Healthy celebrations organised around the world for Global Wellness Day

by Jane Kitchen | 09 May 2019

Saturday, 8 June 2019 will mark the eighth annual Global Wellness Day (GWD), and thousands of locations across the world – including hotel/spa chains, fitness centres, yoga studios, associations, foundations, hospitals, schools and senior living centres, along with governments, businesses and celebrities – will be celebrating GWD with free, non-commercial, health and wellness activities for the public.

With the motto “One day, can change your whole life!” the theme for Global Wellness Day 2019 is community and kids’ wellness, with the goal to increase good deeds and decrease worldwide depression.

GWD founder Belgin Aksoy’s dream of celebrating a day dedicated to wellness has inspired an international network of over 87 GWD Ambassadors, 25 Key Supporters and four Advisors to organise complimentary wellness events around the globe. New countries taking part in the event this year include the Cayman Islands, China, Peru, Kenya, Zimbabwe and the Dominican Republic.

“We go to school from the age of two, hoping that the education system is going to help prepare us for our future,” said Aksoy, “but nobody is teaching us how to live, how to breathe, how to be mindful and how to love ourselves, as these are things that are essential to be a happy adult in the future.

“In an era where global consumer culture is mostly damaging the concept of childhood and kids are ending up unhappy and unsatisfied,” Aksoy continued, “we want to encourage children to integrate wellness practices into their lives on a daily basis and to carry on those practices throughout their lives.”

Celebrations planned for GWD range from entire cities joining together with family-friendly wellness events, to hotels and community centres offering complimentary activities from hiking to ethno dance ceremonies, to Tai Chi to digital detox seminars.

Some sample GWD activities are listed below:

Kenya – This year will be the first time GWD is officially celebrated in Kenya. The event will act as a wellness information hub where all participants will have access to wellness experts. GWD Kenya has partnered with The Wellness Project Africa to run free wellness checks throughout the event for all participants. Two panel discussions on “Physical Health & Inner Health” will be held as well as yoga and zumba classes.

Brazil – This year the GWD team’s goal is to draw attention to the GWD 7 Step Manifest with a number of activities such as mindful walking, water marathon, awareness seminars on recycling, experimental cooking classes with a well-known nutritionist, digital detox lectures with psychologists, and a workshop on better sleep techniques.

United Kingdom – GWD will be hosting community wide-outdoor yoga events in Norfolk, Devon and Cornwall. Creating awareness on the importance of mindfulness, “Celebrity Guided Meditation” recordings with UK celebrities such as actor Danny John-Jule, singer and presenter Rachel Stevens, actress Tamsin Greig and radio presenter Gideon Coe will be made available on 8 June with free access. The students of the University of Derby, will be celebrating with walking, Tai Chi and yoga activities on campus.

Hungary – GWD celebration activities will take place in 12 cities and 30 locations, focusing on wellness lifestyle, healthy dining and healing water in 2019. The main event will take place in Budapest City Park, with an aim to set the Guinness World Record with a huge event featuring activities such as senior citizen fitness training, aerobics and yoga classes supported by IWI – International Wellness Institute, and an all-day event including seminars on “wellness movement”, benefits of thermal Budapest Baths, fitness trends, aromatherapy, active ingredients in beauty and children’s nutrition. Other locations and brands celebrating GWD in Hungary will be Four Seasons Hotel Budapest, Aria Hotel Budapest, InterContinental Hotel Budapest, Kempinski Spa Budapest, Gellert Bath Budapest, Mandala day Spa Budapest and Mandala Spiritual Bath Budapest, among many others.

Mexico – There will be four large GWD celebrations in Mexico this year in San Miguel de Allende, San Luis Potosi, Tecate - home of Rancho La Puerta – and Patzcuaro. This year’s celebration in Tecate will be in the historic public park of Tecate “Parque Migule Hidalgo”, which is in the heart of the city. A 5K public GWD race, healthy cooking workshops, zumba, yoga, as well as a fun variety of games and activities for children, dances, arts & crafts workshops showcasing the Mexican culture will be the focal point of the celebration. In San Luis Potosi, an all-day event featuring Fit Camp, mindfulness seminar, meditation and yoga will take place.

Cayman Islands – This year will be the first time GWD is celebrated in the Cayman Islands. The event will start with a community wide beach clean drive and then continue with activities such as pilates, balance and breathing exercises and mental wellness awareness seminar. Other hotel brands such as Kimpton SeaFire Resort & Spa, Ritz Carlton Grand Cayman, Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort and The Westin Grand Cayman Beach Resort & Spa will be supporting and celebrating Global Wellness Day to help spread this new message and notion throughout the island.

Serbia – GWD’s main event will be held at Sijarina Spa in Medvedja. The Medvedja municipality will organise activities for all ages including fitness sessions, nutrition advice, visit to elderly people’s homes in distant areas and workshops on the negative effect of technology (Digital Detox). Indoor and outdoor activities will also be held featuring basketball, ethno dance, gymnastics, hiking tours and ritual of drinking “Sijerina spa water” from the spring.

Netherlands – A series of events for kids and the community in general is being planned including: visits to elderly care facilities, 5K walking activity with kids in primary schools, outdoor massages, “wellness for everyone” activities in hotel spas and seminars on workplace wellness with the GWD 7 Step Manifest in 7 days.

Costa Rica – Having the support of San José Municipality and Curridaba Municipality along with many other associations and foundations; seminars on nutrition, mental health, clean environment, Ayurveda lifestyle and wellness in the city of San Ramon will be organised. Activities such as forest therapy, yoga, breathing exercises, aromatherapy, walks along the beach, beach cleaning, bike rides with children, planting trees and mindfulness will take place throughout Costa Rica to raise awareness and bring the communities together.

Vietnam – Activities such as dance, pilates and yoga are planned to take place on rooftops, parks and the beach. During a seminar on healthy choices a “Smart Choices Challenge” will take place, while wellness workshops focusing on better sleeping techniques, mindful management, herbal remedies, and weight balancing, relaxation and stress management will be organised. Many other activities on June 8th will take place at Pullman Vung Tau, Caravelle Saigon, Alba Wellness Valley and InterContinental Da Nang.

China – GWD will be organising their first event in China, incorporating the Chinese culture and traditional healing rituals. Various activities such as a Tea Ceremony Kids Club, where kids will learn to unwind and relax, seminars on healthy diets and Chinese herbal medicine, traditional Chinese brush handwriting workshops to help calm the mind, a Kids Choir to bring the community together, football games, Chinese square dancing and yoga classes will be organised.

Turkey – This year the event will take place outside of Istanbul and in the Aegean coast of Turkey at Kusadasi, Love Beach. A celebration at the beach featuring yoga, pilates, zumba, crossfit, kids’ fitness and all day fun activities such as kite making workshops will be on the forefront. GWD will also team up with local elementary schools to organise a “Kids’ Wellness Art Exhibition” on 8 June. The three days leading up to GWD, a 50K marathon will be organised where different celebrities, athletes and Paralympic runners will participate. At the same time, smaller GWD celebrations will be organised in various cities with the support of brands such as Park Hyatt, Radisson Blu Tuzla, Hilton Istanbul, Swissotel The Bosphorus, Mandarin Oriental, Four Seasons, Ciragan Palace Kempinski, Richmond Hotels, St. Regis and many more.

Azerbaijan – This year the GWD team has planned a celebration focusing on community and family wellness with activities such as 5K Family Marathon, spinning classes, morning meditation, zumba as well as healthy nutrition, slow food, ketogenic diet and detox workshops along with fitness and dance classes for kids. In Baku, Bilgah Beach Hotel & Resort and in Gusar, Shahdag Mountain Resort along with other five hotels will be also celebrating Global Wellness Day.

Canada – This year various events will be organised throughout Canada. JW Marriott Parq Vancouver and Eminences Organic Skin Care will host a rooftop workout session with Nike Master Trainer and fitness influencer Betina Gozo. Four Seasons Hotel Vancouver and other partners such as Lululemon, New Balance, SoulCycle, Eastwood Cycle Sanctuary and many more will be inviting guests and the community to connect with their mind, body and soul during the week leading up to Global Wellness Day, with “A Week of Wellness” activities. Ronald McDonald House, British Columbia will be receiving a selection of organic produce for pediatric patients and their families. Noel Asmar Group will organise breathing classes for employees, while Cocoon Spa will be celebrating GWD with breathing classes. Four Seasons Hotel Toronto will offer guests and the community an on-site Farmer’s Market and a series of other activities such as yoga, fitness sessions and healthy lunches.

Dominican Republic – This year GWD will take place at Los Establos with complimentary activities such as a 5K community race starting from Eden Roc, painting corner for kids, “Adopt a Tree” event for families, meditation, yoga, stretching and mindfulness classes, fitness trainings, dancing, nutrition and beauty workshops as well as a community wide football tournament.

Slovenia – This year GWD Slovenia will emphasise wellness and a healthy lifestyle and has partnered with the Higher Vocational College for Cosmetics and Wellness Ljubljana, College for Hospitality and Tourism Maribor, and Histria Botanica. Participants will have the opportunity to enjoy healthy food, exercise in nature, join in essential oil making workshops and also try various massage treatments.

France – A series of events across France includes the “Born to Ride” race from Bréhat to San Sebastian, yoga classes for the public, and a range of wellness activities in all Thalassa properties, Accor Headquarters and all Luxe brands will also be offered. Conquer Your Day will organise a boot camp in Paris and seminars on healthy habits and beauty treatments with the support of Biologique Recherche. The cities of Belfort and Enghien Les Bains will again be supporting Global Wellness Day.

Israel – GWD will hold an event on a rooftop in Tel-Aviv overlooking the Mediterranean sunset featuring a massage corner, healthy treats and natural popsicles. Special guest speakers Dan and Lonah Chemati Salpeter, who are the top Israeli track and field Olympic Athletes, will speak about fitness, health and overall wellness. Additionally four startup companies will be presenting their wellness technology.

Switzerland – GWD will be organising activities in various locations with activities such as an herbal hike through nature, nutrition lecture “bitter sweet”, complimentary blood sugar readings, family-friendly activities along with family fitness drumming, Hatha Yoga and meditation. Grand Resort Bad Ragaz, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace, Hotel Bellevue, Kulm Hotel St. Moritz, Grand Hotel Kronenhof Pontresina, Four Seasons Geneva, Glion Institute of Higher Education, Les Roches Global Hospitality Education as well as The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria will be among the brands and associations supporting and promoting Global Wellness Day in 2019.

Zimbabwe – In their second year, GWD Zimbabwe will be focusing on a holistic full-day wellness retreat for the whole family. Activities such as zumba, yoga, and outdoor spa, massage treatments in nature, along with mental wellness and meditation seminars will take place. Healthy cooking classes and a healthy food market will also be available to educate both adults and kids. For children, specially prepared children’s yoga, drumming and dance sessions, “wellness” treasure hunt and breathing exercises will be available. Believing “wellness is for all” GWD Zimbabwe will be organizing an outreach session to elderly people’s homes to entertain them with music and dance, to pamper them with mobile spa treatments and to help them relax with breathing and meditation sessions.

Germany – Along with many other locations, GWD will be organising a nature hike through the Bavarian Alps, while the partnering hotel brand Sofitel will be doing a charity drive.

Thailand – GWD is once again organising a Medical Mission with Chiva-Som to the village between Thailand and Myanmar board to support the disadvantaged community with efforts to educate, develop and encourage local sustainability. GWD’s mission will be to provide medical aid, education, support and micro-business opportunities to people living in remote locations and to endeavor to create a positive impact on their lives, providing them with the necessary skills, knowledge and materials to become self-sustainable. A Pre GWD Event “1000K for Wellness” where hotel guests are invited to log all kilometers they run, cycle or row within the Anantara properties. The main GWD celebration will be taking place at Sattahip Beach, Chonburi with yoga, swimming, paddling activities, and health checks and kids art exhibition.

Japan – This year’s theme is “enjoy”, with three areas of focus: Food Shokuiku, Workplace Wellness and Cultural & Historical Aspects. Hilton Tokyo Bay will offer a Wellness Menu featuring healthier dishes at the employees’ cafeteria and also a Power Nap Space. A Kids Karate event will take place at Okinawa Karate Kaikan. Marriot Hotel Osaka, Hilton Hotel Tokyo Bay, Spa Joule at Hyatt Regency, Biologique Recherche, Lululemon Athletica, Shangri-La Tokyo, Mandarin Oriental Tokyo, sportswear brand – Asics, along with associations such as Nihon Aesthetic Kyokai, Japan Nutrition Foundation, CIDESCO Nippon, and American Chamber of Commerce in Okinawa will be supporting GWD throughout Japan.

Spain – In 2019, GWD will be celebrated in 30 to 50 locations in northern, southern regions as well as Canary and Balearic Islands. Their strategy this year is to try to include the largest number of celebrations throughout the entire geography of Spain, including governments, public and private schools, spas and wellness centres.

Russia – This year the main site for GWD festivities will be in Moscow at the First Educational Complex – college for beauty therapists. Focusing on wellness for the younger generations, students and teachers will be conducting gymnastic sessions, master classes of massage and lectures on wellness lifestyle for the public. Other activities in various towns and cities such as Solnechnogorsk, St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Sochi, Ekaterinburg and Tiumen will take place with the support of local authorities and municipalities, one of the biggest health and wellness resorts “Kliuchi”, Technical College of Service, Regional Medical College, Ural School of Massage Technologies, Western Siberian Center of Massage Technologies and many more.

Ethiopia – GWD, with the support of Tilla Health Club will be organizing a 20K group cycling activity starting from downtown Addis Ababa, a yoga session, HIIT classes - involving short bursts or intense exercise and a healthy brunch for the participants focusing on the importance of nutrition. In spite of a challenging political situation, GWD Ethiopia is inviting more organisations to get involved and working hard to arrange educational events for low income communities.

Maldives – One and Only Reeth Rah Maldives is planning a colourful celebration event in 2019 with warm-ups, followed by karate class, circuit training, paddle board activities and a fun football game with all participants. Other resorts that support GWD include: Joali, Lux Resorts and Hotels, Jiva Grande at Taj Exotica Resort & Spa, Maldives, Jiva Spa at Vivanta by Taj – Coral Reef, Maldives, Six Senses Spa Laamu, Six Senses Spa Kunfunadoo, Anantara Kihavah Villas Maldives, Mandara Spa, Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Landaa Giraavaru.

South Africa – Rated the unhealthiest and most stressed country in the world, South Africa GWD team is working towards changing these statistics. This year GWD will be focusing on community and with the help of sponsors, will be collecting clothes, food, toys and much more for those in need. The team will be attending schools to speak about wellness, mindfulness, nutrition and good deeds and also visiting elderly people’s homes to pamper them with special massages. Global Wellness Day will be celebrated across South Africa with the support of spa groups such as Camelot, Gingko, Amani, Guvon, Spa & Wellness Association South Africa, Isa Castens Academy, The Westin Cape Town, the Taj Hotel Cape Town, Fancourt Hotel and Spa in George along with many others. Maureen Grosvernor from APPSolve will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in August and taking the GWD logo to the summit.

Romania - Romania will organise several wellness activities in spa & wellness centres, consisting of: Introduction to meditation, breathing exercises, walks in nature, stretching, dance, zumba, mini-spa treatments, healthy nutrition and healthy sleep workshops.

Montenegro – This year in Budva and Herceg Novi the GWD celebrations will start with yoga classes, SUP Fitness and continue with seminars on health food, importance of blood sugar, beauty, hair & make-up sessions. A Run 4 Fun marathon in Budva will be organised along with a children’s programme.

USA - GWD celebrations are organised throughout the US under the leadership of 18 GWD Ambassadors.

Montana – A true community event, for the fourth year in a row The Wave Aquatic & Fitness Center in Whitefish Montana will host a full day of events on GWD starting with a yoga flow class and pilates. The day continues with: open swim time for children and families, arts and crafts with a “wellness for all” and “a well world” theme and group exercise such as cycling.


La Jolla - This year’s theme will be “Enjoya La Jolla” and it will shine the light on health, wellness, beauty, fitness, nutrition and living the best life possible. One again the GWD team will partner up with the La Jolla Village Merchants Association and have the entire village celebrate Global Wellness Day from over 30 merchants in a .3 mile radius – from athleisure wear to fitness clubs; from juice bars to Sky Yoga studios.

Four Seasons Hotel, Los Angeles at Beverly Hills will be participating in Global Wellness Day with a day filled with fitness, spa, healthy food and beverage, and sustainable fashion initiatives led by top wellness experts and brands. Highlighting the hotel’s increased wellness initiatives including the dedicated Wellness Rooms and Suites in partnership with Delos, new plant-based Folia Menu by Matthew Kenney and Solluna Juice Bar by Wellness and Lifestyle Expert Kimberly Snyder. Artistic Director Jeff Leatham will then lead a floral session for attendees as the perfect way to celebrate nature’s beauty. To conclude the day, intuitive healer Deganit Nuur will lead a guided meditation to help attendees solidify the lasting impression of wellness from the day.

Chicago - Hyatt Corporation will be celebrating Global Wellness Day with their 70+ properties and corporate office locations around the world.

Florida - Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation will offer various wellness-based activities and celebrations at their resorts and corporate office locations around the world.

Ohio – The Cleveland Museum of Art will hold an event called “Parade the Circle.” There will be live music throughout the all-day event and GWD will conduct two 20 minute breaks between the music featuring a family Tai Chi class and family Line Dancing activity. During the “Parade the Circle” event the GWD booth will also have 2 jump rope teams coming to demonstrate jump roping moves and to engage the attendees in a challenge to jump for 30 seconds and also offering a “Make Your Own Jump Rope” activity for families. Another activity taking place will be “Healing Arts” which will be staffed by medical professionals who will answer health and wellness questions for the participants.

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FEATURE: People profiles – Belgin Aksoy

Saturday, 8 June 2019 will mark the eighth annual Global Wellness Day (GWD), and thousands of locations across the world – including hotel/spa chains, fitness centres, yoga studios, associations, foundations, hospitals, schools and senior living centres, along with governments, businesses and celebrities – will be celebrating GWD with free, non-commercial, health and wellness activities for the public. With the motto “One day, can change your whole life!” the theme for
The theme for Global Wellness Day 2019 is community and kids’ wellness, with the goal to increase good deeds and decrease worldwide depression
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