Emily Thring, founder of The Quiet Company, opened Toronto’s first modern group meditation studio. Read on to find out how she started her business, what she does to stay balanced, her advice for those who are interested in getting into meditation, and tips on how to reduce anxiety.
What inspired you to start Toronto’s first modern meditation studio, The Quiet Company?
I was learning how to meditate about seven years ago and found it really hard. I love doing group exercise classes and motivating myself that way to workout. I remember thinking when I was sitting with the meditation app Headspace that I wish there was a class where I could go and do this. At that point, the only studio that was offering meditation was during off peak hours, and I was working full time so I couldn’t go meditate at a studio around 2 o’clock in the afternoon. I noticed the MNDFL studio opened in New York a few years ago, and was super inspired to bring that to Toronto.
How did you learn to meditate by yourself?
It was a combination of apps and reading. Reading books by Jon Kabat-Zinn or Pema Chödrön who are both experts in the field, to teach me the techniques and how to understand it on my own beyond the two minutes that I was trying to meditate with an app.
What does your typical day look like?
My days are really long. I get up at 6-6:30, I try and exercise most mornings. I start everyday with lemon water and a few minutes of meditation before I go on my phone and start emailing, or try to get some work done before my first classes or my clients. Usually my days are mix of meetings, teaching and talking to people or going to corporate programs,. I’m often working and teaching late, since we have classes every evening, and I try to be here most nights, so I try to do a second meditation practice in the afternoon to give me some energy to go through the evening. I try and go to bed between 10-11 and to minimize the amount of screen time in the evening. I also try not to be on my computer working after 8 since I find it really affects my sleep.
"Connecting with the breath is also a great way to manage anxiety. There are lots of meditation that are specifically designed to help you ground yourself in the moment, which can help reduce anxiety."
What tips would you give to those who are wanting to get into meditation, or tips to reduce anxiety?
I definitely think starting small, if you want to start meditating. If you’re at home, even sitting one minute every day will help you get into the habit. Be consistent and sit for one minute every morning, and see how you feel. You can see if you want to increase the time, but consistency is definitely a key as with anything, you’re learning a new skill. You need to keep doing it, and you need to be compassionate with yourself. Because you are learning something new, in the beginning it might feel uncomfortable, but keep trying and keep pushing through.
Connecting with the breath is also a great way to manage anxiety. There are lots of meditation that are specifically designed to help you ground yourself in the moment, which can help reduce anxiety.
What morning routines or evening rituals do you have to help you stay balanced?
I really enjoy moving in the morning. I like getting up and getting some exercise in because my days are long and busy and if I don’t do it the first thing I won’t do it. I try to meal prep as well so I have food to eat when I’m running around and I’m not spending a lot of money on take-out food. I also really try and make time for friends and family and schedule that in because when you’re starting a business, it’s really hard to make time for that and it’s easy to miss things, so making time for things that matter.
Interview conducted by Yuri Hirama