Purposefully Create Unique + Diverse Wellness Programming: A Five-Step Guide

September 16, 2022
Erica Hartnick (she/her)
4 min read

Erica Hartnick (she/her) is the founder of Yoga Trade, where her knowledge and passion for yoga, travel, and the outdoors have helped connect people with meaningful experiences. She joins our network of Women in Travel who’re using their expertise to champion a better travel industry. Like Erica, we want to hear from you; if you have a story or resource you want to share with the Women in Travel community, you can email social@wetravel.com 

We know–regardless of the travel segment you operate in–that female* travelers seek purposeful and diverse experiences. As a travel business owner or a “wellpreneur’, providing these experiences is not only good for your business, but it will sustain the planet and people for the long-term future of our industry. 

As a wellness retreat leader, there are intentional actions available to blend these experiences into your business, here is my guide:

Look to Nature! 

Nature builds living ecosystems from the various species that are available in an area. Plants have evolved to move around the planet by design, and they have been doing so for millions of years. Ecosystems are dynamic, ever-changing living systems. Even though they change, grow, and evolve over time like all living things, nature forms stable ecosystems from different species that can grow well together in a beneficial relationship. 

Allow nature to be your guide, learn from it and grow with it; offer off-grid experiences to relax travelers’ nervous systems by observing nature. 

 

Make Creativity a Priority

Where our attention goes – energy flows. If we make creativity a priority, then it will become abundant in our life, our community, and our business. 

Creativity is like a muscle. The more we train it, the more it will naturally flow. If we make creative practices a priority in daily life, creativity will become a habit. Morning journaling and movement outdoors can really help stimulate the juices. When designing wellness programming for your business, think about the types of experiences that would light YOU up! What kinds of classes, workshops, immersions make YOUR heart sing? If it speaks to you, it will probably speak to others. This creates authenticity and people will be able to feel it. 

Build a Diverse Team That Values Local Culture + Inclusivity

It’s all about the people and the relationships we nourish. Start by hiring local people and work with the resources that are close to home. Add diversity by creating synergistic partnerships and collaborations that will spice up the mix. There is an entire culture of wellness professionals and yoga teachers that are eager to travel the world and bring their skills and wisdom around the globe through travel work exchanges and/or short-term paid gigs. You can post opportunities, find your people, and be inspired at Yoga Trade!

Here are some examples of women-led travel + online spaces that are doing a great job of blending local culture, diversity, and inclusivity and are offering excellent wellness programming. They also offer work exchanges and opportunities for those around the world to offer their uniqueness. Check out what they are creating and be inspired:

Surf With Amigas, Nicaragua, and around the world
Afro Yoga, Jamaica
Blue Chitta, Thailand
Playa Viva, Mexico
Ngalung Kalla, Indonesia
Earth Speak, Online

Create a Safe and Regenerative Space

When connecting with new people and places, trust and safety must be built from the foundation. It is important to see all sides of the coin. If we lead with honesty, respect, and integrity – we can create trust slowly over time. Designing spaces and wellness programs that are in harmony with the land and promote regeneration also build trust as it shows we are stewards of the earth. The yamas in yoga philosophy are a wonderful reference as a value system for safe spaces:

  • Ahimsa ~ Nonviolence
  • Satya ~ Truthfulness
  • Asteya ~ Non-stealing
  • Brahmacharya ~ Non-excess
  • Aparigraha ~ Non-possessiveness

Offering feminine circular economy options is also a way to create regenerative space. 

Encourage Community, Discussion, and Opportunities to Share

Design wellness programs that empower people, allow people to share their voice, and teach leadership! Think about creating positive ripple effects. Offer ways people can become active participants within their local communities. Allow people to freely express themselves and be who they are. Ask for and accept feedback as a way to grow and evolve. 

Some ideas for activities to include in your Wellness Programming: 

  • Writing
  • Art
  • Dance
  • Freediving
  • Permaculture
  • Herbalism
  • Vision quest
  • Unique movement
  • Mindful hiking
  • Honoring death

Get to creating and be you! If you build it with love, compassion, and authenticity – they will come. The grass is greenest where you water it! When we show up in our business, find the balance of giving and receiving, get out of our own way and be a channel for grace, wellness will flow.