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Susan Kiskis: Sharing Wellness While Helping the Planet

Mar 28, 2011 07:56PM ● By Beth Davis

Susan Kiskis

To say that Susan Kiskis is one busy lady would be an understatement of epic proportions. She is the founder and coordinator of the Mechanicsburg Earth Day Festival and the owner of Barefoot Yoga and Wellness Studio and the Providence Boutique. Juggling these multiple roles and responsibilities would seem an immense undertaking to most individuals, but Kiskis is simply pursuing the interests that inspired her as a kid growing up in New York City.

That bustling metropolis isn’t renowned for its nature walks, green grass or wildlife, but Kiskis credits frequent trips to Central Park with her mother for stimulating her passion for nature and the planet. “They gave me a real appreciation for the Earth,” she says. “Just to see birds and squirrels was so unusual—it made me take nothing for granted.”

The idyllic forays also inspired her to share her enthusiasm with others and to educate and inform the community about healthy, green and sustainable living. After moving to Mechanicsburg several years ago, she recalled an Earth Day festival she had attended in college and quickly went to work creating something similar for residents of her own community.

In 2007, Kiskis established the music-filled, family-friendly Mechanicsburg Earth Day Festival (scheduled this year for Saturday, April 16) to help people learn about what they can do for the Earth and its inhabitants. Each year, the festival combines empowering speakers; environmental, humanitarian and animal welfare nonprofits; kids’ activities and more—all melding into a community celebration of the Earth.

2007 was also the year that Kiskis blended her love of fashion with her desire to make a difference, opening the Providence Boutique, an eco-friendly lifestyle shop. It features distinctive apparel made of natural fabrics such as organic cotton, hemp and bamboo, along with eco-minded home decor items, bath and body products, jewelry and accessories. Browsing the boutique, with its artful displays and soothing colors and scents, is an experience that Kiskis calls “remarkable.” She explains: “Ninety percent of the people who walk through the door have never worn organic clothing, or even know what it is. It gives me the opportunity to educate people that [the] organic [lifestyle] is more than just food.”

Teaching others is what Kiskis loves most. “It’s amazingly beautiful to see someone change physically and emotionally—to see people grow, be aware of their progress and have a rewarding experience,” she says.

Kiskis didn’t stop there. In 2009, her love of yoga and interest in helping others achieve a healthy lifestyle inspired her to open Barefoot Yoga and Wellness Studio, where she offers several styles of yoga, as well as Tai chi, massage, acupuncture, energy work, sound therapy, hypnotherapy and green coaching. The studio embraces the yogic philosophy of ahimsa—do no harm to people or the Earth—so fixtures using natural and recycled materials are built or sought.

Although Kiskis had practiced yoga for many years, she gradually found herself drawn to teaching. Adding meditation and Tai chi to her practice deepened her emotional and physical growth, she says. “I felt like everything came together at once.” Wanting to share this empowerment with others, Kiskis extended her training to become a Reiki Master and teacher and a certified hypnotherapist and neurolinguistic programming (NLP) practitioner. She is also certified in Self-Mastery and continues to train in several other modalities, including aromatherapy, herbology, chanting and sound therapy.

Teaching others is what Kiskis loves most. “It’s amazingly beautiful to see someone change physically and emotionally—to see people grow, be aware of their progress and have a rewarding experience,” she says.

For Kiskis, her busy schedule, multiple roles and purpose-driven activities are part of a bigger picture: raising awareness among people that their own wellness and the health of the planet are inextricably intertwined. “I have a fire in my belly to move, to go and create,” she explains. “Making a difference in my community is so enormously rewarding that I believe there’s a purpose and a reason for wanting to do more.”

Barefoot Wellness Studio is located at 130 Gettysburg Pike, Ste. A, in Mechanicsburg. For information, call 717-610-1200 or visit Providence Boutique is located at 16A South Market St., in Mechanicsburg. For information, call 717-697-3640 or visit For more information about the 2011 Mechanicsburg Earth Day Festival, visit