Institute for Holistic Health Studies

IHHS Programs and Opportunities


New Wellness Suite

The Institute for Holistic Health Studies opened the new Wellness Suite in Berkshire Hall on the Midtown campus of Western Connecticut State University in Fall 2015. This beautiful space is an oasis of peace and serenity promoting health of the body, mind, and spirit. The generous yet cozy common room is a warm and inviting space for small group workshops or activities such as guided meditation, yoga off the mat, or drumming circles. For a more private and personalized setting, there are three treatment rooms which may be used for individual reiki, massage, nutrition counselling, fitness assessments or health coaching appointments. The sense of peace and tranquility continues and extends outside to the mediation garden next to Berkshire Hall. Students designed, planted, and will maintain this garden as a place to stroll or sit in quiet reflection.

This wellness suite provides a venue for WCSU and the greater Danbury community to experience new opportunities for wellness, participate in workshops, and attend certification programs. In addition, the space is used to support in the courses for the new Holistic and Integrative Health Option in the BS of Health Promotion Studies curriculum. This wellness suite is the result of collaboration, ingenuity and creativity from several departments at WCSU. Many of the furnishings - tables, chairs, massage tables - were surplus furniture that were no longer in use by other departments and other branch campuses of WCSU, demonstrating sensitivity and commitment to reduce/reuse/and recycle.


Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting for the Wellness Suite, November 12, 2015

Pictured, left to right: Dr. Jess House, Dean, School of Professional Studies, Dr. Jane McBride Gates, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Professor Jody Rajcula, HPX Department Co-chair, Dr. Robyn Housemann, HPX Department Co-chair, Christel Autuori, Director, Institute for Holistic Health Studies, and Dr. John B. Clark, WCSU President.

Annual Health and Wellness Fair

The Institute for Holistic Health Studies has sponsored twelve annual Health and Wellness Fairs. These health fairs bring together health and wellness practitioners from across the region and state and WCSU student health and wellness services to showcase opportunities to enhance and protect health. In addition, students in the Health Promotion Studies program exhibit their service learning projects and provide fun activities for attendees. The health fairs have varied over the years and have included exhibits, presentations, a film screening, 5K walk-run events, yoga, tai chi and drumming demonstrations, and more. Reiki practitioners and massage therapists have donated their time to provide free reiki sessions and massages. These events are open to the campus community and the public.

 

Meditation Garden

A group of students designed a Meditation Garden as part of their HPS service learning project. They presented their idea to WCSU facilities staff for input and made some modifications in the design before implementing it in the fall of 2015. This collaborative effort involved students, faculty and staff donating plants and volunteering their time to prepare the soil and plant the garden. We are looking forward to the plants blooming in spring. This garden will provide a place to enjoy nature, meditate or relax. It can be used for yoga and meditation classes as well. A garden dedication/grand opening is planned for early spring.

 

Certification programs, special lectures, meditation series

Lotus Gardens Yoga School 200-Hour Yoga Teacher Training
Lotus Gardens Yoga School is providing Yoga Teacher Training at WCSU. The classes began in October 2015 and will end in April 2016. Their curriculum covers the best of the major styles instructed today: Alignment, Ashtanga, Gentle, Hatha, Kundalini, Restorative, Vinyasa and Yin. Yoga Therapy is a part of the curriculum with additional research and hands on student teaching for medical concerns and special needs such as pre-natal, back & neck problems, arthritis, menopause, seniors, anxiety, depression and more. The teacher training is offered in 3 elements; Philosophy & Culture, Anatomy & Asana, and Teach What You Love. Each element is 56 class room hours plus 4 hours of mentoring and one NYC field trip day. In addition, each candidate will be required and 20 hours of home study. This training is led by Lara Azzarito Ward. (http://www.lotusgardensyoga.com/200hr.html)

Embody The Sacred ® Holistic Shamanic Practitioner Training and Certification Program
This 13-month program began in October 2015. It incorporates teachings based on the healing traditions of the Americas with an emphasis on the Peruvian/Andean traditions, Global and Core Shamanism, Angelic healing, practical hands-on energy healing techniques, holistic wellness education, how to integrate Reiki and Shamanic healing techniques, and teachings from the Western Mystery Schools and modern mystical traditions.
This shamanic training program is for those looking to dedicate themselves to true self-healing and self-empowerment, personal responsibility, and to view health from a holistic and spiritual perspective, while honoring each person's own personal experience, spiritual path and guidance. This course is also meant for Reiki practitioners, bodyworkers, energy healers, therapists, counselors and other health care practitioners who feel called to incorporate more spiritual practices into their work for their own healing and to assist others. This program is also for those who wish to deepen their intuition, their connection to spirit guides, angels, ancestors, power animals, and Mother Earth to facilitate shifts in their own consciousness, health, work and life and to strengthen those connections to be of service to others and the planet. This training is led by Deana Paqua. (http://embodythesacred.net/shamanic_training.html)

Sahaja Yoga Meditation Series
A Sahaja Yoga Meditation Series began in November. This series is free and is held on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 PM in Room 103 of Warner Hall (Midtown Campus). Sahaja Yoga Meditation is a simple yet profound guided meditation with easy to do hand movements all done while sitting in the comfort of a chair. Sahaja Yoga Meditation, founded by Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi, is practiced in more than 100 countries. The purpose of this meditation is to awaken kundalini energy to create a state of thoughtless awareness. The benefits of this meditation include inner peace, happiness, clarity, improved focus, stress reduction, relaxation and improved physical health. Although this meditation includes aspects of hatha yoga (breath work, chakra activation, and hand mudras) it is not a hatha yoga class. This class will be taught by Jesse Rovero. Jesse is an avid follower of Thich Nhat Hanh and his mindfulness teachings.

Other workshops and lectures
The IHHS presented STRESSBUSTERS! at the end of the fall semester. This program was open to students, faculty, staff and the general public. It included demonstrations, information, and simple stress management tools and techniques to help attendees navigate this often stressful time.
We present workshops and lectures and participate in health fairs outside of the university at worksites, community settings and for youth. These requests are indicative of the community’s interest in holistic and integrative health opportunities.

Reiki Treatment for a Donation

“Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing.” (The International Center for Reiki Training, www.reiki.org). Reiki is used to treat physical ailments without using pressure, manipulation or massage. It is more than a physical therapy, it is holistic ~ treating the whole system ~ balancing, healing, and harmonizing all aspects of the person (physical, mental, emotional and spiritual). Reiki treatments are provided in the Wellness Center for low price - all proceeds from the reiki sessions are donated to the IHHS for scholarships and programs. Contact Dr. Robyn Housemann (housemannr@wcsu.edu) for more information.


Opportunities for Service Learning and Internships for HPS students

The HPS degree has a service learning component that spans four semesters and includes 5 courses. Students select a group in the fall semester of their sophomore year and continue to work with this group for the next 2 years. We have had IHHS student groups since fall 2010. The group sizes have ranged from 5 to 9 students. These courses provide an experiential learning approach that incorporates team building, knowledge enhancement, skill building, volunteerism, and continuous quality improvement. Students create health promotion programs focused on Holistic Health approaches for the university and surrounding community organizations. The service learning approach provides students with an opportunity to gain “real-life experience” and help the community at the same time. Mentoring, advising and leading by example are key components of our student-centered approach. The students are evaluated according to the requirements in the course syllabi. Students have created various programs over the years including the design of the Meditation Garden.
The HPS Internship and Senior Seminar is the capstone requirement for the HPS major; students complete a 450-hour internship in a community health, wellness, holistic health, or allied health organization. Students are required to complete an independent project during the internship semester and submit a portfolio of their internship experiences. Students have participated in Holistic and Integrative Health Internships and have created programs in using mindfulness for healthy eating, stress reduction workshops, guided meditation programs, received reiki certifications, assisted with website design and marketing and instructional materials.

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