We wanted to say something about Wilhemeena - because - quite honestly - where would we all be without her?
One of our beautiful SOUL Tribe Liz Brookes said it quite simply
And we agree - SOUL is a legacy - it has survived over a decade and created, helped, inspired and quite literally “saved” a bunch of our SOULS along the way. It wouldn’t have happened without Wilhemeena.
Wilhemeena has been serving the arts and wellbeing communities for over 25 years. Starting as a dance artist and choreographer with a decade of practice. In 2015 she founded SOUL CENTRE – the first centre for kinesthetic and somatic education in NZ (it is still the only one!) It is a place where people can come and learn the latest human technologies alongside ancient and sacred practices that have been lost in the modern fast-paced world.
This is not just a yoga studio, but a place where you can find alternative practices alongside your vinyasa class and personal training. Things like qi gong, cacao meditation, shamanic sound journeying – learning to become a movement therapist, a somatic educator, a shin yoga teacher (www.shinyoga.com - Wilhemeena developed this too) a biodynamic cranio-sacral therapist – yes we know it is a mouthful – but it really does work!
Wilhemeena is passionate about bringing embodiment and somatic based practices to a wider populace. She has dedicated her life, her life savings and her (very energetic) life force to creating wellness and healing for as many people as she can muster.
“As we look after ourselves we remember that we are a part of the whole – the wholeness of our humanness and the wholeness of the earth of which we are a part – as we heal ourselves we heal the whole system.” she says.
Next year the centre will be launching it’s very own SOUL Somatics training programme a 3 month intensive programme which encompasses holistic massage, cranio-sacral therapy, chi kung and embodied anatomy. – Training therapists in the very unique style that Wilhemeena has created over her 25 years of embodiment practice.
The centre is dedicated as organic, sustainable and regenerative in its practices and ethos, and even supports young dance artists with subsidized studio hire and has created management internships, where people can come and work and study with Wilhemeena and take the learning back to their own communities. In this way she is bridging the arts, sustainability and wellbeing – “It’s all about wholistic being” she says
Since founding SOUL CENTRE, Wilhemeena has also founded SOUL RETREATS, SOUL WELLBEING AT WORK, SHIN YOGA, and a charitable trust THE SOUL TRUST, which is raising funds to create a retreat centre for all these amazing SOULful adventures things to be housed in.
In her spare time Wilhemeena is a leader in the corporate wellness sector and facilitates yoga, massage and wellness programs for selected businesses throughout New Zealand, and has lectured for the Sustainable Business Network and the NZ Department of Labour on Workplace Wellness.
She has facilitated workshops and classes in association with the Auckland District Health Board for Community Mental Health Facilities and in private dual-diagnosis programmes and has facilitated children's therapeutic groups for children in trauma at Starship hospi
Wilhemeena is making a difference and creating positive change by simply being herself. She leads by example. For each individual she meets she does her best to be present moment to moment. She shows up for herself and for her community and in doing so has created a legacy of people touched by her grace and magic.
“Positive change means taking action, showing up in our own lives and in the lives of others to our fullest capacity” says Willa, “it’s the everyday moments that make the difference”.
Over the last 13 years of running SOUL, Wilhemeena has touched the lives of thousands of people, her centre has seen well over 75,000 people through it’s doors, she has personally treated over 5000 people and her classes have had over 52,000, these are just the ones she has managed to count, with much more turning up day by day.
Her vision doesn’t stop here though, even with a beautiful centre on the outskirts of Auckland, several transformational retreats every year to tropical and far off places (including Samoa, Tonga, Bali, Nepal, Peru – to name a few) and workshops worldwide Wilhemeena has been cooking up a new poetry book to raise funds for a special piece of land to build a retreat centre so she can reach more people. “It’s important to have a place where people (especially in cities) can have time out, away from their everyday lives.” She says, “I want to create a place where I can work with people one on one over several days – I can’t begin to tell you how transformative that will be,” she says. “Some people need a longer time to let healing settle, and it takes some people a few days to even unwind from our fast-paced lives and slow down to earth pace – this is the pace of healing.”
Wilhemeena is a member of ISMETA, the leading international somatics association, a member of Yoga Alliance and amongst the other numerous trainings and certifications she has done she has racked up a powerful concoction of leading edge modalities. In 2015 she was awarded an Arts Venture scholarship, a prestigious award for leading arts entrepreneurs in Auckland.
You will be lucky if you can get your hands on her – or even better get her to get her hands on YOU!
If you would like to contribute to this ongoing legacy of SOUL - we are looking for very special people to join our legacy tribe. For more information contact willa on firstname.lastname@example.org