One day at the office a few months ago, vitruvi cofounder Sara Panton told me she had experienced her first reiki session. I had only a very, very vague idea of what that meant. She suggested I try it and put me in touch with her Vancouver-based healer, Giulia Halkier of Brazen Soul Rebellion; and she gave me no further information, because she wanted me to go in with a blank slate. So the next week, there I was, going into my first energy healing session with absolutely no clue what to expect.
I showed up at Halkier’s place and spent the following hour (okay, we went a little overtime) talking to her. Then there was the actual healing. Going into it, I wasn’t a huge believer…but I also wasn’t not a believer. I was curious and open enough to see where it would go.
Halkier has over 10 years of experience in health and wellness. She’s been active all her life—she was a competitive dancer growing up, and after she studied health and sciences in university, she found herself at Lululemon. It was just supposed to be a part-time gig, but she ended up staying for eight years. “Immediately the culture and everything that it taught people about personal growth was something that I felt so attracted to,” she says. Her last position there was on the leadership and development team, where she was really able to pursue her passion for coaching and supporting others. Halkier grew so much as an individual at Lululemon, but knew something was calling her to go off on her own: “I wanted to spearhead my own community of growth for others, and I feel like that call just got louder and louder, to the point where in my last year at Lululemon I was like, ‘This is so strong, I can’t not do it.’”
So she left the company to pursue her own path. “When I finally left it was really scary,” she says. “It was hard because stepping out on your own, and being an entrepreneur is—I’m sure [vitruvi cofounders] Sara and Sean would say—terrifying, but it’s also incredibly rewarding and super powerful.” I’ve since learned that Halkier approaches reiki differently than most, with a heavier emphasis on science and personal growth.
The great thing about reiki is that you don’t actually need to come in with a specific goal in mind—just being open and taking that time to check in with yourself is enough to start with. “People will come in and say that they don’t have anything going on,” she says, “and then once the healing process starts, they become aware because the body opens and lifts and brings things to your awareness that you’re realizing may have been kind of hidden for a little bit.” Reiki focuses a lot on the subconscious, so it’s totally possible that you’re holding onto something you’re not even aware of. Even if you’re not, reiki is an amazing way to relieve stress and relax, which is something we could all use a little more of. “We require maintenance as human beings to stay afloat and on that high vibration, so I think a common mistake that people make around their own journey with any type of healing or modality is, ‘I’m in crisis mode—now is when I need the healing,’” Haliker explains. “Whereas, ‘What would life look like if you continued to attune to that vibration and make that commitment to your own growth?’”
How were you introduced to reiki?
Without getting into all the details of my childhood and upbringing, I had a lot of traumas and different experiences growing up, and I feel like I was given this gift of always searching for ways to grow from it. And whether that be through therapy or going to courses or learning about personal development, I was always curious and hungry for answers. Through that, I’d hit a point of my journey where I couldn’t shake what I was feeling. And I felt it on a very energetic level.
Anyways, I came across reiki and I guess it was finally at that point where I decided I’d had enough signs from the universe that this is something I should try. I went to go see my master reiki healer and truly after one session, I was completely blown away at the experience and I just felt so deeply connected to it. And I continued to go see him and feel how I had evolved on that energetic level, and that spilled over into my life as a whole. And I became really connected to learning about something that I felt so profoundly shifted by; I wanted to then offer this to other people. I did the training and over the past couple of years, became a reiki master myself.
For people who have no idea what reiki is, do you think you could touch on it and what a session looks like?
There are certain practical elements in a reiki session that exist across the board with every practitioner. What I’m really passionate about is helping people understand the science behind reiki, so that it brings it on a level where people can more readily understand and have more awareness around their body. With that, I became really curious around the science behind it and educating myself on quantum physics and how our energy affects our vibration.
One of the most powerful things I came across was a study by a Japanese researcher who took water and put it in two controlled environments. One sample of water was exposed to higher vibration sounds, as well as positive words and imagery. The other was exposed to the opposite. Over the period of time, the water molecules evolved. The positive water molecules had completely changed their structure; they were beautiful and almost resembled a snowflake, so very symmetrical and pleasing to the eye. Those that were exposed to the negative environment were very erratic and sharp, almost traumatized. So his whole point was that since human beings are 80% water, what do you think that does to our body when we’re being constantly exposed to stress, negative words, and harsh vibrations? How does that impact our nervous system? To me that was just so clear—more evidence to prove how if we’re living in stress or we have those negative vibrations in our body, even on a small scale, over time that really compounds and affects everything in our body. And that’s so correlated to what energy healing does.
Can you explain how your approach to reiki differs from a traditional one?
For me, what I say about reiki, even on my website, is that I call it magic because I feel like it truly is. Every person’s experience is very different in how their body responds to the energy healing. I would say if you’re curious or called to do it, it’s excellent to come. I would never want someone to come that feels forced, because when your body is in a state of resistance, it’s not going to be as open to what the healing can offer. And you’ll know intuitively when you’re ready for it. Without giving too much away, what I feel is unique to my process is going back to my career of learning and growth. I really like to do work with the individual on what’s going on in your life right now. From a coaching perspective, I focus on helping you understand what we can do with the logical mind to support you when you leave here, so that while the energy healing works on a subconscious level and in your body, you’re actually leaving with tools that will support you in carrying through that vibration.
Having done a lot of therapy and things in my own life, I feel like there’s a marriage of working with your subconscious and conscious awareness that needs to be done to create truly long-lasting, powerful change. Reiki is never intended to be a quick fix. It’s a wonderful experience, but I feel like I have a commitment to take people to a higher level of healing by compounding a lot of different tools to support them. That’s why I feel like my approach is quite unique—it’s based on my own experiences with what I’ve found to be truly so powerful in shifting my own life.
What’s the best advice you’d give to someone who’s going into his or her first session?
I think the most important thing is being open. When I received my first healing session, I didn’t know what I was doing. There’s that part of you that wants to resist and kind of disbelieve what’s going on. So I would say to your best ability, just tell yourself, “I’m open. I’m going to work to be open to whatever this is. Even if I don’t perhaps believe it yet, I’m going to allow my body to be open.” That in itself sends a different signal to your nervous system and allows you to be more readily in a state to receive.
Also, just trust the process. We’re such intuitive, powerful beings, and when you give yourself space to step into that and become more in touch with yourself, the most beautiful and organic type of healing will happen for you. And it’s truly your own journey and your own healing. It’s not me doing it for you—you are the one guiding the way and I’m just helping you access that. So I would just say be grateful and kind to yourself. Whenever we commit to growing and healing it’s such powerful stuff, and not everyone is ready for it or commits to doing it. So taking even an hour to go to a reiki session—acknowledge yourself and be really proud that you prioritized that in your life and your own growth.
Why you think these spiritual practices are becoming more mainstream lately?
I think that whenever there is darkness in the world, it calls upon those who are healers to really rise and for us to come together and to step up to our purpose. For me, it kind of felt like it went hand in hand—when I see people struggling or suffering, I’m there. I just want to help and create a difference. So I think especially in the last couple of years, people are becoming more awakened to how disconnected we can be from ourselves. With the increase of social media and technology, we’ve become so easily distracted from what’s really going on. And I think people are really starting to feel that because at a certain point, you start to feel anxiety or a hint of depression or not understanding why we struggle in a certain way.
I think people are looking for answers that are more than quick fixes, because those don’t work. Our society is coming around to looking for more profound levels of healing that start from within. It’s really transformative healing and it teaches you about you. You look for all these answers outside of yourself to fix what’s going on inside, and then at a certain point you realize that none of that’s worked and it’s just climbing this treadmill that’s never going to end. When you start peeling back the layers and addressing, “What internally can I shift so that I’m living on that higher vibration?” The other stuff doesn’t really matter. It just goes back to why certain cultures are the most fulfilled and happiest in the world—it isn’t those that have all the things. So I think that’s just where we’re going, and I’m grateful to be a person that’s able to offer that.
This interview has been edited and condensed.