We’re excited that Restorative yoga teacher and Reiki master, Adrianna Zaccardi is joining Movement for Modern Life. Read on to find out why Adrianna believes that rest takes more courage than a hard core workout.
Adrianna Zaccardi is passionate about ‘stopping’ and finding stillness. It is in this stillness, she is able to move closer to her ‘true self’. We caught up with Adrianna about how restorative yoga has given her the key to finding greater peace.
What do you teach and why?
I teach mostly restorative yoga and yoga nidra, with the occasional flow class here and there. Restorative yoga and nidra were my daily practices so it made sense to lean into teaching them but it was mostly because I believe that this practice is so important. In spite of that, there aren’t a lot of people making noise about how valuable it really is.
I believe this is mostly due to the way we have been conditioned by society, as we are taught/ programmed to do more, have more, and all in the blink of an eye.
Being an advocate for this practice matters to me, as it has the ability to transform our ability to be with ourselves – with what is uncomfortable, challenging – with what life presents us.
This practice is one of deep and authentic homecoming.
There are no distractions. This acts as an invitation to feel every part of ourselves (physical, mental, emotional, spiritual) in a way that a more physical or movement based practice simply cannot.
What brought you to yoga?
I feel that the more relevant story is about what brought me to restorative yoga.
I have tried many ways to arrive at a place of deep trust, love and acceptance of self. Several years ago, I felt exasperated with all of the doing in my life. I felt frustrated with all the searching for the answers. The only thing that was left to do was to do nothing.
I’m not saying that it was easy to stop, but it felt like the only remaining logical thing to do.
And so, I began to rest, to be still, for long periods of time each day.
What struck me at first was somewhat overwhelming waves of emotions and thoughts, but I trusted that this was what needed to happen because all the doing – the reading of all the books, listening to podcasts, the classes and workshops – was not allowing me to feel. What was truly needed was the space that only the stillness, the nothingness could provide.
This isn’t to say that it is always challenging, but I found it so overwhelming at first, because of the resistance I had to feeling it all.
My experience now can vastly vary from bliss, oneness, presence, deep rest, vitality and sometimes an array of deep emotions that surface to be acknowledged and processed. Our experience is our greatest authority in life, and I believe that rest plays a vital role in that as it brings us into presence, and our true creative essence.
How does your work with Reiki healing inform your yoga practice and vice versa?
For me Reiki has been such a game changer in the way that I live my life and share the various practices that I teach. In a similar way to any stillness or rest-based practice, Reiki healing has provided a deeper and clearer portal into the unseen parts of ourselves, into our energetic bodies.
This healing modality informs my practice and teaching because it reminds me of the power of being still, and with our own experience. From the outside it looks as though nothing is happening, but we know what we feel on the inside.
Through offering this healing to over 100 new clients in the past year, to people whom I know well, and others who are complete strangers, I have come to recognise that when we feel safe enough to rest, and open up to the big truth, our True Self, we are able to live in a more balanced and mindful way.
Healing doesn’t always mean we need to be knee deep in the shadows. In what I have been honoured to witness, healing happens when we feel safe, loved and supported, even by someone we don’t need to deeply know. Reiki healing can be truly subtle and yet extremely powerful because it invites us to shift our perception.
Tell us more about Reiki…
Reiki is the journey of the True Self. It is a spiritual practice, which also encompasses energy healing. Much like yoga, here in the west we have a tendency to focus on the asana, versus the philosophical teachings, Reiki is similar in the sense that people mostly come for the hands on energy healing, when there are deep philosophical teachings through Mikao Ususi’s precepts.
Just for today, do not worry.
Just for today, do not anger.
Show compassion to yourself and others
Earn your living honestly.
Show gratitude for everything.
What I aim to pass on is the teachings, are these precepts of the Reiki System, founded by Mikao Usui in 1922.
The name is of Japanese origin and made up of two words: “Rei” translates to ‘wisdom of god, higher power’ and “Ki” meaning ‘life force energy’. Reiki falls into the category of what is known as biofield therapy.
What sort of healing therapy is that?
Biofield therapies are non-invasive, therapeutic treatments whereby the practitioner works exclusively with the client’s energy field to promote self-healing.
There are long lists of benefits that traverse the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual layers of our being. What I wish to convey is the fact that this is based in physics.
It is not a “woo- woo” practice. It is rooted in energy, of which we all are. If you were to magnify an atom to its greatest degree, you would find that there is nothing visible there, it is just energy. Through intention and relaxation Reiki moves the energy around inside your system. This is done in a self organising fashion – blockages and stagnation are cleared. This creates balance in your overall system. The hands on experience is a gateway into the embodiment of the precepts.
You use gentle yet powerful transformative tools. What do you see as the role of gentle practices in transformation?
Firstly, I want to address the word gentle.
The act of pausing is in fact bold and rebellious. This is because it challenges social conditioning. For me that takes more commitment and courage than going to the gym, or moving your body in other ways.
Yes, it looks gentle, and feels nice on the body. Let’s not forget, though, the internal work that is taking place. This can be intense to face without any distractions.
This is why, for me, restorative yoga, yoga nidra and Reiki are vital on the journey of transformation.
I see it time and time again, the stigma around the “gentle” practices.
People wait until they are injured or ill.
People wait until they have been signed off work with stress related illness of body and mind.
I feel that we would have a society that has the capacity to be more patient, compassionate and inclusive if we recognise the vital importance of rest in all its forms. This would all stem from a personal understanding of the importance of being still and of being with ourselves.
Which living teachers and thinkers inspire you the most, and why?
I feel that there are an array of people who are beacons of light and truth from source. The ones who truly inspire me are the ones who point me back to my truth and my own experience. They are the people who really know, love and see me. These people are very close and dear friends in my own life.
I believe that when we are able to deconstruct our stories our own experiences in life become our deepest authority, our greatest inspiration.
Deeply inspired by this – thank you Adrianna ! The way you describe the power and importance of ‘gentle’ yoga and the reasons many people have an aversion to it … in this doing culture – is really powerful – hope our paths cross again soon