In a world of non-stop communication and innovation, the idea of unplugging and relaxing seems impossible. Carolyn Plater and Stephanie Kersta want to change that with their latest venture, Toronto’s latest high-end meditation clinic, Hoame. 

The pair has an extensive background in mental health work. They both studied psychology in university and went on to get a masters in social work and in psychology, respectively. After working in a variety of clinical settings, they joined forces to launch a private psychotherapy practice specializing in children, adolescents, and youth. As a result of the modern stress-filled lifestyle, they began to notice the rapidly increasing mental health crisis and sought relevant education and certifications in order to do their part in combatting this epidemic. Hoame acts as an oasis that assists clients in taking a holistic and preventative approach to their well-being. Plater and  Kersta are inspiring a lifestyle movement that dispels stress and encourages self-care. 

High levels of stress, especially chronic stress, is extremely consequential. Research suggests that it can exacerbate or lead to mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, cognitive problems, personality changes, and behavioural issues. Furthermore, it increases the risk of developing health problems like obesity, diabetes, cancer, and a weakened immune system. When the body is stressed, it releases the hormone cortisol from our adrenal glands to help with regulating blood sugar levels, our metabolism, and memory formation. If there is a prolonged release of cortisol or high levels of the hormone in the body, the body begins to negatively react. Our hippocampus, a brain structure that enables us to convert new information into long-term memory, is extremely vulnerable to cortisol. When the body endures ongoing stress, cortisol affects the rate that neurons are added or subtracted from the hippocampus. Basically, when we are stress for a long period of time, the hippocampus is impaired and restricts our ability to take in new information. 

Recently, psych practitioners and wellness gurus alike have been praising the benefits of meditation and mindfulness, especially in its ability to reduce stress levels and help individuals feel calmer and more grounded. HOAME aims to make this popular practice accessible to all. Only offering two types of rooms – a dark room and a light room – and whether you prefer stillness or movement, this limited offering helps to direct the focus back on stress-release; no more confusion or chaos on trying to figure out which class is right for you! 

At the core of HOAME is their welcoming staff, impeccable amenities, and stunning facility. Gone are the days of all-white-everything; HOAME feels like, well, a home. Complete with swinging chairs, soft grey couches, and walls of plants, the space feels like you could live in it. During the guided meditation, you sit on a cushion and can wrap yourself up in a towel. HOAME is breaking down any barriers that may be associated with mediation – you don’t have to be a wellness guru to come here. They’ve created an approachable, homey environment to inspire relaxation, self-care, and wellness. Settle in with one of their complimentary beverages – charcoal lemonade, still or sparkling water, or a custom blended tea – and immerse yourself into serenity before or after a class. Once you’re there, it’s hard to leave. 

 

Every class comes with warm or cold towels and a complimentary elixir shot. No need to bring a mat or set up your cushion – it’s all done for you. There are two studio rooms: a light room and dark room. The dark room has a starry ceiling and a blue ribbon light as if you are floating in space. The light room has a massive living wall and a canopy of greenery in the ceiling, transporting you from the chaotic downtown Toronto real estate into a garden of serenity. The meditation itself is incredible. There is some chanting, yes, but for the most part, the teachers guide you through a curated session using their voice, soundtracks, lighting themes, and the optional essential oil. It’s a time to focus on your inner self or allow yourself to completely zone out, safe from phone notifications, emails, and deadlines. Another treat is the salt cave. Tapping into the ancient treatment of using Himalayan pink crystal salt to strengthen immune function, cleanse the skin and respiratory system and relax the body, you can sit on a bean bag chair and submerge into the surrealism of the subterranean. It doesn’t hurt that everything is millennial pink – a big win for your Instagram.

At first, I was skeptical of meditation. As a type-A person, I couldn’t imagine sitting still for more than five minutes. However, Hoame proved me wrong. This world-class, modern studio seamlessly blended into my contemporary city lifestyle and enlightened me on an enhanced mind-body connection I previously thought impossible to achieve. I left lighter, more energized, and ready to take on the world. 

Now open, this one-stop destination for mindfulness and meditation is the perfect escape from your daily hustle. The well-educated and extensively experienced team have cultivated a space where everyone can reap the benefits of meditation and mindfulness. As the largest upscale mediation studio in Toronto, we can’t wait to see our city live life a little lighter. 

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