Holly Ramey is a yoga instructor, meditation expert, mother and host of her own podcast, Tarot Talk. With her own line of essential oils and sessions that she offers, there really isn’t anyone better to help us chill out and get our minds right at our Body + Soul event coming up on August 17th. Holly has been interested in meditation and mental wellness from an early age and cultivated that to be her life’s work. She now wants to help others master their minds, allowing for inner peace and acceptance in our lives.
Below, you’ll read why meditation is so important, and how to implement the practice into your daily life. You’ll also notice we sneaked in some questions to help us grasp those terms we don’t quite understand all too well — like Reiki and chakras.
The Nashville Edit: How did you get started in practicing meditation?
Holly Ramey: I started practicing meditation when I was 19 and reading books about Zen Buddhism. Sit down and Shut Up by Brad Warner was one of my first introductions to the art of meditation — even my teenage self was yearning for something deeper. It’s been a long journey since then, but Buddhism still strongly influences my practice.
TNE: How has meditation changed your life?
HR: It gives me space. It’s a promise I keep to myself every day, to be present, to remember that I am not my thoughts or my feelings. Keeping this promise to myself gives way for more trust, more discipline, and ultimately more peace in my life. It grounds and centers me when life feels erratic. Even just a few minutes a day every day adds up to a lot. The more present I learn to become with myself, the more present I am with others and in daily life activities.
TNE: What can we learn from the practice of meditating?
HR: How to be still, to be present — we live in a culture that rewards productivity and problem solving, we try to think and do our way out of everything. Meditation teaches us patience, discipline, intuition, and just being. Not everything needs to be solved, we learn to respond rather than react. Meditation is a feminine or yin style practice that teaches us receptivity and the value of our intuition.
“… we live in a culture that rewards productivity and problem solving, we try to think and do our way out of everything. Meditation teaches us patience, discipline, intuition, and just being.”
TNE: What are chakras? How do they play into our well-being?
HR: The chakras are centers that receive, assimilate and express life force energy. The chakra system originated in India and is taught in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, a philosophical text read by most yogis. There are said to be seven major energy centers located along our spine from head to tail, and they are each associated with a color, element, sound, and physical location. They express the embodiment of spiritual energy on the physical plane and their patterns influence our physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well being.
TNE: We hear the term “Reiki” a lot when referring to the yogi and meditation practices. What is Reiki, in a nutshell?
HR: Reiki is a form of energetic healing in which we transfer universal energy into the personal energy field, also commonly known as our aura. As a reiki practitioner, I act as a conduit for this energetic transfer and hold space for the client to clear and shift their energy bodies.
TNE: So, how does Reiki work with energy?
HR: If you break down the word, “Rei” means Soul or Universal, and “Ki” means energy. Ki has a name in most languages: Chi in Chinese, Prana in Hindu, Christ Light to many Christians, etc. So Reiki, in its essence, is the natural flow of our life force energy. Reiki helps to balance the chakra system (our energy centers), clear any stagnant energy and remove any energetic blockages that affect our system.
TNE: Who can benefit from Reiki?
HR: Everyone! Reiki sessions are helpful for so many ailments and many of my clients find clarity on issues where they felt “stuck” after their sessions. In my sessions, I work to guide my client into the parasympathetic nervous system with relaxation cues and techniques like visualization, breathwork and aromatherapy. When the body is not in stress response, it can improve our immune function and release “feel good” hormones like serotonin and melatonin, which helps with mood, sleep and overall health and wellbeing.
TNE: Crystals are a big part of the Reiki practice. Tell us a little more about this.
HR: I do use crystals as a part of my practice, as many crystals are said to help balance the chakra centers. However, I do not put too much power into external objects, as I believe true healing comes from within. I think of crystals in a similar way I use plant medicine – they are elements from the Earth and this planet is our home. When we are really in tune with the natural environment, we become more sensitive and can tune into its gifts. Not to say some people can’t just pick up a crystal and feel into its energy, but for me, it took many years of practice and meditation to be able to tune in to their subtle vibrations.
TNE: How does yoga play into your mental clarity?
HR: Yoga is a life practice that includes 8 limbs – asana is the most commonly taught, which is the physical practice. But it also includes pranayama (breathwork), meditation, and many more. The word yoga means “to yoke” or to bring together mind, body and spirit. The second sutra says, “The restraint of the modifications of the mind-stuff is yoga.” I think we can all agree we have a lot of “mind-stuff” — yoga is the opportunity to let it all go and just move and be present. You get to exist in a space outside of to-do lists, right and wrong, good and bad, and just allow. When I clear the mind in that way on my mat, it helps me integrate that clarity into my everyday life.
TNE: What is your current mantra?
HR: In yoga, a mantra is a sound formula for meditation. It is repeated continuously as a way to keep the mind steady rather than drifting off into thought. I’m currently repeating a mantra to invoke the Goddess Lakshmi – OM SHRIM MAHA LAKSHMYAI NAMAHA – the Hindu deity associated with love and abundance. She represents divine feminine energy, receptivity and compassion, and it is said when we chant her invocation, it helps us to align with those similar energies within ourselves.
TNE: How does nature play into our emotions and overall mental health?
HR: Nature is a big part of my practice. Technology and modern life have disconnected us from the natural world. We no longer have to eat what is in season, daylight savings and blue screens mess with our circadian rhythms, the list goes on. But just spending time in nature and paying attention to the changes in nature helps us to create internal change and balance. Ayurveda – the sister science of yoga – is a concept of living in tune with the seasons, so we are shifting and changing our daily activities based on each season. For example, in summer we sleep less and enjoy longer days, lighter foods and more activity, in the winter we eat heavier foods, sleep longer and spend more time indoors resting. It’s simple, but effective.
TNE: What other practices aid in mental clarity?
HR: I have a pretty big list of tools in my toolbox! My favorites are journaling, EFT or tapping, ritual baths, reiki, tarot and playing with my daughter.
TNE: What are your favorite health tips?
HR: I think the wellness movement is waking us up to a new way of living. It’s not just about diet and exercise. It’s about balancing our masculine and feminine energy and taking care of our physical, mental and emotional health. I don’t think there is one specific formula for everyone, but I think eating whole, organic, in-season foods, moving my body each day, and working on my emotional intelligence (somatic therapy, journaling, tapping) are the key factors that have helped me. A key component is the discipline of showing up to do the work every day, even when there is mental resistance. After over a decade, I still have mental resistance almost every day, but you make a promise to yourself and you keep it. This limits the self-betrayal and self-criticism that is so prevalent in society.
TNE: Any favorite local natural beauty products?
TNE: What should be on our grocery lists, according to a yogi?
HR: Local, organic, in-season foods! And LOTS of herbs, maybe even from your own little garden!
TNE: What can we expect to learn from you at our Body + Soul event, happening on August 17th?
HR: My goal is to guide you into a state of relaxation that will help you to become present and listen to your inner voice. I believe we all have access to a deep well of wisdom within us, I just help you to access that place.
Learn more about our Body + Soul event here. Tickets still available!