Bringing the global to the local: building a wellness business on Grand Manan Island

by 2018 Global HERizons Scholarship Winner Samantha Wilson

Wise Well & Free Holistic Services’ on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick opened a year ago this month! It’s pretty incredible to reflect back on last November to now. After my global experience learning about women’s empowerment and leadership in India last summer, and taking what I learned there to open Wise Well & Free, just before launching this idea I felt very nervous wondering if this was the right decision for me, as there are always risks in starting your own business. Sometimes it’s really easy for fear to creep in, but I trusted my intuition, knowing that this is what I wanted to do at this point in my life, and knowing what I learned from my experience in India. I wanted to help my community in a holistic way.

When I started last November, my services were quite new to the community, so it took a little time to build what I have today. I now offer a number of services, such as: holistic counselling/mentoring, yoga classes for kids and adults, meditation classes, and a number of other services. I’m currently working with other yoga teachers to plan some retreats on Grand Manan for this summer. I’m also looking forward to hosting lots of beach yoga classes this summer. I find the ocean so grounding and meditative, and beach yoga is something my students really enjoy.


Planning and hosting yoga and meditation retreats is my future plans and goals for my business. I will hopefully build some sort of ocean view studio someday on Grand Manan. I’m really looking forward to retreat planning as I love the creativity involved in planning group events and the growth and healing that comes with it. As a therapist, I tend to have a very nurturing approach to my yoga and meditation teaching, so I think retreat planning will be the perfect fit for me as it slowly flows into my life.

thumbnail_IMG_0315I have been currently hosting six-week yoga and meditation classes, which has been so much fun to get to know people more when I see them weekly. The beauty of the weekly programs is you see the growth in people’s practice and the benefits physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.

For a long time, I have dreamed of having a job that I enjoyed going too every day. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to do what I love because it truly does not feel like work to me. I’m such an advocate for healing through inward work, instead of searching for some external source to heal us. Yoga, meditation, and counselling complement each other so well through that inward connection and healing.

The last year has been a learning curve, but so many valuable lessons for me as I sit back and reflect. For anyone starting a business in a helping profession, here are a few things that I learned over the last year. It’s so important to set boundaries and learn to say no. As a Yoga teacher, there’s so many styles of Yoga you can teach but it’s important to be authentic, don’t try to do too much. Stick to the styles of Yoga that you want to teach and the styles that fuels your energy. In any helping profession, you are constantly giving your energy to others, and it’s important that you stay true to your roots, set boundaries, learn what does and doesn’t fuel your soul, and most importantly remember that it’s okay to say no. I learned very quickly how important my schedule was in a giving profession, I am very strict with my self-care and how many people I see per day because it’s too easy to burn out and then you can’t help anyone. I want to be present with my clients and be able to give them my full attention, which means taking care of myself first so that I can give to others.

Thank you Global HERizons for helping me to take an amazing trip to India that inspired me to open up my own business.



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