Dana Marie Greenwood has officially gone full circle: from her roots as a middle school and high school teacher to her exploration as a student at SWIHA, she is now returning once more to the world of education as a Life Coach!
With 13 years of classroom experience backing her up, Dana intuitively knew that a relaxed state was necessary for her students to effectively absorb new knowledge. Yet, it wasn’t until she trained in a diverse spectrum of specialties at SWIHA—including massage therapy, yoga, aromatherapy, life coaching, mindfulness, guided imagery, and hypnotherapy—that Dana found an appropriate name for the phenomenon she was encountering. “I became consciously aware of the importance of returning to the parasympathetic—or “rest and digest”—state as often as possible,” she reflects. “So many of the body, mind, and spirit’s important functions take place in that state!”
As a teacher, Dana felt overwhelmed by what she refers to as the “uphill battle” of helping the 150 students she’d see a day deal with their learning anxiety and test anxiety. Now, as the founder of her own coaching business, Equanimity 4 Lifelong Learning, Dana is working to break the subconscious spread of learning anxiety from one generation to the next. “Did I mention that for most of those thirteen years, I taught math?” she quips. “That feeling that many you are feeling right now because you read the word ‘math’… That’s the reason I started my coaching business!”
“For me, holding space for someone is like a moving meditation,” Dana elaborates. “As I am teaching them to find their center and mindfully stay in that space of inner calm, I am there with them. I also enjoy the willingness of the experience. My clients are willing to show up, and since I’m following their pace, I never feel as though I’m forcing anyone to do anything.”
Dana’s favorite Life Coaching tool is the Embodied Affirmation, in which she asks a client to move into a posture that feels vulnerable, exposed, or somehow the opposite of what they’re trying to manifest. Dana will then ask the client to repeat an affirmation that they previously co-created with her. For example, in goddess pose, she might have them affirm:
“Knowing I am centered in my inner goddess, embodying a balance of strength and softness, I stand in my truth, transparent to the world.”
Such affirmations can be profoundly powerful for a client and can facilitate huge releases in previously held beliefs and feelings. Dana shares that it is witnessing these moments that makes her love life coaching: “I love that ‘ah-ha’ moment… There is such beauty and grace in that moment of peace and freedom. In the next moment, there is a realization of empowerment, courage, and strength.”
Identifying these moments of breakthrough has also become a critical step in furthering her own identity as a teacher. “Releasing attachment to the outcome is really a habit for me now,” she explains. “Teachers rarely know how things turn out… at least that was the case before social media. We plant the seed and let it go.” Now Dana is building her business with the goal to plant those seeds in a more sustainable manner: “I’m hoping to be working with parents and children to break the cycle of subconscious anxieties around learning by this time next year. I truly think that will be the most inspiring thing to happen as a result of my coaching.”