Carolyn Plater and Stephanie Kersta are master’s level mental health clinicians, educators, consultants, and the co-founders of Hoame, North America’s largest modern meditation studio.
Can you tell us a bit about yourself, and what inspired you to start Hoame?
After witnessing the mental health crisis first hand, working in crisis mental health, and private clinical practice, we wanted to address the mental health crisis on a larger scale. We knew of the clinical benefits of meditation on mental health but meditation can be intimidating for many. We wanted to challenge that and bring meditation to Toronto in a big, exciting way! We wanted a space that was not only visually beautiful but innovative and calming from the moment you walk in. Every square inch of Hoame has been thoughtfully curated to not only evoke a sense of peace, and help ease you into a meditative state, but also inspire and energize!
What does your typical day look like?
We really don’t have a typical day! Every day is different. Some days are spent in our clinical practice as we are still practicing mental health clinicians, some days are spent at colleges or universities or businesses teaching or providing mental health training, and some days are at Hoame, taking meetings, chatting with our amazing community of Hoamies, and planning fun happenings to bring to the studio. Every day working together involves lots of laughter, as that is our favourite form of self care!
What was the worst piece of advice you've ever received?
When we were looking to lease a space for Hoame the realtor we were using told us to scale down, and look for much smaller spaces, as we are just “two young girls”. Needless to say, we found another realtor.
What does success mean to you?
Making a difference and leaving the world better than we came into it. We truly feel that our stress-induced mental health crisis can be averted and Hoame is one of the ways we are working to combat this. Additionally, we have a corporate consulting business, Ease Inc, where we take a top-down approach to combat mental health in organizations.
In moments of self-doubt or adversity, how do you build yourself back up?
We are so lucky to have each other! We both say we wouldn’t do this without the other, or with anyone else. We have had our share of ups and downs this year, and during the downs we swear by lots of laughter, meditation and red wine haha!
Do you have any morning routines or evening rituals to help you stay balanced?
SK: I wake up around 5-6 and spend some time snuggling my rescue pup Hemingway. Water is essential first thing, and my husband, Hemingway and I go for a walk. We like this time in the morning to catch up on our plans for the day, as both of our days are hectic as soon as we get into our respective offices. I’m also a big believer in brown bagging my lunch and coffee, so I pack those and head out! I have the luxury of being able to take classes at Hoame, so will often meditate there when I’m at the studio, otherwise, I am a morning meditator and will meditate at my condo before leaving for the day.
CP: My mornings consist of gym and the ritual of walking to get my coffee. I like getting into the office before anyone else. I use this time before people get in to plan my day, respond to any emails, and ease myself into the hectic pace that is entrepreneurship.
What kind of meditation would you recommend for beginners who are just starting their practice?
We would recommend taking our essentials class, as it is an introduction on how to learn to meditate and you can learn and try out various seated positions and breathing techniques. It really forms a strong foundation. Additionally, many people find sound baths really soothing and find it easier to slip into a meditative state as the sound frequencies impact the whole body.
Learn more about Hoame.
If you liked this interview, you might like our recent interview with Salima Visram, founder of SAMARA.