Antonio Aragona AD, sometimes known as “Vishnu” or even Dr. Antonio has dedicated his life to helping others transform from victim to victor, so that they can awaken to a hidden potential of healing and guiding them on their paths to a better life. He helps them to reconnect with their health through their bodies and hearts by providing a safe foundation that involves exploring the potential of emotional and physical wounds that have affected others health incorporating a holistic model of body-mind-spirit medicine.
Antonio’s life has been all about transforming and transcending his own childhood traumas that rendered him hopeless and helpless at times. It was his life purpose to transform it all so that he can be a lighthouse for others and show them how it’s possible to go from pain and suffering into health and happiness. Growing up as a first generation Italian immigrant family he learned household responsibilities, the art and science of gardening and healing through compassion as he witnessed friends and family around him struck by grief. During this time he was introduced to massage at age five, through his stepfather, and he learn old world Italian herbal remedies. He began developing an interest in healing sciences at a young age. Antonio’s childhood was anything but “rosy.” He was a victim of sexual, physical, emotional/mental abuse. Poverty on so many levels was an issue, and not just financially. This went on for years (between the ages of 4 and 17) and because of it his self-esteem was shredded to pieces and he developed numbness to his physical pain from all the abuse. Physically wrought, due to such an environment, coupled with a less than optimal diet, Antonio suffered from chronic digestive problems. He spent most of his years detached from his body. By the time Antonio became a teenager life seemed beyond bleak and meaningless, filled with rage and mistrust in the world. He suffered from anxiety and depression and survived a few suicide attempts.
Yet, “something” inside him persevered. He had this sense that all of this pain could not be real and there had to be a way to finding peace. Antonio’s second oldest brother was the sole positive influence during his childhood. Throughout this time, he would come and save him from the excessiveness of these abusive experiences. At the age of 16 he was told by this brother that “just because 16 years of his life was ruined that he had the rest of his life to change it.” Antonio couldn’t wait to take himself away from home and to figure out how he could do his life differently. He wanted to understand the mind and learn why people behaved as they did. Antonio enrolled in a psychology class in high school and fell in love for the first time with this subject, so much so that he eventually made his way to SUNY Purchase College and received a Bachelors in Psychology. It was because of sheer grace that his life began to re-inspire him after years of feeling so much pain, emptiness, anger and detachment. His roommates’ girlfriend came from California and spent a lot of time helping him to reconnect through her loving nurturing touch. This friendship eventually encouraged him to pursue a certification in massage therapy. While at SUNY Purchase, she strongly urged him to take yoga and this is where the journey of yoga began for this “angry Italian boy from the Bronx.” Antonio fell in love with yoga and all because of his first yoga teacher who was 87 years old (but looked like she was in her 50’s.) He remembers that first day of class saying that he wanted what she exuded from her being, which was radiant.
After graduating, Antonio had a lot more work to do on himself to really dive deeper into his old wounds and begin to transform them so that he could live life to his fullest. He worked at New York Hospital/Cornell Medical University’s Dermatopathology Laboratory processing biopsies. During this time, he completed his massage training (through Anjanette Decarlo) and ventured into the Himalayan Institute in Manhattan to learn the basics of meditation and was introduced to this profoundly designed system of therapeutic healing known as Core Energetics. He began therapy and was given the diagnosis of “Affective Disorder with Mixed Emotional Features and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.” Antonio was emotionally stirred during the 90’s when he learned the devastating effects of HIV/AIDS was having on so many people. Because of this he became, certified by NYC in HIV/AIDS education, counseling and testing. This led him to pursue a career as a social worker and provided services to clients that had HIV/AIDS. Antonio witnessed many related deaths to this chronic disease which ignited the desire to find a holistic approach to compliment his current education was a must. To support this, he obtained certifications in Reiki, Shiatsu and preliminary training in Chinese Medicine. In 2001, while completing his shiatsu and holistic training in New York City, Antonio met the love of his life, Luis, who lived in Philadelphia.
A month before graduating, Antonio was affected by 9/11 in New York City and this, along with his developing relationship with Luis, prompted him to relocate to Philadelphia a few months after. He continued career as a social worker, working for Child Protective Services while continuing his holistic training by receiving his yoga teacher certification through Yoga On Main. In 2003, Antonio and was introduced to Ayurvedic Medicine (the sister and medical side of Yoga) as part of his yoga training, and yet again fell deeply in love. Antonio felt that Ayurvedic Medicine was the complete comprehensive approach to healthcare and healing that tied together all his prior training. Ayurveda looks at the whole person by approaching their healing by putting them under one umbrella of body, mind and spirit. It was also during this time that he met his teacher Amma who initiated him and gave him the name “Vishnu.”