A strange “hobby” began to evolve in the late 1950s and early 1960s, a hobby that attracted police attention and made headlines in the New York Times describing what a “handful of unusual freaks” do in their free time. This freakish behavior was jogging. Today joggers, or runners, as we are referred to, are everywhere, and the health benefits associated with running are well documented.
I experienced a similar situation in the late 1990s when I began to study energy balancing. People like me who researched the mind, body, and soul were “hippies” and “weirdos.” For the most part, we didn’t attract interest from the police; however, recognizing the importance of our energy, body, and mental health was not common or very well understood, and I'm not sure the word “wellness” even existed.
More than 25 years later, science is catching up with what the ancients taught us more than 3000 years ago, referencing non-visible energy within our body as crucial but often a missing component in health management.
As empirical data grows to support the health benefits of taking care of our energy and spiritual body and following the self-reflective period of covid where most of us adjusted to having more time on our hands, there is an ever-growing interest in holistic wellness where we focus on the health of our physical, mental, emotional, social and spiritual wellness to bring out the healthiest and happiest version of ourselves.
Sport and fitness have always been a great passion for my husband and me, and it came very naturally back in 2005 to integrate sports such as scuba diving, mountain biking, trail running, and hiking into the travel itineraries offered by our company Adventures In Borneo. My husband is a professional marine and wildlife photographer; with his experience, we were able to offer land and underwater photography workshops too.
We began to include wellness activities such as yoga and mindful meditation practice in our fitness and sporting camps in 2018. Our concept “Explore, Develop, Challenge & Enlighten” recharges the body and nourishes the mind. When travel came to an abrupt halt in 2020, I returned to my wellness practice and began to develop new concepts. Yoga, meditation, self-reflection, and awareness became my everyday life again.
My intention was simple; I wanted to keep myself busy and have a purpose during the pandemic. Before I knew it, I had created a new brand–Hansah Yoga & Wellness, registered and trademarked in the UK. People were starting to talk about my concept of living a happier life and then, as borders reopened and the world began to travel looking for new experiences, I was asked to include the theory of Hansah into some of our Adventure and Wellness Travel Itineraries and my two worlds collided.
Hansah in the ancient language of Sanskrit means Swan, which is a powerful bird that symbolizes a thing of beauty and protection combined with a splash of playfulness. Hansah provides a holistic, evidence-based approach to leading a happier life.
Using a very simple tool kit, there are seven components that we invite people to reflect upon and introduce into their lifestyle. It's simple, fun, and promotes a very positive contribution to one's social and environmental impact with the motto, “We can’t change the world, but we can change someone's world.” For many people, the exposure brings about a whole new awareness of possibility.
Although unplanned at the point of development, the "Hansah Tool Kit for a Happier Life” enhances adventure travel itineraries by contributing structured wellness activities such as moving your body in nature, for example, hiking, yoga, cycling, etc. by engaging with new people in local communities, by challenging yourself with scuba diving, snorkeling, climbing or other experiences that expand comfort zones. Love and kindness are other components that give us the opportunity to give back to the environment, we also include mindfulness and breathing techniques.
We are very excited to have this new experience within our portfolio. It's amazing how life works out sometimes, how unplanned and unexpected opportunities develop. A final thought from Hansah, which forms part of tool number seven "You do not need to construct a plan, tactic, or strategy for everything. Just make yourself ready, and the unfolding intelligence of life itself will carry you to your destination."
Written By Joanne Swann
Co-Founder of Adventures In Borneo (aka Downbelow Marine & Wildlife Adventures S/B). Founder of Hansah Yoga & Wellness