Game Changers: Carolyn and Stephanie of Hoame Meditation Studio in Toronto
On separate occasions we were both wandering along Adelaide St. in Toronto and couldn’t help but notice this beautiful zen looking space set amidst office buildings and busy downtown restaurants and shops. We learned that it was Hoame, a “modern meditation studio” complete with a salt cave, infrared sauna and charcoal lemonade (on tap!). We wanted to learn more about this urban oasis and how it came to be, so got in touch with the founders (who also happen to be psychotherapists) Carolyn Platter and Stephanie Kersta to get the lo-down.
WHAT IS HOAME AND WHY IT STARTED?
Hoame was really started as we are both Registered Psychotherapists and have been working in mental health for over a decade. After having worked in the system for years, dealing with the reactionary nature of mental health, and seeing people after they have fallen apart, and putting the pieces back together, we got excited about the idea of moving to prevention. How can we create a lifestyle shift, to promote overall health of mind and body? Clinically we have known the multitude of proven benefits of mindfulness and meditation for years, however dedicated studios are sparse, so we decided to create something in a big, exciting and accessible way.
STUDIOS LIKE YOURS WITH A FOCUS ON MEDITATION, SALT CAVES, SAUNAS, ETC. ALMOST SEEM TO BE THE “NEW SPAS”, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS TREND?
While we love that meditation is “trendy”, it is in fact an ancient practice with significant clinical evidence to support its benefits. Our current urban lifestyle for many is fast paced, fully work centric, and subsequently highly stressful, many are realizing that this way of living is simply unsustainable. People are beginning to realize that there is more to this lifestyle, and we don’t have to feel so on edge. Subsequently, people are overall more health and wellness conscious, and this movement is causing us to look inward to identify what we truly need, and looking to ancient practice for some proven benefits to facilitate that. In terms of the comparison with “spas”, it is definitely a good thing as it is somewhere people go to relax, but we believe that the practice of meditation, and health benefits of sauna and salt go beyond that, as we know that these are additive treatments, the more you do, the more benefits you obtain. Lastly, the one main difference, is that at Hoame, we’ve built a community, there are benefits to human connection, and our space offers the opportunity to connect with other like minded individuals, which is rare in this city, and something you don’t find at a spa.
HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THIS MOVEMENT?
Professionally , we have worked in clinical roles in a variety of hospital, academic and community settings. Ever the researchers – we are always on the lookout for what therapies and practices are available to help our clients. This led us both to the practice of meditation and mindfulness. We obtained our own training in this field – but also began our own meditation journey personally. This practice excited us, and we wanted to take it out of the clinic, and in to the city.
WHO HAS BEEN THE MAIN CLIENTELE SO FAR?
Everyone! This is what we really love about Hoame, that in any given class, you can have a student, professional athlete, creative, corporate CEO, and first responder. The practice of meditation appeals to all!
HOW IS HOAME CHANGING THE GAME?
In so many ways! It is rare to see a studio created by clinicians who approach the space from an evidence-based perspective. Every square foot of our space was created with a scientific backing, our signature scent and tea were blended to be stress reducing, and we consulted with a pharmacist, the studio spaces were designed with our clinical viewpoint to make them as stress reducing, inspiring, and most importantly, safe as possible. Our instructors are passionate about meditation, but also highly credentialed in their craft. We are also constantly creating and curating new offerings that are not only backed by science, but engaging and exciting.