More and more yoga studios are incorporating reiki into their line-up of wellness offerings. But what is reiki, and what should your studio keep in mind if you decide to implement it?

To answer this question and more, we spoke with Cassie Zehren, a certified yoga and reiki instructor at Wildlight Yoga in Chicago. The yogi offers one-on-one reiki sessions, workshops and incorporates the practice into her classes. Read her words of wisdom on reiki below.

Mindful Studio: For those who may not know, what is reiki?

Cassie Zehren

CZ: My elevator pitch for reiki is that it triggers your own body’s ability to self heal. I’m just kind of the facilitator for that. It relaxes you to the point where your body can heal on an emotional, spiritual, mental or energetic level. During class, if it is a slow class — a vinyasa or hatha — I do it during savasana, at the end of class. If it is a restorative or yin class, I sprinkle reiki in throughout the whole class. The ultimate goal is for students to feel better than when they came onto their mats. I offer it in my classes because I think it’s a great complement to yoga.

MS: What tips can you share with other teachers for having a successful yoga class that incorporates reiki?

CZ: I always want to put the client in the position to self heal, so it’s always their decision if they want it or not. It’s more about creating that safe environment, and then letting the student or the client decide. I always start my classes off by explaining what reiki is, how it can help, and that it’s optional.

However, my No. 1 tip is you have to protect yourself, because you’re working with people’s auras and energies. I’m a full-time yoga teacher so I see thousands of students a week, and it can be exhausting. Know how to put yourself first, protect yourself, and that it’s always the student’s choice.

MS: Not all people know what reiki is. What do you do to educate students?

CZ: I offer a workshop called “Intro to Reiki.” I try to offer that on a regular basis so students can experience a bit more reiki than they would in a traditional class, and so I can answer all of their questions. I’m a very open person. They’re able to reach out to me after the fact, because energy work might not be something people have questions about right away — something might happen the next day or week that makes them want to explore it. So I am always available to talk. Creating that relationship with your students is really important so they trust you.

MS: What should studio operators keep in mind if they’re considering adding reiki to their offerings?

CZ: It’s a hard sell, if you’re thinking about it on the business side. I don’t think it’s going to bring in a lot of money right away on the business side — it takes build-up, time and work. I’ve been successful because my students trust me and I make it accessible.