SWIHA Blog

Your Brain on Meditation: The Health Benefits of Finding Zen

Posted by Taylor Jablonowski on 10/15/18 2:00 PM

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.

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Topics: Meditation, Mindful, Mindfulness, guided imagery, PTSD, wellness, Holistic Healing

Put Down Your Phone! Do a Digital Detox

Posted by Taylor Jablonowski on 9/17/18 2:00 PM

What has the power to monopolize your time, relationships and even your thoughts? You’re probably holding it in your hand right now.

The science of how an abundance of technology influences us as human beings is still in its infancy, so we actually know very little about the long-term hazards of a screen-to-screen existence. However, we can inuit that constantly monitoring our email and posting Facebook status updates is making us less productive, more disconnected from our real lives, and less satisfied with ourselves.

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Topics: Motivational Monday, Meditation, health, wellness, Mindfulness

Generation Kind: Four Mindful (and Fun!) Activities for Children

Posted by Taylor Jablonowski on 8/27/18 2:00 PM

Living mindfully comes with many benefits, and none of them are limited to just adults! Mindfulness has the ability to provide children with simple tools to understand their nervous system, make healthier decisions and regulate their feelings.

By helping children to learn to focus on a single thing, such as a sound or their own breath, they can calm their mind and develop emotional fortitude. Consistent mindfulness practices for children leads to less impulsivity, refined concentration skills, and more awareness of how to respond thoughtfully to tough situations.

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Topics: Mindful Breathing, Mindfulness, Meditation, Kids Yoga, Children, Emotional Release

Nyla Jones Empowers Those with Disabilities through Wellness & Self-Love

Posted by Taylor Jablonowski on 8/24/18 10:00 AM

With incredible tenacity, Nyla Jones, a graduate of Southwest Institute of Healing Arts’ Yoga & Mind-Body Wellness Practitioner programs, states: “In my mother’s death, she gave me life.”

At the tender age of twenty-four, Nyla stepped in to the role of family matriarch. Cancer had claimed her mother, placing Nyla as caretaker to her youngest siblings—her two-year-old brother and her three-year-old sister who was born with Down syndrome.

Instead of allowing herself to be consumed by anger and self-pity, Nyla felt that her mission was to become a vessel of compassion and help her family thrive—not despite the hardships—rather, inspired by them.

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Topics: Meditation, Holistic Nutrition Coach, yoga, Courage, Great Graduates, self love

Loving Myself Again: Audrey Washington Shares the Healing Power of Spirituality and Massage

Posted by Staff on 6/28/18 2:00 PM


Everyone remembers their first love. For Audrey Washington, that love was massage therapy.

In 2007, with eleven years of massage and entrepreneurial experience under her belt, Audrey moved to Phoenix, Arizona, from Detroit, Michigan, to start her own massage business, ALW Massage Therapy. Once in Phoenix, she found that she preferred to hire graduates of SWIHA’s Massage Program to work as Licensed Massage Therapists on her staff. Although she was not yet formally acquainted with the school, she could tell that the curriculum taught there was strong. “They had more knowledge of anatomy, as well as the ability to do energy work and follow their intuition when working with clients,” she says. “I trusted the school and how they trained their LMTs.”

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Topics: massage therapist, Massage Therapy, LMT, Hypnotherapy, Meditation, spiritual Studies, AOS degree

Never Give Up: How Nicole Fonovich Turned a Life of Pain into a Personal Revolution

Posted by Staff on 5/24/18 2:00 PM

For Nicole Fonovich, life was looking increasingly bleak. Born with two autoimmune diseases, a softball-sized fatty benign tumor between her shoulder blades, and a degenerative disc ailment, Nicole was struggling to tread the gray waters of her faltering health. Not only were her maladies causing her immense physical strife—including two surgeries on her lower back, another two surgeries to deal with the tumor, and a spinal fusion—they were also creating immense personal and emotional loss in the form of two miscarriages.

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Topics: Yoga Teacher Training, yoga, healing arts, Illness, hatha gong, Meditation, Sound Healing

A Spiritual Star is Born: Thalia Ayres Randolph on Finding the Light Within

Posted by Staff on 5/17/18 2:00 PM

Thalia Ayres Randolph wants to set the record straight: she never set out to do any of this. Not the international travel, not being featured on one of the most popular reality television shows in America, not the dedicated work as a spiritual leader and teacher…

Exit, Stage Right

As a young woman pursuing a career in musical theatre in Toronto, Canada, Thalia was convinced that the performing arts were the foundation of her identity and would always serve as her path. Yet, performing on a professional level wasn’t exactly leaving her with a lasting sense of happiness, and she found herself pursuing solace through yoga and Reiki; as she strived toward the spotlight, her spiritual gifts were coming to light as well.

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Topics: Meditation, yoga, Yoga Teacher Training, spiritual studies, Interfaith Minister, Ordained Minister, Reiki, Reiki master

Why I Teach Yoga

Posted by Kate Shipp on 4/16/18 2:00 PM

I still remember the first time I took a yoga class. It was February 2007, and my husband had presented me with a gift certificate for classes at a local studio. He had hoped that yoga would release my anxiety over being a new mom and alleviate the constant state of stress that overwhelmed me with every breath. I, too, was excited to try this new way of exercising. My daily workouts had left me feeling physically strong, so I had myself convinced that I would be “great” at yoga. Little did I know that my ego would be knocked down on its knees as soon as I stepped on the mat!

As I huffed and puffed through the poses in that first class, I struggled to understand the foreign guidance to “allow your breath to guide the movement of your body.” Finally, after much shaking and panting to force my hunched over body into triangle pose, the teacher approached me and gently asked, “Where are you trying to get into? Please come down into child’s pose and breathe.” Reluctantly, I listened. As soon as I followed her instructions, I was hit by a wave of peace and a softening in my mind. “What?!” I remember thinking. “I can rest? I’m receiving permission to rest, relax, and breathe?” In that moment, I knew the practice of yoga was going to change my life.

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Topics: Yoga Teacher Training, yoga, exercise, Savasana, Holistic wellness, chakras, Meditation

Healthy Happy Healing People: Tory Dube Talks Overcoming Body Shame

Posted by Kitt Keller on 3/22/18 2:00 PM

For Tory Dube, life before SWIHA was a matter of constant performance. As a struggling professional dancer, actor, and comedian, Tory found herself trapped in the cutthroat entertainment industry, constantly facing the judgment of strangers. “I was an anxiety-ridden people pleaser who was hiding a nasty eating disorder,” she recalls. “My self-worth was defined by the people who decided whether or not I booked a job.”

Desperate for a change, Tory booked a space on a yoga retreat in the Bahamas, where she was introduced to meditation. While she found the demand of being totally present painful, it was exactly the spark she needed to start pursuing a new way of life. It was time to conquer her anxiety and food obsession once and for all.

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Topics: mind-body wellness practitioner, Mind Body Wellness, Holistic Nutrition, anxiety, Body Shame, Eating Disorder, Mind Body Transformational Psychology, Transformational Pychology, Acupressure, Meditation

Living Large: How Deena Gregory Left Behind a World of Luxury for the Call of the Great Outdoors

Posted by Staff on 2/16/18 11:12 AM

Deena Gregory has always been a “seeker”—a woman with a self-described “natural curiosity about self and spirit” who in quiet moments often found herself gazing upward at the night sky with a deep sense of awe. Yet, after years of looking to institutions—from organized religion to the halls of academia—for the answers that could only be found within, Deena got caught in a spiritual drought, convinced that there was nothing else bigger “out there” than the humdrum of everyday human life.

“With a new reliance on my own thinking came what the Buddha referred to as ‘Dukkha,’ or suffering,” she explains. “I have always been hailed as a ‘critical thinker.’ Now I laugh and say, ‘Yes, as soon as I start thinking, things get critical!’”

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Topics: Holistic wellness, Toe Reading, NLP, Meditation, Camping, Single Mother Yoga, yoga, soul coaching, Life Coaching, Online student, Intuition, Hypnotherapy, Transpersonal Psychology

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