To talk about the power of empathy, one must first understand the difference between sympathy and empathy. According to Psychology Today, ‘Sympathy’ is a feeling of care and concern for someone, often someone close, accompanied by a wish to see that person better off or happier. However, sympathy, unlike empathy, does not involve a shared perspective or shared emotions. The power of empathy is the ability to understand another person’s thoughts and feelings, stepping into their shoes, and seeing things from their perspective.
Our bodies are filled with electrical and chemical impulses that keep our brain and body in constant communication. Most of the time, we actively decipher the information and can quickly interpret it; a common example of this is when we accidentally touch a hot surface, our body moves away without conscious thought to do so.
However, in traumatic situations, our body can’t tell the difference between physical danger and emotional distress. It logs the memory deep within our tissues, which triggers the body to release the same chemical and electrical impulses anytime a sound, smell, sight or sensation comes along that reminds our subconscious of the trauma. The primal part of the brain believes its body to be in physical danger, which is why trauma survivors have physical symptoms for weeks, months and, many times, years.
Yoga Teacher Training,
Yoga Body Psychology,
You may know the old adage: Laughter is the best medicine! However, did you know that SWIHA has an entire club dedicated to it?
The SWIHA Ha Ha Laughter Club allows acting like a kid again and regaining a child's sense of fun and playfulness! Dr. Madan Kataria, the founder of Laughter Yoga, calls it "Kindergarten for adults". We spoke with Laurie Nathanson, a Laughter Leader for the club since 2012, who gave some great insight on what the club is about (Hint: a lot of laughs!)
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!”
mind-body wellness practitioner,
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.