The paths we walk in life can be as numerous as they can be unexpected, and the thresholds we cross to embark on new journeys often seem nothing short of magical.
This was certainly the case for one of our longest-running customers, Angela Leslee. Growing up in England and later moving to New York and working as a CAD mechanical designer, Angela had never even had a massage herself in her life– yet today, she is the proud founder and instructor at the distinguished Aloha Massage Academy in Kainaliu, just south of Kailua-Kona, Hawaii.
When Angela moved to Hawaii in 1996, she had no idea what she would do to make a living there. An answer came to her in pure happenstance: While taking her daughter to the beach one day, she spotted a massage school across the street and thought about getting a student massage.
“As I crossed under an ancient banyan tree, I felt a bolt of energy in my body,” Angela remembers, “and a little voice in my head said, ‘this is why you came to Hawaii.’” Instead of getting her first massage, Angela immediately entered the Hawaiian Islands School of Massage as a student of their 15-month program.
Angela finished the program, and after five years in private practice she was invited to return to the Hawaiian Islands School of Massage as a teacher. In addition to her tenure at HIS, she also founded and co-founded three additional massage programs for Japanese students.
During her time at HIS, Angela was invited to teach the Lomilomi massage workshop. An ancient Hawaiian art and
science, Lomilomi is a multi-faceted approach to health and wellness that incorporates Ho’oponopono, a practice of making things right with yourself and others that, among other things, incorporates bodily and spiritual health. Angela was aware that as a guest on this island, and still a student of this tradition herself, she needed a mentor who could help her navigate the practice. She became a student of Maka’ala Yates, a Hawaiian elder who studied under the preeminent Lomilomi master, Aunty Margaret. To this day, they remain good friends.
During this process, she crossed another threshold. Feeling it was time to leave HIS, she meditated on where her next path would take her. Again, the answer struck her like magic: she would start her own massage school. “I opened my eyes and laughed,” Angela recalls, “but the little voice was insistent.”
Two months later, Aloha Massage Academy was born. Her open teaching style is renowned amongst her students. From massage theory and practice, anatomy and advanced courses, to Lomilomi, Angela is driven to help people, and women in particular, come into their true power based in love, compassion, nurturing, and inclusion. “And by teaching them a skill that they can make a good living at, “Angela adds, “it also gives them the freedom of more choices in their lives.”
Angela applies the same nurturing quality to her personal life and other aspects of her health. “I eat almost exclusively organic food,” she says, “because I have long felt that it is one of the ways we can have some control over our health.” This was part of how Angela came to find us at Ja Nene Natural Body Products.
“I was looking for an oil to carry at my school for my students,” Angela says. “I wanted a quality, but still economical product. When I heard about Janene’s passion for sourcing the best ingredients for her products, it was a perfect match.” The primary product of ours Angela carries at her academy is, naturally, the Lomi massage oil.
As a student of anatomy, Angela recognizes the importance of watching what substances we put on our skin. The skin is the largest organ of our body and it absorbs certain chemicals and elements, so quality skin products are critical to Angela’s practice and personal wellbeing. She even tells her students that she’d never put anything on her skin that she wouldn’t consider eating.
“In fact, I tell them, in a pinch, when I’ve forgotten my salad dressing for my lunch, I’ve used Janene’s oil for dressing – True story!”
I appreciate how particular Angela is about every aspect of her business, because I am equally particular when it comes to the people with whom I do business. I love to work with Angela because she not only teaches the best massage students I’ve ever seen, but she also genuinely cares about the humanity of her practice. People who are lucky enough to learn the art of massage at the Aloha Massage Academy don’t simply learn anatomy and physical applications - they learn how to help their clients be put to rights in terms of both their health and personal wellbeing. Ho’oponopono may be an integral part of the very Lomilomi technique she teaches and studies, but the practice truly makes me think of Angela herself, the way she teaches and lives.
When you go to her academy, it exudes a gentle, grounded, and inclusive atmosphere where anyone can feel at home and at ease. The same can be said about the way she teaches her students and lives her life, always in the purest terms of love, laughter, and wholeness to resolve conflicts of the body and spirit. Angela doesn’t just churn out businesspersons who work for the bottom dollar. Like Angela herself, her students become massage therapists driven by human connection. I return to Kona as often as I can, and having had massages at every massage school in the area, I can say that nobody prepares better massage therapists than Angela.
Ten years after first experimenting with massage oil blends with Angela, I still enjoy doing business with her. Fortunately for me, the feeling seems to be mutual. “Janene’s products are consistently high quality,” Angela says. The only problem she’s ever had is that she can’t keep enough inventory on the shelves to meet demand! We look forward to many more years of providing perfect blends for Angela and her students.
For more information about Aloha Massage Academy, call 808.937.6019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can visit their website here: Aloha Massage Academy