And are you feeling it only as you get there? If you feel it all along the way as you take your journey, you inform your body and mind as to why you’re going this way in the first place.

Move with the waves

A surfer doesn’t create the wave; it’s provided by the Universe. You don’t create a trend, you simply move with the energy that’s already there. You don’t influence opinions or change people’s minds; you remain true to your own purpose and work cooperatively with those in your life. Every day there is an energy provided for you — when the sun comes up, there’s energy; when the wind blows, there’s energy. You can acknowledge what’s there for you and choose to move with it.


What are you grateful for? Gratitude gives you motivation. Grace gives you the softness to allow it to happen. Being flexible and malleable allows you to recognize what’s happening and change your course if you need to.

In with the new

The Qi Renewal Retreat James Leary and I offer is a chance to regroup, an opportunity to access the cells that prioritize your life and match it to your current hopes and aspirations. Most clients and students we work with are having trouble moving forward in their lives because an old pattern is not finished or resolved. Through the techniques of Life Qi Renewal, outdated life patterns can be released so the new can begin. Our favourite saying is, “Out with the old! In with the new!”


Wah! has been working in the field of personal development for 25 years and published books on yoga and healing. Her self-healing techniques, toning and QiDance are synthesized from a lifetime of study in yoga and meditation traditions.

Join Wah! and Dr. James Leary from April 18th to April 22nd at their Life Qi Renewal Retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: energy , grace , gratitude , in house , qi , slowing down , Wah!

Exploring Wisdom: Wah! on Developing Energetic Resonance

By Paige Reist
March 10, 2017


Last week, Wah!, musician, leader, healer, and Art of Living Retreat Center workshop host, shared her thoughts on energy and healing. Today, she shares three ways that you can develop and hone your own energetic resonance so that you, too, can begin to experience healing from within.


Give and you shall receive. The Universe is a living, breathing, evolving entity, which can and will respond to any energy you initiate. If you put out bad energy, the Universe will respond and magnify it. If you share good energy, the Universe will respond and magnify it. Knowing how to magnify and build energy is something we call building energetic resonance. It’s like stretching dough at a pizza pie factory. Like pushing waves of water. It’s like the wax-on, wax-off practices in the Karate Kid movie. If you can move and build physical things, you will learn how to move and build energetic substances, which is the whole idea behind healing.

Here are three suggestions to help you learn and develop energetic resonance.

Sit Idle

Sit idle for 5 minutes during the day, and allow your mind to slow down. You can watch nature, watch a fish tank, lie on a hammock and allow yourself to space out or daydream – in other words, allow yourself to move into alpha brainwaves. This is healthy for the brain. This is not walking the dog or reading a magazine. Find neutral, be idle, body relaxed, eyes open. You can watch birds and trees, wait for a bus, or even do this on public transportation.
Being idle is the brainwave state that leads to meditation, and allows the body to rejuvenate, repair the immune system, and release healthy hormones. Knowing how to relax and move into slower brainwaves is essential in healing practices.
Resonance needs space to expand into, and patience to give it time to build. Energy won’t flow in places of congestion. When you begin something, learn to guide, breathe, and love it into existence. This is homework – I call it ‘Zen and the Art of Living Happily With Your Own Energy’. There are many tools for mental relaxation; if you need more tools, just ask! If you have a meditation practice, feel free to discuss the feelings resulting from that practice and ways to improve it with either myself or Dr. Leary – that’s what our class is for! I’ve created many guided visualizations you can listen to on a regular basis for assistance with relaxation.



Make it bigger and better. Ask the Universe for more of the good stuff. If you are praising food, go into more detail. If you want to appreciate your partner, elaborate! Go on, tell them all about it – every detail you love and appreciate about them. Use repetition and add extra words, energy, and feeling to fill the space around the idea. Do it with words and conversation first, and later on, you’ll learn how to do it with energy.


Like the pizza pie maker, stretch your Qi. Take longer steps when you walk (really, it’s not as easy as you think!). Listen to someone without interrupting, giving advice, or commentary. Hold space so they can feel their energy. Stretch your arms overhead and say “Ahhhh!” Do it right now! “Ahhhhhh!”


Join Wah! and Dr. James Leary, Life Qi Renewal specialist, for their Life Qi Renewal Retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center from April 6-8 . 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Dr James Leary , energy , healing , music , Wah! , wisdom

Exploring Wisdom: Wah! on Energy & Healing

By Paige Reist
March 3, 2017

Wah!, musician, leader, healer, and Art of Living Retreat Center workshop host, knows that in order to heal the world, you must first learn to heal yourself. In this first of two posts, she shares her wisdom and strategies for amplifying your own energy and healing yourself. 


When you learn about healing, your first job is to learn to heal yourself. Through yoga, meditation, and other practices, you come to understand that you have the ability to summon beautiful healing energy and direct it to different parts of the body.


In meditation, you learn to breathe, cleanse the mind, visualize light, and feel loving emotions of compassion and caring for yourself and others. In yoga, you activate the life force (prana) by chanting Om, and doing breathing practices (pranayama) and postures to move the energy through the body. You can further add to the fun by engaging energy locks (bandhas), and sealed energy postures (mudras).


Creating Space & Finding Energy

Whatever way you explore healing, the first step is learning how to find the energy. When you’re tired, you know you need energy, but you don’t know where to find it. I’ve got news for you: it’s everywhere. All the time. Mother Nature is always renewing herself, and that flowing energy is always available. You have to focus your mind and relax to find it. That’s the whole purpose of a daily spiritual practice; you have to find the good energy regardless of the mood you’re in.
How can you engage this energy? The first ingredient for any healing method is creating space. You create space inside of the body, openness in your mind, trust and innocence in your heart. You wholeheartedly welcome the new way. This is how energy begins, so make space for it – clean your closets, your brain, your heart, and shine your inner light. It’s out with the old, and in with the new, all the time.


Magnifying Your Flow

When energy starts to flow, you can use it, amplify it, build it, direct it. You can tap into the energy of creation and start learning how to flow with it. It’s as easy as doing something you like, and then doing more of it. The more you do, the more you like, the better it gets. It’s just like falling in love. When you add to it, it magnifies, and more of it comes back to you.
When you use energy flow to magnify substance, you build more of what you want. Building energetic resonance is not adding new flows of energy, but simply expanding the energy you already have. You can compare it to a bank account – you’re not opening a new one, but just expanding the one that you have. Like making a pizza pie. Like whipping egg whites. Something is added to create more substance. You might call it air; we call it Qi – it’s your energy that makes the difference.
Let your energy flow in your body like a river. Let the energy flow through your house. Make it beautiful. Make it spacious, and move within your body like it’s your home. It’s your energy; call it in, direct, build, and amplify it.


Join Wah! and Dr. James Leary, Life Qi Renewal specialist, for their Life Qi Renewal Retreat at the Art of Living Retreat Center from April 6-8 . 

Interested in learning more about programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here.


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: art of living , art of living retreat center , Dr James Leary , energy , healing , music , Wah! , wisdom

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