The monthly event, Gifts and Graces, is initially what brought Tara Walker-Munroe to Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA). That evening led her to enroll in the 800-hour Yoga Teacher Training program at Spirit of Yoga (SOY), SWIHA’s extended yoga school and studio. Now that she has graduated, Tara reflected that the first 200 hours of her Yoga Teacher Training were actually her favorite part of the entire program.
“There is such a sense of community that is built. So much love and compassion shared all while learning how to help others find themselves, find stillness, and cultivate peace. It's a beautiful experience. Even if someone is not interested in teaching, the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program is great for self discovery, self growth, self knowledge.”
During her yoga training, Tara found that her favorite teachers were Laura McKinzie, Duane Armitage, Aradhana Kaur, and India Bee. She shared that they all taught with compassion and grace. During her training, she learned the tools needed to succeed and were instilled with the confidence needed to face self-doubt. “I also have to say my fellow classmates inspired me. When you embark on such a journey, the opportunity for learning is all around you.” Tara wanted to add that she also loved her Polarity teachers- Gilad, Tracy, and Dina. In all honesty, she knows there are people she is leaving out so she shared that it's safe to say that she loved all her teachers at SWIHA/SOY.
The most valuable part of Tara’s training was discovering herself. She went on an inner journey that led to an outward expression of her true, authentic self.
Before coming to SWIHA, Tara had experienced severe depression. After discovering the healing effects of yoga and energy work, she realized that she would like to give back. She now does this through either a yoga class, gong healing, or gong meditation. She gives people an hour to an hour and twenty minutes of "them-time”. “I get to assist them in their own self-care and healing.”
Tara’s business is a work in progress and she currently has cards that say “Gong Meditation with Tara” and different cards that say, “Yoga with Tara”. She admits that she hasn't decided on a business name yet. She teaches Hatha Gong, Hatha, 12-Steps for the 12 Sets (Recovery Yoga), the wall, and “Lunch Time Yoga” for businesses. She has also taught Yin in the past and hopes to do so again. Part of her work is assisting Duane Armitage in the Hatha Gong certification teacher training. Growing her business is something she feels that she needs to work on. The most challenging part for her is probably the marketing and building a website, which she admits she has avoided. In the meantime, business cards, Facebook, fliers, referrals, word of mouth, and her reputation have helped tremendously so far. Our graduate says that what has especially helped her grow this far is, in her words: “Being there, when I say I'm going to be there.” She shared that the easiest part her business is showing up for her clients and students.
Yoga and Gong classes happen in and around Tempe, AZ and Tara also offers Gong healing sessions and Gong meditations at her home. Her passion for sharing this type of work came after she experienced her own healing. “I just wanted to help people. Yoga, the Gong, energy work, it all helps the body heal itself physically, emotionally and energetically.”
This passion led Tara to teach yoga at the River Source 12-Step Recovery Center (out-patient). You can also find her teaching Hatha Gong at Body in Balance, the Wall class at Spirit of Yoga, and yoga to the employees at Mountain Park Medical Center.
When asked to describe what a student will experience in one of her classes, Tara replied: “A great yoga class is one that is both challenging and relaxing, where we will sink into stillness and cultivate peace. The vibration of the gong will assist clients in healing physically, emotionally, and energetically. The vibration will oscillate the cells, causing contraction and expansion of the cells, enabling them to better intake nutrients and expel toxins. Our issues are in our tissues. The vibration will help release stuffed emotions. Many people will have an emotional response. Energetically, the vibration is like un-kinking a hose if there is any latent or stagnant energy. The vibration will enable energy to flow freely through our energy systems, enabling the body to heal itself.”
Every time Tara shares the knowledge she gained at SWIHA, she says it feels great and it induces feelings of gratitude and contentment. She feels a sense of accomplishment and overall feels blessed. She wants to continue learning too. She views education as a lifelong endeavor and said that, “The more you know, the more you realize you don't know.” She is interested in finishing the Polarity program and the Cranial Unwinding program, at some point . This fall she'll be attending the Yoga Therapy RX program at Loyola Marymount University.
Tara happily shared that her SWIHA education helped her find herself. “I was lost. It's enabled me to play a small part in someone else's healing journey, self-knowledge journey, or whatever journey they're on. To be that kind of witness is such an honor to be a part of and fills me with such gratitude.”
Tara has a special message for students and graduates who might want to follow in her footsteps: “Be patient. Follow your heart. Try not to let self doubt get in your way. Keep on keepin' on! This school exists for people like us to go out and change the world by supporting healing and cultivating peace, one client/student at a time.”
Stay in touch with Tara online!