• Love Local: Awhi

Love Local: Awhi

In a yoga studio in Napier’s CBD, two women have created a space where people can use guided journaling to breathe, connect and restore their wellbeing. 

Awhi was born out of lockdown and established in May last year by Holley Grant and Sam Northcott, who are both avid journalers. 

Awhi owners Sam Northcott and Holley Grant. Photo/Supplied.

“After the idea of a journaling community was planted in the first lockdown, we dreamed of a safe, non-judgmental space where people could write out their thoughts and feelings, connected through guidance but autonomous through self-led words,” they said.

Awhi, which means to embrace, cherish, surround and nurture, uses mindfulness to support mental well-being under the values of curiosity, kindness and exploration. 

It’s an hour-long dive into breathing, giving permission to ourselves to sit in thought and feeling, to put pen to paper and just ‘be’ for a moment. 

Awhi is a journaling community where you tune into mindfulness and show yourself compassion. They are a space that comes together under the values of curiosity, kindness and exploration while working to support mental well-being. It’s an hour-long dive into breath, giving permission to ourselves to sit in thought and feeling, to put pen to paper and just ‘be’ for a moment. 

“Experiencing its benefits of not only easing stress and anxiety but bringing to life feelings of agency and gratitude, was something we had access to in our fields. Providing an accessible space to share this grounding practice with more is still to this day number one in our mahi, inspiring how we show up in Awhi.”

Mindfulness journaling gives people the opportunity to wind down from their day, have time for themselves and reap all of the other benefits. Holley and Sam are passionate about creating safe, accessible spaces for people to practice intentional self-care. This could look like journaling, listening, resting, learning, or simply sitting with the self in observation. 

“Holding space for people to experience a nourishing environment at some point in their week, to meet their wants and needs, is a feeling us as facilitators will forever say is unmatched.” They said.

Their favourite part of running a business is being able to meet and connect with a vast array of warm, curious, courageous people and building a community through it. 

“Running a business in Hawkes Bay is a privilege. You have an opportunity to provide people with an accessible space and service that will benefit them. Knowing that brings excitement that energises all our behind the scenes work.

However, they are not naive to the difficulties small businesses can face. 

“Along with that comes difficulties which other business owners often share, of making it through the winter woollies and moments of life lulls. Flowing with the realities of both with that privilege of being able to provide a space at the forefront, means running a business has to come from a place bigger than just us. When it comes from a place bigger than us it is always an honour.”

In little over a year, they have created a niche community, organically grown through positive word of mouth recommendations and a savvy social media presence. 

Their weekly studio classes are now  a splendid melting pot of familiar and fresh faces, with people tuning in from across the country. 

As accessibility is a key cornerstone of the business, moving online and ensuring everyone, nationally and internationally, can access their mahi is the next business goal. 

They are also dipping their toes in the world of workshops, collaborations, workplace appearances and even travelling yoga festivals - so watch this space!