SWIHA Blog

The Making of a Yogi — The Incarnations of Will Zecco

Posted by KC Miller on 5/26/22 4:00 PM

As youngsters, we are often asked, “What do you want to BE when you grow up?” The question being asked is really what do you want to DO for a living?

For Will Zecco, he knew in middle school he wanted to BE a hairstylist. And yet his dad wouldn’t hear of it! He wanted Will to do “college”. So Will attended a community college and became a Fashion Designer, doing costume design for a local theatre group. He was good at what he was doing, including singing and dancing in the local productions, yet he still had a dream of being something else.

A hometown newspaper did an article featuring Will with the headline “Local Boy Becomes Designer.” A state Senator sent Will a letter congratulating him and offering that if there was ever anything he could do for him, to let him know. As Will often says, “We only get what you’re brave enough to ask for!” Will boldly asked the Senator about a grant and got a full ride to go to Cosmetology school.

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Topics: SWINA, Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, Aesthetician, SWIHA, yoga, 200 Hour Yoga Training, Yoga Teacher Training, Southwest Institute of Natural Aesthetics, YTT, spirit of yoga, Yogi, Safe Space, Holding Space, Trauma-Aware, Hairdresser, Makeup Artist, Esthetician School, SOY

Consider These 10 Ways to Utilize Journaling during Yoga Teacher Training

Posted by KC Miller on 1/27/22 4:00 PM

Journaling is about creating clarity, prioritizing your energy, and provides an opportunity for positive self-talk. It is also an amazing way to see how much you’ve grown, changes in mindset, and your progress toward your goals.

Through documenting our thoughts and feelings, we advance our self-awareness and self-control. It gives us the ability to analyze how we are currently showing up in the world and provides us the opportunity to feel empowered in our decisions.

Consider these 10 ways below on how to utilize journaling as Svadhyaya, or self-reflection, either through life, or especially during your experience of going through Yoga Teacher Training. Ultimately, your journal is a place to practice vulnerability and honesty, and bring that in to the world to truly live yoga!

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Topics: Gratitude, yoga, Mindfulness, journaling, Yoga Teacher Training, Yoga Sutras, Arizona, YTT, Tempe, Yogi, yoga teacher, Sacred Space, Holistic Education, Ahimsa, Self-Awareness, Gratitude Journal, My Spirit of Yoga, Svadhyaya, Self-Control, Principles of Yoga, Alter, Satya, Self-Reflection

Who are Amrit and Kamini Desai?: SWIHA’s Alignment with the Amrit Lineage

Posted by Taylor Jablonowski on 4/15/21 4:00 PM

Around the year of 2010 and Kamini Desai, Education Director and Core Curriculum Developer for the Amrit Yoga Institute, was living in Phoenix and doing a lot of traveling, speaking and teaching about yoga and yoga nidra. A friend of hers mentioned that there was a school called the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA), and that she thought she should connect with them. Kamini sent a message to KC Miller, Owner, Founder and Chief Spiritual Officer. The Universe brought them together when the timing was right about a year later.

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Topics: yoga, Yoga Teacher Training, yoga nidra, Yoga Body Psychology

What is Yoga Nidra?: The Benefits of Becoming a Yoga Nidra Practitioner

Posted by Mel Rhoden on 2/18/21 4:00 PM

How do you meditate when you have a busy mind? The average person has 60,000-80,000 thoughts per day; that’s 2.500-3.300 thoughts per hour. That’s a lot of thoughts to try to bring into stillness.

This was my challenge. I’d always wanted to meditate, but trying to stop my brain thoughts while on the mat were near impossible. That is, until I found Yoga Nidra. I’ll never forget my first time receiving a Yoga Nidra session, day one of Yoga Nidra level one training. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I signed up for this course.

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Topics: spirituality, yoga, Meditation, yoga nidra, Healing Modalities

Recognizing Positions of Privilege and Power to Create a More Just World

Posted by Kimberlee Morrison on 10/29/20 4:00 PM

The dominant culture would not just separate us from ourselves, it also separates us from each other. This is a way to keep us from being able to realize our collective power. But how do we balance acknowledging our individual lived experiences, with the need to come together to create the necessary shift? We must eventually move beyond our identities to see our cosmic connection to each other, and the Divine Source, and work together to create a world that reflects this cosmic union.

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Topics: yoga, Guest Blog, Social Justice, Yoga Philosophy, Samskaras

Showing Up to Cultivate Inclusive Spaces: Guest Blog by Kimberlee Morrison

Posted by Kimberlee Morrison on 10/15/20 4:00 PM

I started my yoga practice at home, when my grandmother gave me Richard Hittleman’s 28-day Exercise Plan. The cover depicted a thin, blonde woman in what looked to me like a contorted shape; an image that has many variations and has become the dominant depiction of what a yogi looks like. I’ve also spent most of my professional, academic and athletic life as one of few (or the only) BIPOC people in the room. So it wasn’t all that surprising that I found myself surrounded by bendy white women in my first studio yoga class. Since this was a normal experience for me — being or perceiving myself as the only BIPOC person surrounded by white people — I didn’t think twice about showing up again.

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Topics: yoga, Social Justice, Inclusive Spaces, Racial Equality, Showing Up

Five Essential Hasta Mudras for Powerful Intention-Setting

Posted by Taylor Jablonowski on 10/8/20 4:00 PM

A mudra (Sanskrit for “mark”, “seal” or “gesture”) is a sacred and symbolic gesture found in yogic, Jainist and Buddhist traditions. Hasta mudras, meaning hand gestures, are performed with varying intentions and believed to impact and direct the flow of prana (vital energy) throughout the body.

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Topics: yoga, Meditation, Yoga Philosophy, Intention, Mudra

What Does Colonization Have to Do With Our Modern Yoga Practice?

Posted by Kimberlee Morrison on 9/17/20 4:00 PM

Early yoga systems were available, accessible and heterogeneous, offering a wide range of philosophies, meditations, and rituals designed to liberate the mind, body, and spirit from suffering. However, over time it became a tool of oppression in India’s caste system under British colonial rule. It was during British rule that the Indian elite were given the power to enforce colonial control, and the upper caste implemented systems that eventually criminalized the practice of yoga altogether.

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Topics: yoga, asana, Social Justice, yoga history, Sanskrit

The Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga of Action, Love, and Knowledge

Posted by Kimberlee Morrison on 9/3/20 4:00 PM

Yoga mythology is full of stories of love and war, enlightenment and disillusionment, victory and defeat. Like all mythos, the epic tales from the Mahabharata and the Ramayana provide important insights for understanding our cosmic place in the universe, exploring the depth of human experience through a spiritual lens, and what it means to be engaged and connected to the unexplainable.

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Topics: spirituality, yoga, conscious community, Yoga Philosophy, Bhagavad Gita

Ahimsa: A Call to Stand Courageously Against Evil

Posted by Kimberlee Morrison on 8/6/20 4:00 PM

Yoga means union: The union of oneself and the divine source; the union of mind, body and spirit; the union of your internal Self with the self that manifests in the world. Yoga is not intended to be a passive practice of self-mastery, it’s a system for living that provides us with an ethical framework — the Yamas and Niyamas — for how we should treat ourselves, and how we should treat others.

The first pillar in this framework is Ahimsa (nonviolence or non-harming) which is often used to justify veganism as the standard diet for yogis. Stopping here makes ahimsa a one-dimensional practice focused on reducing violence against some beings (animals), while failing to look at the broader picture of reducing our harmful impact within society.

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Topics: yoga, Yoga Sutras, Social Justice, Ahimsa, Yoga Philosophy

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