When Melissa Moreno enrolled in the Mindfulness and Guided Imagery Facilitator program at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, she was in a very difficult period of her life.
“I was in an unhappy living situation, with no life purpose, and I desired to be a self-sufficient single mom,” she tells us, “I had quit my corporate job of six years and moved to Mexico to live in harsh living conditions with my kids. I was running from an abusive relationship. I felt sick, anxious, and tired of the demands of my corporate job, and I was soul searching.”
It was that trying time that led her to discover visualization techniques and meditation, as well as seek out a Life Coach.
In 2010, Jennifer Emperador quit her job of ten years after realizing it didn’t fulfill her, and it was that brave plunge into the unknown that became the catalyst for some major positive change!
“The idea of going back to the corporate world was unfathomable,” discloses Jennifer, “During my soul-searching journey, I was invited to SWIHA’s Gifts & Graces and as soon as I walked through the doors, I knew I was home.”
Jennifer is a self-proclaimed “SWIHA Lifer” and has taken many programs, including Life Coaching, Hypnotherapy and Yoga Teacher Training. She’s also a member of our Admissions team, lending her first-hand experience to future practitioners. The pursuit closest to her heart, however, is her coaching business Sol Discovery.
national life coaching month,
Yoga for PTSD
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 itself away without a conscious thought to do so.
Yoga for PTSD
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.
Ingrid Huffman is tackling the major issue of PTSD among military veterans... and she’s using tools she learned at SWIHA to help.
While the health issues facing returning military personnel are many, few present such a unique set of challenges as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As a military nurse who served in the Navy–and later with the Army Nurse Corps in Iraq—Ingrid is committed to creating a world without PTSD—and a world without the suicide and homelessness rates among veterans and their families to which it contributes.
Ingrid is intimately familiar with the toll this disorder takes. After graduating from the University of Colorado, she spent four years with the Navy Nurse Corps and another nine as a civilian nurse. When the United States invaded Iraq, she joined the Army Nurse Corps—a decision which profoundly shaped her life and her understanding of the world around her.
AOS Mind Body Transformational Psychology,
For Tammy Coin, wellness is not a destination; it’s a magical adventure through a hall of mirrors hidden behind locked doors. Tammy also believes that the key to unlocking those doors and understanding the confusing reflections in that hall lies in developing a conscious awareness of our own life stories.
Tammy's story begins with a history of childhood trauma and abuse and complex PTSD, factors which created a strong sense of separation from other people within her... something which other survivors of trauma can certainly relate to and understand. "We often have feelings of not being enough, being empty, unseen, unheard, invisible and like nobody gets us,” Tammy articulates. “Naturally, I attract clients with similar histories. There is no greater gift than to feel seen and heard... to feel that somebody ‘gets it.’”
If you, or someone you know, is a caregiver, it goes without saying that you could probably use more sleep. You are not alone! The statistics are staggering: there are approximately 43.5 million people in the United States who identify as caregivers!
Approximately 8.5 million of these primary caregivers are single mothers and 2.5 million are single fathers. These numbers don’t include the 1.7 million veterans who have returned home in the last ten years and who are now suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder or some form of depression—individuals who also need a great deal of support and care.
Having recently completed a two and a half week assignment of being granny-nanny to my three youngest granddaughters (ages 10, 8 and 3 years old) while my daughter in-laws served in Africa, the words to the LEGOLAND theme song “Everything Is Awesome” will be forever etched in my brain. Nominated for Best Original Song at the 87th Academy Awards, the LEGO Movie song is infectious with its catchy rhythm; it’s difficult to not start shaking from side to side as if your body has turned into a little block-like-structure, bouncing around uncontrollably, when the words flow through your mind:
Everything is awesome, everything is cool when you’re part of a team!
Everything is awesome when you're living out a dream!
Was I living out a dream while spending 16 non-stop, action-packed, emotion-filled days dedicated to childcare… days which could easily be likened to one of the roller coasters at LEGOLAND, where we spent part of a week? Certainly… if this adventure was designed to assess and define the progression of my mindfulness practice!
How did I not lose my mind? By consciously and mindfully choosing to use as my sanity mantra the words, “Everything Is Awesome!”
Yoga Teacher Training,
"If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands! If you're happy and you know it, and you're not afraid to show it, clap your hands!"
If you know these words, you've probably either been in Sunday school at some point in your life, been to one of my yoga classes, or you know my grandkids! This is one of my favorite theme songs…
And they are also the words that broke me wide open recently.
“If you’re happy and you know it…”
At our household, we sing all of the verses and variations! “If you're happy and you know it… stomp your feet, say AMEN, scratch your head, rub your belly, pretend you’re jelly!” And we often run through all of the emotions of the Pixar movie Inside Out: Joy, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and many more, often resulting in hold-your-belly laughter!
After a particular round of singing, laughing, and hilarious antics, one of my granddaughters spontaneously said to me, "What’s gay, Granny? What does gay mean?"
Yoga Teacher Training,
the just be love project,
trauma sensitive bodywork
For anyone older than about 18 to 20 years old, the mere mention of September 11, 2001, evokes visceral memories of the day the twin towers fell in New York City. Today marks the sixteenth anniversary of this heartbreaking event, and when asked to remember where they were on that day, most people have an almost automatic reflex, causing them to hold their breath and flit back to the memories buried within their emotional awareness. What is this universal emotion we are experiencing in recalling tragedy? Vulnerability!
No matter how old you were, the crack in the cosmic egg which occurred that day caused an entire nation to feel vulnerable. Something shifted in all of us, and that shift may still be affecting how we show up in the world today.