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Meet Chris Johnson of Rest In Power Yoga and Reiki in View Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Chris Johnson.

Chris, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I have practiced yoga and meditation for over a decade, and while working as a classroom teacher, I often integrated meditation with my students. However, I wanted to dive deeper and understand energy work and healing at a deeper level, and so in 2018, I completed a yearlong 200hr Yoga Teacher Training, and from 2018-2019, I studied Reiki up through the Master Teacher Level. I also completed a certification training in Yoga Nidra. As I invested in these trainings, I realized my career path needed to change. Much of what I hoped to accomplish as a classroom teacher began to feel impossible without a deep integration of energy work. So, after finishing up my M.S.Ed in Social Justice Education, I left the classroom and started RIPYR with the aim of integrating spirit, energy, and healing work with social justice education. I’ve recently included sound healing work into my practice as well. I primarily work with and provide services for BIPOC + Queer folks, especially women and femme-identified people.

Through RIPYR I provide a variety of healing services and educational services that help us understand how to use our spiritual growth in service of Black, Brown, and Queer healing and JOY. I’m queer myself (they/them pronouns), and this work has brought me and others like me so much benefit. In 2020, “this work” includes online courses, one-on-one sessions, workshops, public group classes, and what I call “affinity” groups. Affinity groups bring together people experiencing life from the same side of the aisle, and allow these people to heal in community: Systah Sits supports Black/Indigenous Women + Femmes of Color, Solidarity Sits is for all BIPOC, regardless of gender identity, and Queer Sits is for all LGBTQIA+ regardless of racial background.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think entrepreneurship is a smooth road for anyone. Unlike a 9-5, there are no clear boundaries, and it can be hard to separate life from work. I’ve been determined not to go into debt to start this business, so I’ve had to readjust my financial outlook to keep things viable, including subletting my apartment and moving back into my childhood home to have a slight reprieve from rent while I build. Having worked as a teacher for years, I don’t have the privilege of significant savings, either. So I’m working with what I’ve got. Deciding that what I’ve got is enough has been a big step in terms of mentally pushing through. I do almost everything by myself, from websites to social media, from sales to budgeting, from formal business registration to business planning.

Recently, I’ve started trading services with other Black Femme and Women entrepreneurs, and that’s been a blessing. I’ve also connected with SCORE for free business mentoring. Before that, I sometimes felt like I was drowning trying to learn areas of business that I don’t enjoy instead of focusing on the stuff I love. I do see all the bumps along the way as privileges. There are so many people who cannot afford to adjust their lifestyles to pursue their dreams, so no matter what struggles have arisen, I remember that I am privileged to have the kind of struggles I have.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Rest In Power Yoga and Reiki – what should we know?
Rest In Power Yoga and Reiki primarily exists to return colonized, minoritized, and marginalized people to a state of joyful rest. From this rest, they can reconnect with their power and their purpose and make the kinds of changes in their life that align with said power and purpose. Unlike many modern companies that claim to practice yoga, Rest In Power Yoga and Reiki is unapologetically spiritual in its approach. Yoga is a spiritual path that is compatible with most religious and non-religious beliefs. But the goal of it all is to help us understand and accurately witness the divine energy in ourselves, everything, and everyone else. I specialize in Yoga nidra, Yin Yoga, Reiki, Sound Healing, Meditation, and Self-Study/Self-improvement. Yoga Nidra is a beautiful restorative practice based in deep relaxation that improves memory, helps people embody their intentions, and reconnects folks with their innermost, heart-based desires. Physically, it’s a passive practice, so anybody can do it! I teach all types of asana, the physical practice of yoga, but I love offering Yin because it is the most likely to balance a lot of peoples’ over-active minds and lives.

Yin yoga can still create heat, but the “workout” is more on the emotional/spiritual side of things. Positions are more passive than active and are held longer with deeper breaths. It allows for more conscious awareness of where we hold our pain and trauma in our bodies and teaches us how to sit with our struggles while finding rest, comfort and peace as we let that pain go. It builds patience, stamina, and awareness in addition to flexibility and strength. Reiki is a Japanese energy healing technique in which the client also gets to rest! Are you seeing a pattern? Rest is critical for growth. Clients typically lay or sit down, and I use my hands (touch or no-touch) to determine energetic blockages and to shift the way that energy is carried in and around the body. It’s great for rejuvenation, mood-improvement, physical relief, and spiritual awakening. Sound healing deals primarily with vibrations, and the ways in which vibrations literally shift us. It’s wonderful because, again, the client can remain relatively passive as the sound shifts blockages and amplifies the bodies own vibrations. It’s all deeply healing. Meditation sessions can vary depending on the client’s needs. They are geared toward mindfulness, awareness, and relaxation, and different techniques are applied as the client becomes more capable of witnessing their inner-self in stillness.

I also offer online classes in yoga philosophy and ongoing support for people who have their own home practice (or want to develop one) and want support and questions answered along the way. I use the 40-day sadhana model, in which we focus on one area of awareness of growth every day for 40 days to build healing habits and document spiritual growth. This service helps you get in touch with other useful modalities, such as crystals, tarot, astrology, and purification and breathwork practices. This is great for people who are looking to see meaningful, long-term change in their lives. This program works like a mentorship so clients have someone who can get to know them beyond the yoga or meditation class, beyond the workshop, and be there for them when the struggle gets real real.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Alignment. I do not consider someone’s financial growth to be “success” if it has come at the expense of their emotional, psychological or spiritual health. Often times, people build empires that are devoid of soul and full of violence. Are they really successful? Not in my book. I am aligned with my soul’s purpose, and any financial growth that comes from that comes because I am rooted in my people and my purpose, not because I’ve sacrificed who I am to get ahead. As my business continues to grow, the greatest measures of my success will be how many people, including myself, have experienced deep healing from the work.

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Image Credit:
Unplug Meditation, Branche Foston, Dominique Palombo, Jill Weller

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