It has been a long road to get to where Tim Barber is today. By his account, that amounts to somewhere around 2,300 miles and 15 years since the graduate of SWIHA’s 1000-hour Master Massage Practitioner and 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program first realized that he wanted to become a Licensed Massage Therapist.
Tim spent most of his life in New York. No, not that New York. “Everyone always assumes I mean New York City when I tell them where I am from, which couldn’t be further from the truth,” he laughs. Born and raised in the Central New York region, most of his life was spent surrounded by forests and water— not skyscrapers. Houses were often a half-mile to a mile apart. The town he grew up in was so small that there wasn’t even a four-way stop in it. His graduating class consisted of about 60 people. A trip to the mall would take about 45 minutes of driving to get there. The nightlife in his town consisted of crickets and lightning bugs. No, it definitely was not THAT New York.
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Energy is everywhere, from the air you breathe to the life force that surrounds your body. Your energy, or lack thereof, affects every dimension of your life, including your mind, body, and spirit. Energy leakage can take shape in many ways: physical or mental tiredness, loss of motivation, frustration, and/or feeling stuck. These symptoms may be confusing for some, especially if you’re self-aware and cautious with your health. However, even if you have positive energy flowing in, that energy will continue to leak if you are not healed.
Of course, in order to heal yourself, you have to know that you are leaking energy in the first place! In my case, I was in Bali and was drawn to seek out some advice from a spiritual healer. Since this wasn’t my first time receiving guidance from a healer, I sort of knew what to expect during our meeting. However, she brought up a topic I wasn’t quite expecting: my energy. She explained that my energy had been leaking due to my inability to let go of a past relationship. This leakage was negatively affecting my energy levels and my current pursuit of love and happiness. This information came as quite a shock, yet made a lot of sense. My energy had been leaking for years, impacting my whole well-being, and I never once made the mind-body connection.
If you’ve ever found yourself suddenly moved to tears in yoga class, you’re not alone. The sensation can be a little alarming if you’re not used to crying at the gym, however, rest assured that it’s a sign of good things happening. Our bodies tend to hold onto a lot of tension that’s both physical and emotional at its root. Just like our shoulders can tighten up when we’re hunched over the keyboard day after day, our hips can tighten up from emotional stress as well. Certain yoga poses unleash the tension and suddenly make you feel something that you haven’t felt in a while.
When you’re holding a yoga pose you’re often attempting to balance as well as stay strong and support your own body weight. (Our egos fight pretty hard to avoid being the person who topples over onto their mat.) These moves are using a variety of muscles at once, require concentrated breath, and also physically stretch us in new ways.
About five years ago, Jonathan Siesel was struggling as a new resident of Arizona. He moved out here to be closer to his mom and to create a new life. His mom was actually working at SWIHA at the time, so naturally, he found himself roaming the campus quite a bit. Jonathan recounts his magical story of how he began his transformational SWIHA journey with us below:
One day, K.C. Miller saw me hanging out and approached me and said, "I See You." On the spot, she offered me an opportunity to take the Life Coaching program, and help me become the person we both knew I could become. Gratefully and humbly, I accepted her offer, and chose to take the Life Coaching program as my first class at SWIHA.
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Like so many other students that end up at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Steven Jaggers also found his way here through a need to find a holistic solution to an afflictive situation. Although he was originally born in Orange County, California, he spent the majority of his childhood in Arizona with parents who struggled with heavy drug addiction. After graduating high school, he entered corporate America, joining a microchip company. “I knew then that I wanted to help people because for me, it was more fulfilling than just turning a profit.” Almost like a consequence, he got laid off and his mother desperately needed help, so he moved in to take care of her. She was having difficulty with prescription drug abuse, and he knew there had to be another option to help treat her: “We needed a different way to deal with her underlying illness, rather than the ‘Western medicine approach’, which is to just mask symptoms. I began to search for holistic ways to treat her and the pills’ side effects which created even more problems. I knew there had to be another path. I really felt like we had been tormented by Western medicine." However, Steven had his own difficulties when he was diagnosed with scoliosis, and at one point, his doctor told him that we was going to need spinal surgery. He felt strong resistance to this treatment, as he did not feel surgery was the best option for him. Well, he was right. Today, his spine is healthy, and with the treatment of massage and soft tissue manipulation, most of which he experienced through his program at SWIHA, he was able to get out of pain and avoid surgery.
Most students who have signed up for Transformational Yoga Coaching (YO-506), show up Friday night at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts thinking, “I’m not sure what this is all about, however, we get to go hiking and do ceremony with the owner, KC Miller!” While this is a fair statement, what makes this work so powerful is the fascinating correlation between the body’s physical messages (ie, pain, tension, or disease) and the ancient metaphors within the asanas, or yoga poses. Coaches learn to master the Inquiry, or facilitated dialog, which brings awareness, release, and healing to their clients. In TYC we call the coach the “Guide” and the client the “Seeker”.
My personal process with this type of coaching has been very cyclic. First, I was in the seat of the student, then the seat of the teacher, and then back to the student and back to the teacher, and well… you see the pattern. What I have learned is that the student is the teacher and the teacher is the student. There is always something to learn and the beauty in my opportunity to teach these classes, which happen twice a year, is to be a witness of the cosmic union between students. They arrive together, learn this work by coaching each other, and then they leave, newly transformed, lighter Beings. There is always an energy between the classmates that is unique and special to their own experience and it is so rewarding to be part of it. To watch a person’s eyes literally lighten and spark with new exuberance, after just a few sessions, speaks to the importance and effectiveness that transformational yoga coaching offers.
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Prior to attending the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA), Trinity Songha was a certified 200 hour yoga teacher from Seattle, WA. When she moved to Arizona in August of 2011, she decided that she would further her training in yoga teaching by enrolling in the 800 hour yoga program at SWIHA and she is very grateful that she did.
Trinity went on to graduate from 2 major programs at SWIHA. She completed the Yoga 800 hour program in May of 2012, and several months after graduating, she re-enrolled in the 1000 hour master massage program and completed it in April of 2013.
During her time at SWIHA, Trinity felt that she had many favorite classes. Few of which were Myotherapy, Aromatherapy - 5 Element Acupressure for Emotional Healing and Transformational Life Coaching. She liked Myotherapy because it was one of her favorite modalities to give and receive, and she liked the other two because they were transformative – both personally and professionally. One of her most favorite teachers was Pam. She had her for Anatomy and she made the class both fun and educational.
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India Lee Benedetto, also known as India Bee, made her way to Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) at the perfect time in her life. She officially began her studies at SWIHA in the Yoga Therapy program in 2011 after she had connected deeply to yoga eleven years prior, just as she was graduating from Arizona State University and was preparing to live abroad for the first time to work as a Peace Corps volunteer in the countryside of Bolivia. Shortly after her arrival, a fellow volunteer went missing and was never found. Less than nine later, 9/11 shook the world, and everything changed. “Through all of this transition and unrest in the world, yoga is where I found myself again and again.”
India knew she wanted to do something in the field of yoga which allowed her to share her passion with others, yet she just didn’t know how to make that happen. So she began building a career in corporate America where she worked to diversify law school classes and law firms and empower women, globally. After traveling on business to Washington D.C. and then to Peru, she returned home after three weeks to an unsettling feeling. She decided the life she had created was not in alignment with her values, and it was not sustainable for her. Just one year later, she found the courage to make the decision to embrace and walk her destined path.
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