Brigitte Knill

Brigitte Knill

There’s no denying that technology has changed the world we live in; from tracking health and fitness stats with smartwatches, to following online blogs and searching the internet for workouts.

The internet has made the world accessible. While this brings many amazing and fresh opportunities, it also brings the challenge of finding reputable, authentic advice.

So it makes perfect sense that three New Zealand women have been inspired to build Wellness Works – an online business striving to make yoga more accessible, as well as providing inspiration for everything from meditation and nutrition to all things health and wellbeing-related.

Girl power times three
The trio brings a wealth of expertise and diversity to the table; from a business background (Brigitte Knill) and social media smarts (Makaia Carr) to yoga and psychology (Denise Ferguson), and so much more.

While each brings their own unique skillset to Wellness Works, they spark energy and ideas off each other and share a common goal of helping more people enjoy yoga, meditation and a positive, healthy lifestyle.

Get your yoga on
Bringing the yoga classes to life is instructor Denise Ferguson (widely referred to as a yoga rockstar). She can barely remember a time that she wasn’t passionate about sharing the benefits of yoga with as many people as possible.
Yoga has been an integral part of her life for more than more than a decade. After discovering yoga while living in Aspen, Colorado, Denise realised that she had found a new passion.

“I’d left New Zealand to travel overseas and was determined not to return until I’d discovered what I wanted to do with my life. I never expected that to revolve around yoga, but as soon as I tried yoga, I knew I’d found something I wanted to devote more time to.”

In fact her initial response was so strong that she likens it to falling in love.

“I remember walking home after my first class thinking, ‘I’ve never felt this good before.’ It was a yoga high.”

At the time (mid-2000 s) yoga was relatively unknown in New Zealand, although it was hugely popular overseas. Denise set about changing that and returning to New Zealand, invested every penny of her hard earned dollars and every ounce of energy into opening the Yoga Sanctuary in Mairangi Bay, Auckland.

Over the years, as she chatted with the community of people coming and going from class, she observed that many couldn’t make it to class as much as they’d have liked. So the idea of sharing her passion for yoga online was an immediate big tick for her.

Makaia Carr

Makaia Carr

Shared goals
Business woman and mum of three Brigitte first met Denise when attending a yoga retreat in Waikato, at Mana Retreat Centre, run by Denise. The pair shared many discussions about how to help make yoga classes more widely available.

“When life is so busy, getting to a yoga class can mean two or even three hours out of your day, by the time you drive there, do the class, shower afterwards and get back to work or whatever other demands are on you,” says Brigitte.

“So for me particularly, I loved the idea of being able to access quality yoga classes when and where suited me.”

Wellness Works is the collaboration between Denise and Brigitte, along with Makaia Carr, who founded online business success Motivate Me NZ – a members only community created for women looking for positive support during their journey of living a healthier lifestyle.

The three share a passion for creating a supportive environment for people to reach their own health and wellbeing goals.

By each sharing their real selves in the business, they also bring strength and authenticity through sharing their peronsal weaknesses and challenges.

Maintaining balance between owning and running a business, staying healthy and having free time has always been important to Denise.

“I stay healthy by practising yoga, meditation, gym workouts, running and playing tennis (very bad tennis).

“I am definitely well and truly NOT a saint and I find being real and honest about my own challenges helps me to connect to the people who do my classes on a more personal level. It also gives them permission to open up, express themselves, and realise that we can learn from and grow from those parts of us we want to change.”

Denise Ferguson

Denise Ferguson

Creating balance
Yoga is the mainstay of Wellness Works and Denise has created online yoga workouts ranging from a short 15 minute sequence (no excuses now for not incorporating yoga into your life!) through to a full 50 minute class.

“The idea is to help ensure people can do yoga when and wherever suits them. I get up in the morning before the mayhem of three kids begins and just take 15 minutes to myself to do this yoga workout – and it makes a world of difference to my outlook, my attitude and my day,” says Brigitte.

For those new to the world of yoga, there’s plenty of help along the way – and the beauty of it is that there’s no social pressure. You can do your workout at your own pace, working to your own ability, in the environment of your own home.

Wellness Works offers Vinyasa, Yin and Restorative Yoga, along with guided meditation for days you don’t feel so energetic.

“The whole idea is that this is yoga and meditation you can practis e anywhere, whether you’re at home, travelling for work, etc.

“ Yoga, meditation and healthy lifestyle are vital ingredients for maintaining a balanced and stress free life.”

Membership to Wellness Works is $25 per month for access to all classes. One day wellness retreats are also available – offering yoga, meditation, wellness, nutrition, mindfulness, and tools for managing stressful lives.

We have worked with companies like Air NZ cabin crew to help maintain balance in their busy schedules, as well as offering a five week take home programme to ensure the suggestions resonate,” says Denise.

Other online programmes include Two Weeks to Better Sleep and a Five Week Beginner Programme.

Denise offers personal support to Wellness Works members through a closed facebook forum. This also allows group members to support each other and create an online community.

Denise sums up the motivation behind the business beautifully – “Balance is not something you find, it is something you create.”

“We want to give a helping hand and the right tools to people looking to create their own balance, as well as the motivation and support they need.”

For more information, visit wellnessworks.co.nz