Innovation

Wayapa

Posted 18 May 16

Wayapa is an innovative Aboriginal Wellness & Earth Connection Practice that is based on ancient Aboriginal knowledge and concepts that have been developed for a modern-day context.

Kalinya staff practise Wayapa as a way to stay connected and calm during the high-pressure times.

Wayapa focuses on healing the Earth as the starting point for healing ourselves. Created by Jamie Thomas, the practice of Wayapa combines earth mindfulness and narrative meditation and movement in a series of 14 elements that teach the importance of connecting into the earth and nature for holistic wellness.  Wayapa is the only known Aboriginal Wellness Practice that has been certified globally as a modality by the International Institute for Complementary Therapists.

We talked to Co-Founder Sara Jones about this innovative practise and business model.

Who do you teach Wayapa to?
Anyone. We have taught Wayapa to 4-year-old kids at child care centres and kindergartens to 80-year-old Elders. We teach Wayapa to Indigenous people to help them re-connect when not on Country or who are needing a practical and holistic tool to help them deal with intergenerational trauma. We share Wayapa with corporate or community organisations or government departments who want to help their staff with stress management as well as for them to learn about Aboriginal culture in a new, innovative way.  Wayapa is really for anyone who is feeling disconnected and overwhelmed with the busy-ness of life, those who want to slow down and be connected to the healing energy of nature.

How did the business idea come about? 
Jamie always wanted to create a foundation that provides Indigenous kids with the opportunity to learn and share in Traditional Aboriginal Cultural Mentoring Programs so they have the choice to continue to practice culture. Knowing that this would require funding, he approached me to help with the business side of things and together we established the social enterprise Wayapa Wuurrk in 2014.

The plan is to set up Wayapa Wuurrk, which translates to “Connect Country” in the languages of the Peak Whuurrung and Gunnai Peoples, as the for-profit business delivering Wayapa Workshops & Digital Courses, which will eventually sustain the Wayapa Wuurrk Aboriginal Wellness Foundation financially. The Wellness Foundation will provide not-for-profit traditional cultural programs for Indigenous people.

Who has been your youngest Wayapa participant?
We have shared Wayapa at childcare centres where the kids are only two or three-years-old. Because it’s a narrative practice, it’s easy for kids to engage in it. But our most memorable experience was when a four-year-old was following the movements and during the Sun Element, she looked up at Jamie, straight in the eye, and said, “I am the Sun”. She got it, she understood the connection. Most kids do.

Who has been your most Senior Wayapa participant?
We did Wayapa with a group of Elders, the oldest was 80-years-old. They loved it, a few cried as they were part of the Stolen Generation and Wayapa gave them a feeling of re-connection to Country that they had been yearning for their whole lives. It was a very emotional workshop.

How has practicing Wayapa affected your life? 
Wayapa has had a profound impact on my life – not only from a business perspective to make the Foundation dream a reality but also on a personal level. It’s helped me become the best version of myself. Wayapa reminds me on a daily basis how mutually important our connection is to Mother Earth, she is a great teacher.