If you’re at all into yoga or meditation, you’ve likely heard about Hoame (430 Adelaide St.) This new wellness hub in the fashion district just opened in late September, but it’s already getting noticed for how ridiculously relaxing it looks (peep their insta!) It also made it’s way onto our October must-list, so WE were swiftly won over!
With a curated offering of meditation and movement classes in ‘breathtakingly immersive light & dark themed studios’(!) a pink Himalayan salt cave, infrared sauna, and workshops on latest health trends, Hoame is working to make mindfulness in the city both accessible and luxurious. Whether you’re looking for a spot to treat yourself and a pal to a hang sesh in a pink salt cave, or just get grounded after work, this is definitely the spot to check out before winter gloom hits. Whatchu waiting for? Leave your dusty meditation mat in the closet and treat yourself to an upscale mindfulness experience at Hoame.
We spoke with founders Carolyn Plater and Stephanie Kersta about what to expect from a visit.
Edit Seven: First of all, your studio is beautiful and you’re killing it on Instagram! What I think people notice right away about Hoame is the beautiful space and the different themed rooms/experiences you offer. What’s the concept behind each room at Hoame?
Carolyn Plater: Thank you so much for your kind words! We are thrilled that people are loving the space. We definitely took time to thoughtfully curate each room in order to provide a truly unique and meditative experience for our guests. It was also important for us to infuse the space with our clinical expertise but to seamlessly blend it with a beautiful design esthetic.
Starting with our “living room” (yes, this is actually what we call our reception space), we really wanted to evoke a feeling of being at home within our space. As mental health clinicians we understand and know the powerful impact that human connectedness can have on one’s overall wellbeing. We created this space to really encourage and foster community. From the suspended chairs to our large seating area and fireplace to our complimentary beverage station, we really wanted to build a destination space where people want to spend time with us and each other.
Our washroom areas include 5 gender-neutral water closets, so if people do need to change they are able to do so in there. It was really important for us to create a space where every person feels welcome, accepted and safe. We also provide lockers and encourage people to unplug and leave their belongings safely locked away so they can be fully present in their classes.
Our light studio room is complete with white curved walls, sunken ceiling with hanging vines and with changeable lighting that stimulates the sky as well as a preserved moss living wall. This room was all about bringing some of the outside in. Greenery and nature has been shown clinically to reduce stress and improve mood – so this room was all about recreating nature in the middle of the concrete jungle. The classes in this studio are also themed to be a little more energizing and awakening.
Our dark studio is complete with dark curved walls, a fibre optic twinkling night sky as well as two changeable lighting strips across the centre and bottom of the walls. In Toronto we sadly cannot often see the night stars due to light pollution, but you can see them in our dark studio! As mental health clinicians we are also very aware that closing one’s eyes during a practice might not always be safe or accessible for all (especially for people with trauma backgrounds). It was therefore very important for us to create spaces with beautiful ceilings so even if your eyes are open you are not pulled out of your meditation. This darkly lit room allow for classes that are very calming, grounding and deeply restorative.
We also really loved the duality of light and dark – and wanted to give people two distinctly unique experiences with the light and dark studios. Building on the theme of duality was the salt cave and the sauna – the cold and hot! We knew for these additional rooms we wanted to incorporate an experience that has health and wellness benefits but also encourages meditative practice.
The salt cave provides halotherapy, which is actually an ancient treatment and is quite popular in Eastern Europe. The cave is kept cool and guests are provided with a blanket, a cozy bean bag chair to cuddle into, as well as headsets loaded with relaxing music, ambient noise as well as soothing nature sounds. Himalayan pink salt is naturally antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, and has trace minerals and elements that support respiratory health, skin conditions, and overall mood state. Our guests find it so relaxing in there that many actually fall asleep!
The sauna provides the heat! We have a state of the art infrared sauna complete with chromotherapy lighting system. We styled the room to feel like a little tropical oasis in the city. We know that many Torontonians are not able to get away for vacations (which are so important to our overall health!) and so we wanted to great a space that stimulates a mini getaway! The room has tropical plants and beach chairs. Guests are provided cooling towels and chilled water with lemons to round out the experience. The benefits of the sauna itself are many, including improved sleep, relaxation, detoxification, pain relief among others!
E7: What was the inspiration behind starting a meditation space in the city? How did Hoame come about?
CP: We are mental health clinicians and educators and it was our experiences in our careers that really lead us to create Hoame. We both have worked for years in emergency and acute crisis settings and realized quickly that our current model of mental health care is often quite reactionary in nature.
In our current society, we are often waiting until people’s mental health has suffered before we provide care. We also saw firsthand the truly damaging effects of our stressful lifestyle (ie. overworked, etc) on one’s overall mental and physical wellbeing. We know that this current lifestyle and culture of work is just simply not healthy or sustainable. So we sought to create a place in the city where we could focus on prevention and encourage health and wellness. We choose meditation because this was a practice that both of us have been using in our clinical practices with huge success for many years.
As researchers, we rely heavily on science and the “proof” in the practices we recommend and provide to our clients – when it comes to meditation and mindfulness there is now overwhelming substantial scientific literature that it proves countless health benefits. As postsecondary educators we also wanted to create a ho(a)me for all things health and wellness, not just meditation – which is why we created a space large enough to host trainings, workshops, guest speaking series, and so on.
E7: What do you ultimately hope to help your guests feel as a result of a visit to Hoame?
CP: We want our guests to feel like they are at home when they come visit us. Whether it is to join a community and feel connection with like-minded individuals, for stress relief and relaxation, for self-discovery and improvement, or whatever else they want – we hope we have created a space that allows them to realize and find exactly what they need.
E7: What’s coming down the pipeline that you’re really excited about now? Any particular classes or events or plans in the works now that people should keep on their radar?
CP: We have so much coming down the pipeline – we can’t wait to share it all with you. We are launching a new morning schedule that will have mini-classes and breakfast pairings for those looking for a great start to their day. We also have a host of upcoming theme nights and workshops – including a special line up for January, AKA detox month. And, perhaps most exciting is our Hoame for the Holidays weekend event that promises to be as stylish as our studio. Stay tuned!
E7: What tips do you have for people who might be having a hard time meditating?
CP: Best tip is to start small and with short practices. Even taking a couple minutes a day to close your eyes and tune into your breathing is, in essence, meditation. New meditators can also benefit from being guided by an experienced instructor in a group setting. There is something about the collective energy in a class that often makes meditation practice a bit easier. We actually created our Essentials class as an accessible introduction to meditation to help beginners. Lastly, be kind to yourself if it is a challenge – any time spent with yourself is success. It will get easier over time.
E7: What does your meditation practice look like? How has this changed after starting this business?
Here are the responses from both co-founders:
CP: I have had an off and on meditation practice for many years and consistently meditating daily for about 1 year. My meditation practice is almost always at night just before I go to bed. I prefer guided meditation with soothing background music. I also really appreciate themed meditations. I find meditating before bed helps calm and ground my mind from the hectic day and ensures I have a deep and restorative sleep. My practice has actually increased since starting this business as I have been jumping into lots of classes at Hoame!
Stephanie Kersta: I have been meditating for over a decade. I am a morning person and find morning meditations really help get me focused and energized for my day. I also love incorporating mindfulness and meditative practice into many of my daily activities, such as walking my dog, drinking my first cup of coffee or even during my daily commute. A serious perk of running a meditation studio means I can join a class every time I am there – lucky me!
For more info on HOAME, click HERE!
(Story by Contributing Editor, Kait Fowlie)