“All of my work with clients is based in mindfulness. My personal experience shaped my coaching work and now, more and more clients contact me because they specifically want a mindfulness-focused coaching experience.”
What drew you to study health and wellness coaching as your healing discipline?
I have always felt energized by helping others, and this inspired me to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and a master’s in public health from The George Washington University. In my professional life, I have enjoyed working with children with childhood onset schizophrenia and ADHD, evaluating San Diego County funded mental health services, managing a Maryland Department of Health tobacco use prevention program, and in the last decade, working on therapeutic AIDS Clinical Trials for NIH. I felt that a degree in health and wellness coaching would be a great way to enhance my experience, knowledge, and skillset in a synergistic way. I wanted to use my education to serve individuals and my community on a more personal and holistic level.
Why did you choose MUIH for your academic program?
My father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and I was struggling with how to deal with it. I needed something beyond the “traditional” route of therapy and medication; I was really depressed and these tools just weren’t enough. I sought various forms of healing, one of which was acupuncture. My acupuncturist, Elizabeth Baer, graduated from MUIH. In our sessions we discussed the philosophy of the university and it really spoke to me.
Describe your path since graduating:
While finishing the program at MUIH, I opened Rooted In Bliss, a studio in North Bethesda where I offer private and group coaching and mindfulness meditation sessions. I also began teaching at area yoga studios. In 2014, I also took my 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training and have recently dipped my toe into teaching asana in addition to meditation.
I continue to be a seeker of knowledge and strive to enhance what I learned through my MUIH studies. After graduating, I embarked on a “Year of Living Mindfully” with Jonathan Foust, an esteemed teacher with the Insight Meditation Community of Washington (IMCW). Studying with him was profound on many levels and as part of the program I went on my first weeklong silent meditation retreat. In 2013, I received my Reiki II certification, and I participated in the .b Teacher Training, where I received a certification to teach mindfulness meditation to children and adolescents. I was incredibly honored last year when I was asked to be the permanent substitute teacher for Hugh Byrne, a senior teacher with IMCW and someone I respect immensely.
This past year, I began to align my professional life with my personal passion for mindfulness coaching and holistic health by reducing my hours at my “day job.” My intention was to create space to invite more opportunities to serve in a healing capacity.
What have you accomplished that is a result of the education and skills you received here?
Since receiving my degree, my career and personal life have developed significantly. I have a private mindfulness coaching practice that allows me to work with individual clients both near and far. I teach in a variety of settings, including academic, yoga studios, private companies, and nonprofits.
Beyond the deep satisfaction I get from being able to serve in this capacity, using all of the tools in my toolbox personally has also kept me healthier. In the past, I would invariably get a major cold or flu at least twice a year. I am thrilled to tell you that I haven’t had one since I graduated!
What has been your most exciting or fulfilling professional experience to date?
A wellness startup reached out to me last year and asked me to participate as one of the experts providing content for their app. Because of my work with them, I now have two professional mindfulness meditation recordings on YouTube (10 Minute Guided Body Scan and
10 Minute Guided Mindfulness Meditation) and receive feedback from viewers from around the world who find the recordings to be helpful.
Are you achieving your professional goals?
As a health and wellness coach you are commonly advised to have a niche. I came out of the program without a specific focus, but I was open to possibilities. I didn’t get caught up in needing to know the end result and in the end, my niche emerged organically.
Today, I am a mindfulness coach; all of my work with clients is based in mindfulness. My personal experience shaped my coaching work and now, more and more clients contact me because they specifically want a mindfulness-focused coaching experience.
Linda Naini completed MUIH’s Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Health and Wellness Coaching in 2013. Visit her website at www.LindaNaini.com.