Way up in Anchorage, Alaska, SWIHA Graduate Kris Hwang comes from a family of entrepreneurs whose business has been running strong for 40 years. Growing up with that background had fostered a strong entrepreneurial spirit in her, as well as a desire to be her own boss and do what she loves on her own terms.
Kris’ work as a bartender had left her feeling emotionally and spiritually drained. As an empath and highly sensitive person working in the service industry, it can be easy to give too much of yourself and take on the energetic and emotional baggage of your customers. Kris found herself seeking balance and looking to grow, and so she began practicing meditation exercises and nurturing a personal yoga practice— her first steps towards beginning a new chapter of her life.
Mind Body Wellness,
Yoga Teacher Training,
Entrepreneur and Life Coach Sheera Gersh has been in the beauty industry for 20 years. Her business, Addicted to Nails, has a huge clientele of ladies that trust her with their nails and their personal stories, dreams, fears, and problems. Sheera has the privilege of working on someone’s outside while getting a glimpse into what’s going on inside of them. Remembering one such conversation, Sheera recalls, “I had a client whose husband was terminally ill. We talked for a long time during that session about death and mourning and what life would be like for her after he passed away. When we were done, she told me that I have a gift and should go to school to become a life coach. This conversation stayed with me, and I thought about it a lot. After a while, I did some research about classes and that’s how I found SWIHA. Soon after that I made an appointment with an admissions coach, and signed up for classes!”
Alaska native Sabrina Hargrave had been working in finance for most of her life. She has spent fifteen years climbing corporate ladders, moving from position to position, increasing her salary… yet not her happiness. Stressful jobs had left her feeling disconnected from herself, and although she had meaningful bonds with other people, she didn’t feel like she was following her purpose. She was living a life created by belief systems that had been embedded in her since a very young age. Talking about that corporate grind, Sabrina shares, “We’re taught that these are the types of jobs that you can do that you will be successful and make money at, yet often our hearts are over there with these more passionate, creative jobs. I was a very creative person when I was younger, and I shut it all down to follow the route of ‘this is where you’ll be happy because you will make the most money.’ I pushed really hard and was good at it, yet felt like something was missing.”
Often, the only way Sabrina could find some respite from the stress of her job was by receiving a massage. However, after being injured during a deep tissue massage, Sabrina found herself afraid to get another massage and risk being injured again. “I was so upset because previously, massage had been the only thing that could really get me to relax and calm down. Then a friend suggested cranial unwinding, and I never looked back. It worked perfectly for me,” she says.
Licensed Massage Therapist,
Michael Sclafani had always known he was into the mystical arts. While growing up in New York and attending Catholic school from pre-school through seventh grade, this passion always made him feel like an outsider. “I liked going to church and singing in the hallways, and I was also the kid with the Ouija board out at recess,” he says. “I always felt a sense of Magic.” His first real entrance into the world of the mystical was when one of his mom’s friends left her tarot deck at their house when he was 10 years old.
Mind Body Transformational Psychology,
Kaye Bahr spent 15 years teaching in the Arizona public school system. As an elementary school teacher teaching third to sixth grade, Kaye loved the daily interaction with her students and watching them grow and change throughout the school year. However, like most teachers, Kaye found that there was very little time left for her family or for herself. After experiencing some changes in her career, she began to develop depression and digestive disorders.
When she reached the point that she could no longer stand the situation and her suffering health, she went in search of a counselor. In that search, she found a Mind Body Wellness Practitioner. When she made the call to set up an appointment, Kaye heard the words that she so needed to hear that day: “You will feel so much better when you leave my office.” After her first session, she did feel so much better; the fog began to clear and her physical and emotional self found relief. “When I left her office that day, the experience changed my life,” says Kaye. “It took another few years for me to leave teaching, yet I knew in my soul that I had found my life’s work. I wanted to provide that same healing experience for others.” With this in mind, Kaye sought out SWIHA, enrolling in the Mind Body Wellness Practitioner Diploma program with an emphasis in Clinical Hypnotherapy and Life Coaching. She graduated in November 2016— the start of a whole new life on a path that she felt she was destined to take.
Mind Body Wellness,
Jenna Gully was doing the same thing many high school graduates end up doing: going to college for something she had an interest in without knowing where it would lead her or how she would use the skills she was learning in a practical way. As is often the case without that big “end picture” goal—without the drive of a vision to work towards—college had become more of a vehicle for social interaction than for personal growth. Jenna soon came to realize that she wanted more out of life… that she wanted to do something that supported a healthy and active lifestyle, something that would spark her growth as a person, that could give her direction and the motivation of working towards a career she could be excited about. In 2013, she dropped out of college and started moving in that direction.
Yoga has always been a part of Jenna’s life. Her mother had been sharing the experience of yoga with her since a young age, giving her the gift of a physical practice that was sustaining and ever evolving. After witnessing her mother’s own experience as a student in the Yoga Teacher Training program at Spirit of Yoga, Jenna realized she was being drawn to the program herself, wanting to expand on the physical practice she had enjoyed throughout the years by adding the technical, philosophical, and energetic components and developing her gift of healing touch. In 2014, she enrolled herself in the 200-hour YTT program at SOY.
Yoga Teacher Training,
Sarah Whiton tends to take her interests, passions, and hobbies and turn them into careers. Constantly evolving and developing new skills, she recognizes that her life has been a path that has taken several different directions, each one a step forward into the successful career she has today.
Sarah has been working in the Health and Fitness Industry as a Certified Personal Trainer for a several years. The focus of her work is to inspire women to make peace with their body-image, to embrace every unique inch of themselves, to find self-awareness, and ultimately to discover self-love. Describing why she is so passionate about her work, Sarah says, “What I have loved the most about this job all along is the opportunity I have to inspire and encourage others. It’s not only listening to people, it’s holding space for them, being the person they feel they can come to, and being a source of positive energy.”
Certified Personal Trainer
Kevin Williamson had been working the 9-5 daily grind for ten years. Employed in the credit card department of a financial institution, his life was beginning to feel like the Bill Murray movie Groundhog Day. “I felt no real personal significance in the work I was doing,” he shares candidly. His job involved sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen for eight hours a day with minimal security; the very real possibility of lay-offs lurked around every corner.
Kevin was feeling discontented, frustrated, robotic, and unhappy with how he was participating—or not participating—in his own life. Ultimately, this led to a mental and emotional burnout. Looking for options, he sought out hypnotherapy. His hypnotherapist was a graduate of SWIHA and ended up sharing information about the school. Kevin had heard of SWIHA previously and decided to take an opportunity for self-healing and self-discovery by attending a Gifts & Graces event for the first time.
Certified Massage Therapist,
Yoga Teacher Training,
lomi lomi massage
It has been said that, “All that wander are not lost,” and that certainly applies to Alexandria Cordero, a graduate of SWIHA’s 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training program.
Alexandria had begun to feel stifled in Chicago and was seeking a fresh start, so she packed up her life and moved to Arizona with the intention of attending veterinarian school. Yet, after arriving and truly thinking over the prospects of paying over $200,000 for that schooling, she decided to take a year off and explore the new state which she had chosen to call home. Thinking of that time, she jokes, “My yoga practice was taking off with all of the free hot yoga on my patio every morning!”
After being encouraged to do so by a friend, Alexandria found herself attending an open house at SWIHA. “I knew that this was where I was supposed to be,” she says. “I decided to start with the 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training fast-track to see how I liked teaching yoga... I LOVED IT!” In the program, she went through deep personal transformation and found connections to yoga and the community of SWIHA unlike any she had ever experienced before.
Yoga Teacher Training
There is a certain strength both required and gained from picking yourself up off the ground and starting anew. Some people are fortunate enough to never have to lose it all; their path has different challenges to face and overcome. Others find themselves facing a life-changing event, requiring them to choose how best to move forward. Rima Desai, a graduate of SWIHA’s Transformational Life Coaching program, has had a lifetime of such changes, spanning the globe, which have shaped and reshaped who she is and given her new and unique talents every step of the way.