Reiki is a Japanese therapeutic technique where the practitioner is believed to channel Universal energy in order to activate the natural healing process and restore well-being. It’s often used in conjunction with traditional treatments or additional healing modalities, such as massage therapy.
Mikao Usui, the originator of Reiki, considers the core principles the "secret of inviting happiness." Each principle begins with the words “Just for today…” as a reminder to focus only on what we are capable of changing (our present thoughts and actions) and to release the past or future.
Mindfulness is an ability we all possess. Just like a muscle, the more often that we choose to utilize it, the greater the ability grows. At its most basic definition, living mindfully is making the choice to be fully present in each moment. By bringing awareness to what you’re directly experiencing (sounds, scents, sensations) you can reduce ruminative thinking, improve your memory, and find a greater appreciation for both positive and negative experiences.
Meditation is a tool for becoming more mindful. It is an exploration of our internal landscape, where we unleash our natural curiosities and suspend our judgement. Often times, we’re not even aware of how busy our brains are, so by making the time to “check-in” and observe our thoughts, we can learn to better problem-solve and discover the root cause of our daily stressors and discomforts.
Sometimes, the journey leads us to a destination we never could have expected. For Nickole Swensen, it was that unanticipated curve in the path that led her to her true purpose: a life of healing, though certainly not as she had planned it...
“I originally went to SWIHA to study holistic nutrition,” Nickole confides. “I was fascinated with the way food impacts our bodies and wanted to share my love of food with future clients. I was really interested in learning more about ways to heal and help others that would use all the elements—mind, body, and spirit.”
Yet, it was in the midst of her nutritional studies in SWIHA’s Mind-Body Wellness program that Nickole learned about auriculotherapy for the first time. Immediately, she was hooked. “I found it amazingly powerful, so I started using it on myself and my family,” she says. “The energy and knowledge that instructor Cheryl Speen brought to my auriculotherapy class was unbelievable. I actually loved her class so much that I took it twice—just for fun!”
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For Jason Taylor, life before SWIHA felts like a numbers game. On the surface, he appeared to be a successful executive chef and restaurant manager. He had a “never say die” attitude—one which guided his spirit as he overcame addiction, abuse, and homelessness. Yet, despite the difficult hurdles he had surpassed and the assistance of many kind people along the way, Jason had still not dealt with the root of his pain.
For Kris Vaughan, a career as an herbalist was born out of a mother’s worst nightmare: the illness of her youngest daughter, who had developed severe stomach issues at the age of seven, yet who could find no answers or relief from her pediatrician.
“We spent nine months putting her through every invasive test imaginable, only to be handed antacids and told, ‘Sorry, we don’t know what’s wrong,’” Kris recounts. A friend recommended some natural herbal remedies for the girl, and although Kris found herself questioning their validity, her daughter was miraculously pain-free within three days of taking them—and has remained so ever since. “It made me realize that I was missing something huge,” Kris says. “I needed to do some research as to why these herbs worked, and that research brought me to SWIHA and the Western Herbalism program.”
Five years ago, Christine Iring’s life was falling apart. She had hit rock bottom and was unsure what was around the corner; she knew only, with the guidance of a therapist, that she had a responsibility to “do her work.”
And do her work she did! Over the course of three years, Christine steadfastly examined herself, even as the world continued to swirl and change around her. This period of transformation culminated in Christine moving to the Phoenix area and enrolling at SWIHA. “As soon as I walked in the building, I knew I found my new home,” she confides. “My first class was Life Coaching Foundations. Between the vibe, the instructors, the people that understood ‘my language,’ and learning the protocol for transforming lives, I knew this was part of my calling. I was on my way to being a life coach.”
“Who do you know who is fully expressed in their boldness and bravery?” If this was a survey question asked of those on the college campus of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Richard Seaman’s name would, without a shadow of a doubt, be on the top of the list. Richard is bold and brave! As a longtime coach and the lead Life Coach Instructor for the college, Richard is committed to teaching others to be brave using a coaching model he has created using the acronym B.R.A.V.E.
In 2005, Brian Zahn was feeling lost and like he had hit rock bottom, especially after an ugly divorce had left him struggling with a negative outlook on life. Internally, he knew that the problems he was experiencing were temporary and that deeper connections with people and the world awaited him, yet it wasn’t until he accepted his calling with a career in Life Coaching that he found a way to break through to a brighter perspective.
It was in his first life coaching course that Brian was blessed with one of those beautiful SWIHA “ah-ha” moments that turned his life around and began his transformation: “I realized that we are all truly ONE, wanting to be heard, acknowledged, known for something positive, to live our truth, and most importantly to be unconditionally loved.” Brian had discovered that it is possible to break through the prisons we shape for ourselves—prisons with bars made of limiting beliefs, false perceptions, and negative self-talk—and to emerge into our truest and best selves.
Reine Matthews is a SWIHA graduate both doing great things and writing great things! Her first book, Thriving After Diagnosis: Instead of Merely Surviving, was just published… and she is already working on a second! Hailing from Northern Idaho, Reine received an AOS Degree in Mind Body Transformational Psychology from SWIHA, with concentrations in Holistic Nutrition and Wellness, Life Coaching, and Urban Farming and Conscious Living.
Reine chose to get into the field of holistic wellness because of her personal journey of being diagnosed with (and thriving beyond!) Lyme Disease. According to the CDC, Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne, infectious disease in the United States, with 25,000 new cases being reported every month for an estimated 300,000 new people being affected per year (25% of which are children). This illness is typically transmitted through a bite from an infected deer tick and has been reported in all 50 states and on every continent, excluding Antarctica.
Mind Body Wellness,
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SWIHA graduate Shashirekha Banavar, affectionately called “Shashi” by friends and family, is described by those who know and love her as sophisticated, sassy, shy at first, sensitive, and super committed to whole food cuisine. Shashi lives in India, where for the past 30 years she has served as a lawyer and a consumer activist, written a book entitled Shashi’s Recipes – Authentic South Indian Vegetarian Dishes, and received the President’s Guide Award for top performing Girl Guides (similar to the Girl Scouts in the United States) from the President of India. Shashi is a superstar by many standards, although she will blush hearing it said!
As one of the first students to graduate from the online 750-hour Holistic Nutrition Wellness Practitioner diplomas, Shashi actually flew to Tempe, Arizona, to attend the September 2017 Gifts and Graces event, where she was recognized as being a one of SWIHA’s Great Graduates! She easily gets the award for traveling the furthest to attend graduation on campus!
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