Blogs Tagged as SWIHA

Gisele Marasca-Vargas: Starting From Scratch to Starting a Business

In 2010, Gisele Marasca-Vargas had to close her graphic design and publishing company and file for bankruptcy (mostly due to the 2008 economic crisis). She lost her home in the process and had to practically start from scratch. She got a temporary job at the U.S. Census Bureau and went through a phase when she was feeling lost and confused about her next steps. At a certain point, she realized that she needed to reinvent herself. During her years as a graphic designer and publisher, she had worked on the side as an “energy healer”. She felt that the challenges she had gone through were a sign from the Universe that it was time to change the course of her life — to find her true path. Gisele decided that her “on the side” work was going to become her main career and life path. “That’s when I started researching … Read More

Ann Sherman- Caretaker, Nurturer, and Natural Beauty Advocate

Since graduating from Southwest Institute of Natural Aesthetics’ Advanced Skincare and Cosmetic Laser Program in 2014, Ann has begun a new adventure in her life with her own home day spa, Mindful Skin Spa, which is located in Chandler, Arizona. Ann practices what her friends call “holistic aesthetics”, meaning she uses all-natural, organic, and fragrance-free products, and educates her clients about the health aspects behind their skin. “My mission is about educating my clients about skin health, revolving around the saying, ‘You are what you eat’. Whatever you put into your body gets dumped onto your skin. I use natural products because they all eventually make their way back to your liver, and using natural products reduces the chances of doing any damage.” Much of this holistic approach comes from Ann’s medical background. Ann brings about fifteen years of medical experience to the table after graduating from nursing school in … Read More

Reflexology ~ Ancient Foundations and Modern Applications

‘This little piggy went to market, this little piggy stayed home’ is a rhyme we hear as children, playfully explaining the significance of each toe. While the elementary explanation may be a little nebulous, the concept that each toe represents something is true from the point of view of reflexology. Reflexology is a natural healing art based on the principle that there are reflex points in the feet, hands, and ears which directly correspond to every part and organ of the body. Through application of pressure on these reflex points by a skilled practitioner’s hands, along with the use of tools, lotions and aromatherapy, tension and dis-ease can be relieved or eliminated. Practices resembling reflexology can be traced as far back as 2450 BC to ancient petroglyphs on the walls of an Egyptian tomb. In fact, Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, wrote about the curative effects of this modality. … Read More

Gratitude Challenge by Bill Gisclair-Sullivan, SWIHA Mind-Body Transformational Psychology Graduate

When we talk about gratitude, we are talking about the act of truly being thankful. Thankful for the blessings we have in life — the simple pleasures, the gifts of nature, health, happiness, family, friends, etc. Gratitude shifts our focus from what we want to what we have. It allows us to look at the ready abundance of all that is great in our lives. When we are truly grateful there is a profound change in our attitude towards life. Truly giving thanks makes us happier, healthier, and more resilient. It makes our relationships stronger and improves our overall health by reducing stress in our lives. We all sometimes take for granted, the little things in our lives. The things someone else would and have given their lives for: freedom, food, a place to live, an education, a bed to sleep in, clothes on our backs, etc. What about simple … Read More

Tom Kreienbrink ~ From the Air Force to SWIHA

After retiring from the Air Force and moving back to Arizona, Tom Kreienbrink found the Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA) through a Facebook friend. Throughout the duration of his Air Force career, Tom was in Graphic Arts and Multimedia, and for the last 10 years he was in leadership and management positions. “I worked in a design position for FEMA in Washington D.C. for a few years after retiring from the Air Force. Bottom line – I was ready to get out of the ‘rat race,’ and when I found SWIHA it was the second career I’d been waiting for.” Tom shared how he’s always had a passion for learning about natural healing methods, nutrition, energy, and spirituality. “When I started studying at SWIHA, I found it was a school that offered practical holistic modalities and techniques that I could take out into the world and help people in … Read More

Attitudes Are Contagious By Jasmine Kearns, SWIHA student of Mind-Body Transformational Psychology

We have all lived through the following scenario or something similar: You wake up in the morning and are well rested, refreshed, and ready to start your day. You happily get ready and you might even sing along to the songs playing on the radio while driving in your car. You are in a wonderful mood and feel as if you are on top of the world. You get to work and head to your desk. All of a sudden your supervisor comes over and hands you a mountain of work along with a deadline that seems impossible to reach. As you go through the mountain of work and complete the assignments, you feel as though maybe you will make the deadline after all. However, after lunch your supervisor comes to tell you that your work is mediocre and needs to be redone. But you know that you did your … Read More

Mark Flory ~ From mid-life crisis to finding a “full-filling” mission

Mark Flory thought he had it all — family, job, house, and lots of friends. Then at age 44, things started to change. “I guess you can say I had a mid-life crisis of identity. At the time of my decision to go to Southwest Institute of Healing Arts (SWIHA), I had just sold a business that I thought was going to be my retirement plan.” Mark was feeling like a failure and that he let his family down. To top it off, Mark applied and interviewed with a company for a position that seemed like it was written specifically for him. After several interviews and feeling really good about getting the new job, he met with the owner and president. Remembering the shock and disbelief, Mark shared that he bombed the interview and didn’t get the job. Mark now realizes that he was having a spiritual awakening. “My intuitive … Read More

Have No Fear by Quentin McCain aka Coach Q

Growing up as an only child with a single mother, Quintin McCain has seen his fair share of struggle. He candidly shares how he chose to hang out with gangsters in his adolescent years. As a result, Quentin found himself involved in activities ranging from selling drugs to carrying weapons. Although Quentin attended four different high schools, he succeeded in completing his high school diploma. At the age of eighteen, he fell asleep at the wheel of this vehicle and crashed into a light pole, leaving him with a broken femur, fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and a new lease on life. It was this unexpected incident that helped him to realize he was put on this earth for a reason—to change the world for the better. The next event that forever impacted Quentin’s life was the birth of his beautiful daughter, Alyssa. Upon her birth, Quentin vowed to be … Read More

First-hand experience with the Medicine Wheel Class by Anthony Scarpulla

How do you put into words that which cannot be transcribed? Many things in life become lost in our attempts to capture them, to employ our language in place of direct experience. There is no substitute for experience, which is why I highly recommend you consider having your own first-hand experience, as I have had, with the Medicine Wheel class taught by Heather Principe. As the great Sufi mystic poet Kabir once said, “If you have not lived through something, it is not true.” I entered the Medicine Wheel class with anticipation but no expectations. My girlfriend took this course a year ago, and it was her overflowing love for both the teachings and the teacher that influenced my decision to enroll in the class. Before we entered the classroom at SWIHA, a fellow student was awaiting us at the door, feather in one hand, and sage held in an … Read More

Think Outside the Shapes by Guest Blogger + Yoga Teacher Erica Vucich

I have been a yoga teacher for eight years. I have had some exhilarating times and some heart-breaking trials. Like anything in life, my yoga practice and my teaching has had highs and lows. In the beginning, every time I taught a class, I was on cloud nine. I left the class feeling as good if not better than the students I taught. I felt exhilarated, uplifted, accomplished, and joyful. I had found my groove, my path, my calling. I always thought that once you had found what you love to do, hardships never came again and life would be easy and uncomplicated. This is true to a degree, but doing what you love isn’t separate from life and so can’t be completely free from the challenges that naturally arise. For the first 5 years of my teaching career, I taught 1-2 classes a week as a weekend passion. Then … Read More


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