SanTan Sun April 6, 2019

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the American Herbalists Guild and she provides private, herbal consultations where her clients get their own blended teas customized to treat their ailments. She also has a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in business from Arizona State University. A mother of girls Siena, 15, and Kali, 11, Sounart helps women with fertility and in


She is also a certified Feng Shui practitioner, as well as a soul and past life coach. “Anything that deals with making a healthy home or healthy families, that’s where I’m coming from,” Greener said. Customers can try custom blends of essential oils Greener developed, including ones to decrease pain or help the immune system or reduce stress. Lavender, citruses and Frankincense are among some of the popular essential oils shoppers buy at Desert Sage Herbs.

We have holistic health. We have our main thing, “ herbs, medicinal herbs, herbal teas, black teas, green teas. We have about 350 jars of herbs. All our herbs are organic or wildcrafted. It’s very important to us that everything is non-GMO (genetically-modified organism).

– Vicki Greener the process of going through pregnancy without needing to take medications and advises them on ways to use herbs with babies after they are born. “My mom and I do lots of community classes at the shop on herbs, essential oils, making a lot of natural bath and body products,” Sounart said, adding: “I like to support the new process of bringing new life into this world but in a more natural way. I like to help bring us back into that.” Greener taught in elementary schools for 20 years and has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from ASU, and has done graduate work in elementary education. She also previously taught parenting classes in community colleges in the Valley. She studied as an aromatic specialist and continues her aromatherapy training.

Many customers are stressed, having trouble sleeping, overly worked and in pain, Greener and Sounart said. Sounart said one customer said her father had started chemotherapy and had sores “all over his mouth.” The client bought carrier oils, including one with St. John’s Wort that her father rubbed on his sores. The carrier oils are essential oils that are more concentrated. Desert Sage Herbs offers bottles and jars and carries oils in bulk so shoppers can buy just an ounce of an oil if that is all they want. “Really there’s probably 20 to 30 different things one herb can do,” Sounart said. Greener said she recommended essential oils in a tranquility blend for a man who had “terrible, terrible anxiety” and could not go near people. After using the aromatherapy and taking deep

Crystals are sold at Desert Sage Herbs, as are many gift items including jewelry. (Kimberly Carrillo/Staff Photographer)

breaths, he said he could go into a mall again for the first time in a long time. Desert Sage Herbs also sells books about herbs and oils, as well as a variety of spices including turmeric and ginger people could use in dishes including curry. The center also sells spices that can be used for therapeutic purposes to make their own capsules or mix in smoothies. Some other spices offered are cinnamon, clove, coriander, basil and oregano. “We also carry blends of spices, too, like Mexican seasoning or Italian seasoning or Herbs de Provence,” Sounart said. Several independent practitioners provide healing treatments in the building. An esthetician offers facials using all-natural products; a reflexologist treats feet, hands, faces and ears; and a neuromuscular therapist offers deep tissue massage techniques to help alleviate injuries and improve alignment. After previously running their business out of space in a strip mall on the southwest corner of Ray and Rural roads,

Greener and Sounart bought the building where Desert Sage Herbs is located on Alma School Road, just south of Warner Road. “That was always my dream,” Greener said. “When we were in that strip mall, it was nothing but retail. We wanted space where people could get support physically on their bodies.” The business offers lots of community classes including a popular one on using herbs to get better sleep and reduce stress and anxiety. Shoppers can choose from jewelry and crystals they can carry in their pockets or large crystals with lights in them. “We’re just here to educate the community and so we can empower them, help their own life and their family,” Sounart said. Desert Sage Herbs is located at 1728 N. Alma School Road and open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Information:

Yoga helps heal business owner and her clients BY COLLEEN SPARKS Managing Editor

Nicole Anne Fonovich of Chandler has suffered from severe back problems all her life, but never wanted to stop moving because she felt like she wasn’t really living. That is why the active, energetic mother and busy entrepreneur started her own mobile yoga company, Nicole Anne Yoga, in November of 2017. Fonovich and her team of yoga instructors and holistic practitioners teach a variety of yoga styles designed to help people of all ages and backgrounds heal from physical and emotional challenges and just unwind from stressful days. Unlike many other wellness companies, Nicole Anne Yoga comes to clients, teaching at yoga and dance studios, schools, companies, nursing homes, temples and anywhere else in the Valley people seek the classes and treatments. The business provides not only yoga classes, but also life coaching, Reiki energy healing, holistic nutrition/ health coach and other services aimed at improving people’s physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health.

Fonovich has a business partner, Manny Gallegos, two employees and 30 independent contractors, including holistic practitioners, yoga teachers and Reiki masters providing the classes and treatments. A graduate of the Southwest Institute of Holistic Arts in Tempe, she has her holistic practitioner degree, which includes advanced yoga training – 800 hours, and sound healing certification. In addition, she also is an advanced certified meditation instructor for the Amrit method. She specializes in teaching Yoga Nidra, sound healing, restorative yoga, holistic nutrition and life coaching. Students include senior citizens going through chemotherapy and recovering from illnesses, children with lots of energy and active young adults. Born with a weak back, Fonovich has had four surgeries on her back and has three slipped discs in her neck and one slipped disc in her back right now. She also has a fatty, benign tumor between her shoulders and neck that was removed but returned. Fonovich took her first yoga class at 20 years old while living in her native Illinois. “I fell in love with it,” she said. “I

was hooked. Over the years it was a practice I kept coming back to. At first I didn’t realize the benefits of yoga. What I noticed is I’m not as stiff. I’m sleeping better at night. I don’t have as much pain. “I don’t take prescription pain medication. This has completely changed my life and the way that I live.” Fonovich said people do not have to be super flexible or do a lot of moving, stretching and twisting to practice yoga. She also has a master’s degree in education from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and previously worked in financial aid as a university administrator for 12 years. Fonovich has a bachelor of liberal arts degree in leadership and advocacy from Kendall College in Evanston, Illinois. She had worked as director of financial aid at Touro University in California for five years before she moved back to her native Chicago to help her mother and sister care for her father, who was dying from leukemia. Her father’s illness and subsequent death sparked her interest in holistic medicine. She has also written nine children’s books and has a line of online children’s books and apps called Luca Lashes, LLC, based on her series of books. Her books have been translated into

different languages, bringing the total number of books in her name and apps to 40-some. Fonovich also owns her own company, N&L Enterprises, LLC, through which she does investment real estate. “We tried to do everything we could to extend his life,” she said of her family caring for her father. “I think it changed the fundamental health of our family for generations.” During her father’s illness, Fonovich gave birth to her son, Lucas, now 9, which helped heal her family. Fonovich recalled having back spasms at age 8. She went to the hospital and a doctor put her on morphine, but that was far from the end of her pain. “Everything I did made it worse,” she said. She remembered feeling a pop in her back while swimming at 15. Fonovich said the surgeries she has had have allowed her to keep walking, but the holistic health treatments have also helped. “I’ve utilized acupuncture, chiropractic care, float tanks,” she said. Fonovich said a friend encouraged her to come to yoga class when she was 20 and she loved the contentment and company of others in the yoga class. See

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