Kristina Karim of ‘Reiki and Roll’: “Dancing is a heart opener”

Incorporate dancing into a morning routine for at least five minutes each day. Dancing is a heart opener. The sillier you feel the better. Dancing helps move stagnant energy in the body. I started incorporating this into my morning routine about a year ago and I notice my days are met with joy, excitement, and […]

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Incorporate dancing into a morning routine for at least five minutes each day. Dancing is a heart opener. The sillier you feel the better. Dancing helps move stagnant energy in the body. I started incorporating this into my morning routine about a year ago and I notice my days are met with joy, excitement, and openness when I dance for as little as five minutes at the start of each day.

Often when we refer to wellness, we assume that we are talking about physical wellbeing. But one can be physically very healthy but still be unwell, emotionally or mentally. What are the steps we can take to cultivate optimal wellness in all areas of our life; to develop Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing?

As a part of our series about “How We Can Do To Cultivate Our Mental, Physical, Emotional, & Spiritual Wellbeing”, I had the pleasure of interviewingKristina Karim.

Kristina Karim, the expansive creator of Reiki & Roll, is a Reiki Master Teacher and actress known from the Peabody Award winning show Better Things on FX. Kristina brings to light the importance of wholeness and authentic power for the spiritual badass and structure disrupter within.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

As a five year old I enjoyed my parents holiday party by placing the pickled onions in my mouth, sucking them dry, and then placing them back on the dish for guests to savor in their martini’s. If I were to meet myself now as a child, I would think of her as the coolest. For social skills I was always involved in athletic teams of some kind. I was the best on the team at finding the perfect dandelion on the field, but couldn’t catch, kick, or throw the ball worth a darn. I was very good at following rules and very good at not following them at the same time. I would wear the uniform, but roll it up an inch or three higher than I was supposed to. I think it’s fair to say I always was a free thinker.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

Some of my earliest memories are of watching my older sister perform on community theater stages and watching shows and events on TV that my dad produced or shot. I wanted to be a part of this world that my family was a part of. I involved myself in film, TV, and commercials throughout the midwest at an early age. In 2011, I was dead set ready to lead the artist’s life and moved to Los Angeles. I didn’t tell my friends I was moving because I thought I’d be back before they realized I left. I believed I wouldn’t make it past thirty days.

In LA, I stumbled upon the inward journey of self healing. Through my yoga practice I learned about Reiki. I wanted to learn as much about it as I could so I became attuned in Reiki. The more I did it, the more I wanted to share it with my family and friends. Eventually I was attuned at higher levels so I could hold sessions and teach. I created Reiki & Roll as an umbrella for me to create anything that provides inner healing, peace, and comfort for others.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

I was so nervous about coming out of the spiritual closet and launching Reiki & Roll. Spiritual matters were always kept close to my heart. I guarded and protected this aspect of myself from others for a long time. Fear of stepping into my true authentic self and worth and power kept me silenced. It still does sometimes. At this point, the website had been live for two months and I needed to make an announcement to officially launch the meditation kits. When I was addressing my fears and insecurities, a friend and successful actress I admire who will remain private said to me, “Kristina, I think it’s time you show people who you really are.” I announced the next day and sold out in twenty four hours.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

Nothing is ever a mistake in my mind, but for all intents and purposes of answering the question I would say the funniest mistake was being in the audition room for the role I booked in Better Things. The role was written as a guest starring spot for a celebrity. I initially did not have an audition for the role, and in fact I looked much younger than what was in mind for the part. The reason why I was called in was because a close friend of mine is a casting director and her neighbor was the casting director for Better Things. My ride or die friend said to her neighbor, “You know, I actually have a friend that is looking for representation. Would you mind giving her feedback on her headshot or connecting her with someone?” Her neighbor said, “I’ll just call her in for something.” Walking into the room, I was clearly the underdog. Once I read for the part the casting director looked up and said, “You’re a good little actress. Let’s run it again.” Fast forward a week later, I was in a fitting for the show and was approached two different times with people saying, “You have no idea who you were up against.” Thankfully, Pamela Adlon doesn’t care about star power and fought for me with the network. I had a great time and will always be thankful. My takeaways from this are to believe in miracles, twists and turns are designed as they should be, and nothing is a mistake.

Is there a particular book that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Truly anything written by Paulo Coelho. He is most known for writing The Alchemist, but I seem to reread By the River Piedra I sat Down and Wept every few years. I get something different out of it each time I read it. Whether it is how to forgive and keep my heart open, honoring who I am, or embracing the feminine, I relate to all of these on a deep level. The last time I read it, Coelho’s writing of the feminine was what struck me the most. Embracing the feminine aspect of myself, others, and the earth transformed me. There is a remembrance happening in today’s culture with the importance of the feminine within us all. That in order to ascend, we have to descend first. If we want to connect to the divine, we have to connect to the earth, and if we want our bodies to heal, we must embrace the feminine aspect of ourselves just as much as the masculine.

Can you share your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Why does that resonate with you so much?

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Written by Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”, this quote gives me the freedom to unabashedly let my light shine. So often there’s the option of do I play small to conform to try to make others feel comfortable, or do I trigger the hell out of people by being the sexy badass that I am so they can look within and ask themselves the same question.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

The Subtle Body Course and Docuseries and The Feminine Energy Course and Docuseries are super fascinating. Over the last year I created these two online courses for anyone to take, taught in a docuseries styled format. With terrible sound quality, both dive deep into ancient teachings, historical examinations, and show how we can utilize this information today in a way that prevents dis ease AKA disease, and promotes balance and wellness. Each module ends with a meditation, experience, or tool. I also create free informational content and meditations available on social media.

OK, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the core focus of our interview. In this interview series we’d like to discuss cultivating wellness habits in four areas of our lives, Mental wellness, Physical wellness, Emotional wellness, & Spiritual wellness. Let’s dive deeper into these together. Based on your research or experience, can you share with our readers three good habits that can lead to optimum mental wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

When discussing good habits for mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual wellness, all correlate with all. So the benefits someone has physically also benefit them mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. It affects the whole. Lets use our phones for example. If one part of the phone doesn’t work, if the power button, charger, or screen doesn’t work properly, it can affect the entire phone. But once the power button or screen is fixed, then the whole works much better.

Something as simple as changing the room we are in can have a large impact on our mental state. The mind creates thought which creates energy which creates emotions, and if we’re stuck in a rut, walking into another room can shift the mind completely. On the days where my mind takes over right when I wake up, I know once I get out of bed and hop in the shower or make some tea in the kitchen I feel better instantly and my mind shifts.

Daily journaling helps organize the mind, clear the gunk, and reattunes us to the divine channel. I love journaling right when I wake up because it promotes equal balance between the heart and mind, helps create a sound mind, and helps me digest and process information in a healthy way.

Learn something new everyday. We have so much information available at our fingertips. Read a book, get a hobby, or surf the internet. Today I’m learning about investing and astrology. Tomorrow I will learn something completely different. Curiosity can be a mind healer and the beginning of a journey.

Do you have a specific type of meditation practice or Yoga practice that you have found helpful? We’d love to hear about it.

It depends on what I’m feeling at the moment. If I feel I need to transmute a lot of energy I’ll focus on a Vinyasa practice. If my back is cranky I will do an Iyengar practice. If I need to soothe myself I will do more of a restorative yoga practice. I love any and all kinds of mediation. I love visualizations because it promotes creativity, release, and healing. I love grounding meditations because of the importance of connecting to the sustenance and nourishment the earth provides.

We must pay attention and be mindful of certain beliefs turning into dogma when spiritual routine is involved. I notice a trend of judgement placed upon others who do not practice the same type of yoga or meditation as another. The most common style of yoga practiced in the western world is Vinyasa. This is a very warming and fiery practice within the body, and it is a great workout. I’ve witnessed a lot of judgement circling around this because it isn’t as traditional in the East. What is interesting to note is that in the western world we need this fire. Fire transmutes energy. Culturally, we need to build fire within us to stand in our truth, stand in our power, and clear away traumas that no longer serve us. We start by burning away and transmuting the energy in the body first and foremost. There is no space for judgement or dogma. Everybody is different and is constantly changing where one day we might need more cooling and earthy foods or exercises, and another day needing a lifestyle connected to fire and air.

Thank you for that. Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum physical wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Our bodies are beautiful, intelligent, and stored within our spirit. It is our spirit that takes care of our body. There is nothing shameful about the way a body appears. It is perfect the way it is. Anything or anyone saying differently is operating in fear, not love. Sometimes our bodies can create illness, inflammation, look a certain way, or seem to stop working. One reason for this can be experiences and traumas that have affected our spirit in such a way that over time the energy manifests physically. The ideas presented are tools to prevent illness and stagnicity.

Work your body out. Get exercise. Walk, run, swim, do yoga, lift weights, or take any type of class. When we work out we are clearing, moving, and transforming stagnant energy. Personally, my body loves yoga. I find some workout styles too strenuous on my body, but it responds well to yoga. Learn about your body. What types of movement feel the best to you?

Clear out and heal trauma. Trauma affects the body in all ways. It can create inflammation, cancer, infertility, and so much more. Provide a safe space for yourself to go within and do the work you need to do on yourself. Talk to a therapist or someone specialized in the field of healing trauma. EMDR is a great tool that reprograms the brain and nervous system so the body doesn’t go into fight or flight or freeze mode. I’ve cleared out trauma from my body through EMDR and it feels much lighter as a result.

Touch your body. Create a relationship with your body. Give your body the love you deserve. In so many parts of the world people are taught to hate their bodies and that the body is naturally bad, evil, dirty, or ugly. In turn, we separate from our bodies and criticize others bodies in the same way we view our own. The truth is our bodies are divine mechanisms made from stardust and given to us by God. They are to be cherished. A great exercise for self soothing when stressed is to place your left hand on your heart, your right hand on your stomach, and breathe. I do this exercise in the car, while meditating, and any moment I feel anxious. I instantly feel a sense of groundedness and calm.

Do you have any particular thoughts about healthy eating? We all know that it’s important to eat more vegetables, eat less sugar, etc. But while we know it intellectually, it’s often difficult to put it into practice and make it a part of our daily habits. In your opinion what are the main blockages that prevent us from taking the information that we all know, and integrating it into our lives?

It is important to eat healthy. It is important to be conscious of what goes into your body. It is important to think of food as medicine. I notice a difference in how I feel depending on the foods I eat. I notice if I’m eating high vibrational foods, I feel really good. If I eat foods that hold lower vibrations, I don’t feel as good. I love sweet potatoes because they are excellent for calming the nervous system. So much good happens by eating healthy.

There is no “block”. At any moment our bodies operate at specific frequencies and crave foods that align with that frequency. Sometimes we simply are not ready for certain types of vibrations coming from certain foods going into our bodies. It doesn’t match. There is nothing shameful about that. I’d consider myself a very healthy eater, yet there are many, many moments where I crave a glass of wine, a cigarette, and some chocolate. Does it make me a bad person? Absolutely not. Am I doing something wrong? Absolutely not. Does it mean I’m slipping in my work? Absolutely not.Once our bodies hold more light, heal, and raise frequency, we align with higher frequency foods. At the same time foods can help assist us with this process.

It’s important to be mindful of when we judge ourselves or others over diet. Over time it can turn spirituality into the new religion. Separation equals religion, whereas unity is spirituality. When we become judgemental of ourselves or others for having a certain diet of eating meat, being vegan, drinking soda, eating fast food, being sugar free, being gluten free, being dairy free, it is creating space for separation and dogma. Eating healthy shouldn’t be the new religion. Eat something because you want to or because it makes you feel good. When we start to separate ourselves as “being more spiritual for being vegan”, “being more spiritual for having a raw diet”, or whatever the case may be, we are creating separation and dogma. Healthy eating then becomes the new religion. The entire point of spirituality and connecting with your spirit is to be in unity and wholeness with everything and everyone around you. Judgement and separation create religion. If we aren’t careful about this, spirituality will become the new religion.

Can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum emotional wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

Emotions are energy in motion. It’s important to feel and allow emotions to move through you. The momentary pain doesn’t last long. Cry when you feel like crying. I cry frequently and feel much better afterwards because negative energies release and are not stored in my system anymore. I know I’ve done my part in preventing illness in my body when I’ve given myself the space to cry. In our culture today, men are taught not to cry, which is emasculating and unhealthy for a man. There is incredible strength, sexiness, and power in a man expressing his emotions in a healthy way. Men aren’t robots, and neither are women. When women are shamed for crying; it negates her work in releasing energy she doesn’t need in her body and strips a woman’s emotional safety.

Create anything. Do what you love to do. Our creative process assists us in transmuting our energy and emotions. We release energy, heal part of ourselves, and connect to the divine when we create. Acting is a healing tool for me. I’ve always felt a sense of connection and the divine channel within me opening up when I am in the middle of a scene. This is why i’ve enjoyed the process so much; from acting classes to auditions, because it is always an opportunity to open the divine channel.

Incorporate dancing into a morning routine for at least five minutes each day. Dancing is a heart opener. The sillier you feel the better. Dancing helps move stagnant energy in the body. I started incorporating this into my morning routine about a year ago and I notice my days are met with joy, excitement, and openness when I dance for as little as five minutes at the start of each day.

Do you have any particular thoughts about the power of smiling to improve emotional wellness? We’d love to hear it.

I focus on enhancing joy specifically more than smiling. Sometimes all anyone needs is to smile to themselves or have someone smile at them to feel better. Smiling can positively affect someone. Smiling is great if you feel like smiling. If you don’t feel like smiling, don’t smile. The cultural and social norm of smiling when we are ‘supposed’ to is outdated. It can be patronizing when people attempt to make others smile by saying something along the lines of, “You look so beautiful when you’re smiling.” When we behave in ways that are socially appropriate in the moment like smiling, when we don’t feel like smiling, it is avoidant and suppressing actual feelings and emotions thus creating a spiritual bypass. Spiritual bypassing is when we avoid and suppress our actual feelings while displaying a peaceful and content demeanor. Instead of facing and healing the hurt part of ourselves, we continue to hide this aspect. Another way to describe this is when the ocean waters look very calm on the surface but are turbulent underneath. We bypass our emotions when we smile if we don’t want to. It is presenting ourselves in a way that is inauthentic and dishonest. So to this I say, only smile when you feel like smiling, and when you feel safe to do so. There is an art of containment of expressing your emotions where and when it is safe. If you feel like smiling helps you in a down moment, then definitely smile. Do what works for you, but don’t avoid. Live your life with emotional integrity by being truthful to yourself and others about what you’re feeling in the moment so it can clear out of you. The joy state is one of the highest frequencies we can reach. Holding the vibration of joy helps us move through hard times with ease. The frequency of joy also allows us to manifest and create what we want in our lives with more ease. One thing I’ve learned is Spirit moves us through the harder times at a quicker pace when we hold a vibration of joy. Yes, the dark nights of life we go through are literally shortened by joy.

Finally, can you share three good habits that can lead to optimum spiritual wellness? Please share a story or example for each.

I believe a person is spiritually well when they stand in their personal power. When someone stands in their personal power everything else follows: self love, health, abundance, healthy relationships, connection, and then some.

So the first habit is to stand in your personal power. Hold onto it for dear life. If you only take one thing away from this interview, let it be to hold on to your power. Some ideas to consider are in what ways am I giving my power away? In what ways am I trying to take someone else’s power away from them? Why am I doing that? Am I doing that out of fear or out of social conditioning? Am I giving my power away to a boss? A family member? When we identify ways we are giving our power away to someone or something, we have the opportunity to heal it. When we identify ways we are taking someone else’s power away from them, something to realize is that it is not helpful to you or them. That is done only out of fear. There is not one person on the planet that gains power by taking it away from someone. You are empowered when you connect with your own personal power. One of my biggest struggles in life is giving my power away. Having a twin created a habit of always relying on other people. Learning to release codependency of others or anything has been liberating. I notice little tests from the universe giving me opportunities to stand in my power. Sometimes I pass the test, and sometimes I don’t. Additionally, when there are moments when I need to speak up for myself, I’ll say something to establish boundaries and initially feel shaky and I notice my legs get weak, but then I feel so much better and relieved and proud of myself.

Spiritual wellness includes the energy around you from others. Surround yourself with relationships that are rooted in unconditional love. Find your tribe. Sometimes we hold on to friendships or relationships we know aren’t meant for us anymore. I’m definitely guilty of this. Run an inventory check on the people in your life. Are you giving too much? Are you taking too much? Is the relationship in alignment to who you truly are? I have a relationship with someone that served me well, and now it’s time to lovingly part ways. I’m so grateful for this person and I love them so much. However, I know it became a hindrance to me and my wellbeing if I continued to stay connected. I gave more than I was receiving and I wasn’t valued for who I truly am. The vibration and alignment with this person served its purpose, and now that i’ve shifted and they haven’t, the vibrational frequencies are now off. It doesn’t mean I don’t love them. It means the relationship served its purpose and lesson in my life and now it’s time to create space and allow vibrationally matching friendships to come to me.

The last habit that promotes optimum spiritual wellness is to create a ritual designed to connect you to your spirit. Meditating is a great way to connect to your spirit. Lighting a candle and doing an open eyed meditation where you stare at the candle is wonderful, or you can journal your goals and intentions with a lit candle nearby. Create a habit where you connect to your spirit releasing fear and bringing you back to love. I love lighting a candle in the evening, journaling the fears I want to release, and then writing the things I want to create.

Do you have any particular thoughts about how being “in nature” can help us to cultivate spiritual wellness?

When the majority of human beings connect to the earth, a lot of our issues and problems made by man will disappear. There is great wisdom and knowledge within nature. It is a spiritual teacher and healer. Simply observing the trees next time you step outside is a teaching in and of itself. Notice how they look now and how they change throughout the seasons. That there is a time of death when the last leaf falls and a time of springtime and rebirth. Notice how they stay grounded while swaying with the changes. Become aware of the fact that trees observe us. They watch us grow. Is there a tree that has grown and observed you through many chapters? There is observation by nature even when we think it is not there.

When we take a moment to connect to the earth we are doing so much for ourselves. Nature provides us with sustenance, nurturance, clarity, and groundedness. Connecting to nature serves as a heart opener, too. Standing in close proximity to the ocean resets the chakra system. Nature is a balancer of the feminine and masculine energy within us. Using the elements around us and within our homes provides grounding and centering for us as well. When we use water to take a bath, when we use fire to light candles, when we turn the fan on to create the movement of air, or when we have house plants we take care of. We are utilizing the elements whether we realize it or not.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

What a different world we would see if every person stood in their power and took five minutes a day to connect to the earth, their body, and their spirit. First thing in the morning as part of a morning routine is a great time to do this and start the day. The collective consciousness would raise, balance would happen on all levels, ideas would surface, the world would change.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Why have a limited, boring private breakfast when we can think bigger and bolder and brunch instead! My outdoor garden party I’d love to drink Bloody Mary’s with would include Ryan Murphy, Goldie Hawn, and Oprah. If any of you see this — I’m available!

How can our readers further follow your work online?

I am available on Instagram under @Reikiandroll, on YouTube, Clubhouse @kristinakarim, my website, and my Patreon under Kristina Karim.

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success.

Thank you for being the bright light that you are.

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