Alexis Holland (who also goes by her soul name Wayah) is a soul that’s wise beyond her years. As a graduate from SWIHA’s 800 hour Yoga Teacher Training, Life Coaching and Polarity programs, she recently launched herself (and her amazingly adorable coyote/husky pup Kiya!) on an adventerous sound–healing tour, bouncing around to various yoga studios throughout the Southwest, camping out wherever there were tall trees and a patch of Mama Earth to hold them both. In our interview, Alexis shared her journey pre- and- post SWIHA, what inspires her, and how she moved through things like fear, doubt and resistance while following her dreams.
Tell us a little bit about your journey to SWIHA. What led you here, and what did you end up graduating with?
Surprisingly enough, my journey to SWIHA began with love. An emmense love for myself, and a true love I stumbled upon along a cross country journey to discover who I really was, and who I was becoming. My interest for the healing arts had been growing already for a long time. I was blessed with these brilliant seeds of knowledge at a very young age by people of all walks of life with one thread in common – freedom, health and art. As I began my ‘spirit walk’ of discovery, I found myself in the depths of the playa in Black Rock City, Neveda at a celebration for the freedom of expression known as ‘Burning Man.’ It was there that I met a man that changed my life in the way that I view love and passion today. He told me all about his experience with SWIHA, and I was hooked. A place where I could learn everything that I could possibly dream of doing? SOLD. Sitting in a parking lot in Santa Cruz, CA, I made the decision and I began driving to Phoenix, AZ for a new life, a new beginning, and a risk I was willing to take.
I enrolled in the AOS degree program
for transformational psychology at Southwest Institute of Healing Arts and quickly realized where my true passion was. I had my first Polarity class with KC Miller, the Founder of the college, who still teaches some of the classes at the college. That experience shook me to the core and allowed me to feel, see, smell and touch my full potential. I soon switched my focus of studies to the 800-hour Yoga Teacher Training program where I pursued yoga therapy, life coaching, and as much polarity as I could fit into my program... the combination shaped the woman I am today.
Why did you choose sound healing as your main medium of choice, and what kind of an impact do you wish to leave on people during a sound healing?
Sound Healing entered my life before I even fully realized what it was. I was introduced to instruments such as crystal bowls, didgeridoo’s, djembe’s, flutes, and more, when I was just 15 years old at a Sufi ceremony I was taken to in Gainesville, FL. The inspiration that I gained from experiencing a dancing prayer through this ancient music stuck with me for years. During my first polarity class, facilitated by KC Miller, I had a wild experience during my first few given sessions. My lips would literally get hot, and all I remember is my intuition telling me to sing for the person that laid on the table before me. During that weekend, I realized that you can break up physical blockages within the body with the power of sound! In October of 2013, I had a sound healing polarity class with John Beaulieu – a pioneer of sound healing on a clinical level with tuning forks, and crystal bowls as well. Once I emerged from that intensive weekend at SWIHA, I had a whole new perspective on how sound is physically effecting the human body on a molecular level. From there, I knew it was something that I had to look further into. Just a few months later, I was hired at the True Rest Float Spa in Tempe. Soon after making a beautiful relationship with the owners and masterminds behind the operation, they gave me a very special opportunity. They became aware of my talent as a musician and a sound healer and offered me the opportunity to create the music for the float pods! In exchange, they compensated me for all of my crystal bowls as well as my hang drum.
That shifted my polarity practice, and the way I taught yoga. Time and time again, I was getting feedback from my clients that blew my mind – all regarding how the sound physically effected them. One of my most recent clients had the craziest story I’ve heard yet. She told me that just 2 years prior, she had a stroke and it paralyzed the left side of her body. In the one hour of sound healing she experienced with me that night, she felt more in the left side of her body than she had in 2 years of physical therapy. It is stories like that, that make me believe in the power of sound.
What inspired you to take off on your summer ‘sound healing journey’? Tell us about what your intentions were for it, and how it’s been going?
My inspiration for leaving on my summer journey was a culmination of experiences and feelings that led me to believe that it was my time to go. One of the main reasons I attended SWIHA was to become a more efficient traveler. I ultimately designed a way to get paid and spread awareness while traveling. My intentions were to share a special workshop with people in different parts of the country that I had been successful sharing with others in the Phoenix Valley. My itch for adventure persisted, and soon enough, I pieced together all of the pieces of the puzzle of my chapter in the desert of the valley of the sun… and like the phoenix, I rose from the ashes, and I followed my heart song.
One of my greatest lessons:
Show up 100%, 100% of the time and your soul will be *overflowing.*
Of course, as with anything we try to plan, the universe has something entirely different in store for us… I took a big leap of faith when I designed this tour to perform at different yoga studios throughout the Southwest. What I came to realize, as someone who doesn’t quite have a known name for herself yet, it was difficult to bring people in the door. I had to create a relationship with the studio and make sure that they really wanted me there before I committed to a date. About 75% of the time, there was a beautiful turn out of people; it was when the teachers and the studio enbraced what I was offering and invited their yoga students to come experince what I had to offer! The other 25% of the time, there were 1-3 people who showed up to the event. No matter what, I showed up 100%, as if the room was full. This was one of my greatest lessons: Show up 100%, 100% of the time and your soul will be *overflowing.*
What I learned and gained most from this journey, was the clarity of what I want my career to be, and how to lay down the foundation for it. As I was spreading awareness and healing for others, I was getting it myself. From yoga studios filled with those ready to receive, to mountain tops and forest trails that led me to my center. It was nothing except music, nature, my mind, and silence… and through that, I now know what the next stops in my evolution are.
As I was spreading awareness and healing for others,
I was getting it myself.
What kind of advice do you have for fellow students/graduates in regards to following their dreams, despite all the apparent obstacles?
My biggest piece of advice for anyone at this point is to continue learning. Don’t stop because you finish a program. Things within our society are changing exponentially, and knowledge is power. Always be open to growth, because that is constant. Don’t give up because it’s difficult. Accept the challenge, move forward, and surround yourself with people who are just as passionate and willing to put forth the hard work. It doesn’t happen over night… so give yourself time.
What kind of challenges have you faced this summer, both during and leading up to your travels? How did you work through things like fear, doubt, resistance and the other typical mental/spiritual roadblocks?
Saving money was the biggest battle leading up and during the travels. Up until the day that I left, I had many unexpected expenses that I had to take care of. During my travels, I didn’t make nearly as much as I was hoping to. The only way I was able to work through fear and doubt and resistance was by releasing attachment to any given outcome. Having full faith that everything happens for a reason… knowing that my path is laid out for me and as long as I focus on the simplicity of breathing, yoga, singing, smiling, and connecting, everything would pan out. No matter what, there will be surprises. At the end of the day, it is our ability to respond versus react that matters and in working towards big goals.
Any more parting ‘words of wisdom’ that you wish *someone* had given you when you first left SWIHA?
It does not happen over night, and it takes strategy and teamwork. Don’t try to do it all by yourself… You have the help.
If you would like to know more about what AlexisHolland, aka Wayah, and where she’s been or where she’s headed, you can find her at Grandmotherwolf.com. You can also follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wayah333 and listen to her music on both Soundcloud and YouTube: Soundcloud.com/wayah333 ~ Just search “Alexis Holland” for her YouTube account.