I am a dentist and have been practicing here in the East Valley for the last four years. I love my profession but it is hard on my body, specifically my shoulders and neck. Each year I seem to notice more and more discomfort as I practice and occasionally even when I am away from work. It eventually got to a point where I could actually feel a burning and tingling sensation around my shoulder blades. I would notice this one to two times a day, sometimes while working, but sometimes just driving down the freeway. Knowing I want to practice dentistry for a very long time I have sought out many different professional opinions on how to best manage this issue and to hopefully find some relief. The only real relief I have found has been with massage. I have become a regular to several of the spas in the area receiving 2-3 massages per month, which has been helpful to a point.
It was in the wee hours of the evening that Spirit spoke to Sarah Senst. “I was unable to sleep one night feeling depressed and anxious about my future. A late night TV commercial for the Life Coaching program at SWIHA was shown! The commercial, the program and the school immediately spoke to me!”
What fueled Sarah’s passion and consuming interest in the Life Coaching program, stemmed from her position as the ultimate life coach – parenting! “I've always enjoyed engaging with people and learning their 'stories.’ This strength has allowed me to connect with many different people from many different backgrounds. People really do care that you care – they don’t care as much about what you know. I think people can feel that I care when they are around me. My passion became more focused after my own personal experience of raising three children in a one-adult home; I realized others could also benefit from support, non-judgement and acceptance in their own parenting experiences. I came to understand that society can be very critical of parents and it is not an area we are highly trained in or prepared for, yet it is perhaps one of the most important jobs in existence. I wanted to create a place where people could talk about the fears, resentments, anxieties, hopes, dreams, frustrations and blessings that accompany raising healthy children. Hence my coaching business, No Perfect Parents, was born in 2005.”
Like many SWIHA students, Kristin Apodaca’s path to SWIHA was full of trials and tribulations. Nearly seven years ago, Kristin and her family moved to Arizona for her husband’s new job, leaving her family and old life behind in Boca Raton, Florida. On the outside, she had it all: a loving husband, four beautiful and healthy children, a large home and many friend -- and yet, as Kristin revealed, she felt like she had no idea who she was as a person. Seven years of being a stay-at-home-mom took their toll on her.She spent that time feeling very resentful towards her husband for having to work such long hours, taking him away from their family and herself. All of these factors led her to a breaking point. “I had lost my identity,” confessed Kristin. After briefly using anti-depressants to help cope with her anxiety and depression, she knew there had to be a more holistic route available.
“I knew I had to find an alternative to the medicine; I needed to deal with and explore the feeling of emptiness I felt so that I could be the best version of myself and be the best mom I could be for my children,” said Kristin. After beginning to look into self-help retreats, a friend of hers mentioned the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts. She quickly logged onto SWIHA’s website -- www.swiha.edu -- and knew that this was exactly what she needed.
StevieAnne Petitt is well on her purposeful path to be an internationally-known and well-received Conscious Comedian and Inspirational Speaker. Stevie’s comedic approach to conscious living prompts her audience to “Lighten up Enlightenment”, finding the humor in this human experience!
Stevie’s journey has been nothing shy of miraculous. She lived in foster and group homes after childhood abuse that resulted in her becoming a ward of the state. Stevie remembers being divinely-guided by one or two mentors at each significant turning point in her journey. “Looking back now, I find that every event was divinely orchestrated to bring me to who I evolved into today. I have the vague memory of several mentors, counselors and therapists whose brief comments of praise and inspiration fueled me for months and motivated me to dream big.”
Jennifer Csajko was so miserable at her job and she needed a little ‘divine intervention’. She didn't know what she wanted to do with her life. “When I started learning about Law of Attraction and our thoughts and energies, I attracted SWIHA (Southwest Institute of Healing Arts) into my life. My yoga teacher liked the SWIHA Facebook page and when I clicked on it, I knew that this was what I was meant to do. I had to be a part of the program. That was in October and by January I had quit my job and was enrolled. Best decision I ever made!”
Alise Holland, like many of SWIHA’s students, was brought to the school by Spirit. On Labor Day, 2014, she saw a vision of a school for healing and the name, Southwest Institute of Healing Arts, came through in her vision. At the time, she had been teaching in a public classroom for eight years, and took a leap of faith and left the classroom in 2011. Alise shared how, even though she had her Doctorate in Education and had a flexible job, she knew that there was something missing and needed to find out what SWIHA had to offer. “It wasn’t until I attended SWIHA to better understand myself and how I show up in the world… That’s when it became simple; my life purpose is to serve others and be a Merchant of Hope.”
Although she grew up in poverty, Alise has realized that nothing is truly wasted, and she is grateful for all of her challenges. “What I find is that now that I am on my spiritual path, I am able to share my knowledge with others to enlighten them on their own spiritual path. In other words, I am able to turn all of my sufferings into service to help others.” For the longest time, Alise couldn’t figure out why she chose to become a teacher, when her true passion resided in tapping into her spiritual gifts. After attending SWIHA, she learned why. “I am still a teacher and mentor, but my audience has changed. It is now the World, and I am destined to be a Spiritual Guide to souls throughout humanity. People need the right kinds of knowledge, yet I will be using my spiritual gifts and knowledge to educate souls.”
Taran Emmert was initially going to a fine arts school, yet she couldn’t fathom the idea of waiting six more years until graduation. So, she followed her inner yearning to discover a new path. She always had an interest in massage and yoga, so she checked out four different schools. SWIHA was the last one she checked out, and immediately, it felt like home. While other schools were pushy with their approach, Taran shared how SWIHA felt so different than the others. “My advisor said: Take your time to think about it. Pray about it, let the answers come to you.”
In February of 2012, Taran enrolled into the 750-hour professional massage practitioner program
, which allowed her enough elective credits to also complete the 200-hour Yoga teacher training.
Glenda Bokamper, just like many before her, was divinely led to Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA). Glenda had an idea about what she wanted to do and had embarked on a more traditional path towards her dreams. After she hit some bumps in the road, SWIHA made an appearance in her life and that has made a huge difference. “In nail school I became allergic to the fake nail products, leaving the spas in Scottsdale as my only option for employment. At the first spa that I worked, I was told to fake a treatment with my pedicures. Instead of faking it, I found SWIHA and took an introductory class. That was 15 years ago. I fell in love during that one class with feet and the mysteries that they hold. I have been loving feet from that day forward.”
Paul Smith is the epitome of a SWIHA #GreatGraduate, displaying the reverent and resilient balance between action and stillness. Paul is a life-long student who has used every ounce of his experience to expand his own personal growth and empower that in others.
He shares that he has found his life purpose through integrating his past experiences and observations: “Human beings have the capacity to be so healthy and so happy. All people can have a very loving connection between family, friends, colleagues and teammates. I have been observing and studying throughout my entire life so that I could help others. Unfortunately a few tragedies have occurred: my grandfather died of cancer, my high school head football coach died of cancer, my little cousin overdosed on prescription medication and my little brother took his own life. I've observed so many other tragedies and challenges - and numerous disheartening news stories are aired every day.
Ravynn Rohner is a graduate who has literally transformed her life and humbly taken space in the seat of the teacher. In 2011, Ravynn started doing yoga regularly in her hometown of Casa Grande, Arizona and her teacher was a Spirit of Yoga graduate. Having taken Cranial Unwinding at SWIHA in 2007, she was familiar with the school, and began thinking about taking the 800-hour Yoga Teacher Training Program.