In tough times like these, we could all use a little mental-health help. Enter Hoame, North America’s largest modern meditation studio (based in Canada), which is launching a virtual meditation studio on Meta Quest this month. The mission: to bring world-class meditation classes and guidance to the immersive virtual realm of VR. We chatted with Hoame co-founders Stephanie Kersta and Carolyn Plater about how the program works, and why they’re determined to provide a global audience with a chance to experience the mental wellness benefits of meditation. Plus, with the help of our friends at Best Buy Canada, we’re giving you a chance to win everything you need (read: an Oculus Quest 2 128GB VR Headset with Touch Controllers, valued at $400) to meditate at home, with Hoame. —Noa Nichol
Hello both! Please tell us a bit about yourselves to start.
Stephanie: Thanks so much for interviewing us! We are both masters-level mental health clinicians, educators at a number of post secondary institutions, and the co-founders of Hoame, which is a brick and morter studio (North America’s largest) and now a virtual meditation studio on the Meta Quest.
When and why did you launch Hoame? What niche were/are you aiming to fill?
Carolyn: Hoame is a modern meditation studio; we have two unique studio spaces, one is a light room which has a massive moss wall, and vines hanging down from the ceiling, and the other is the dark room that is completely dark inside with a fibre-optic starry ceiling. We also have an infrared sauna and a himalyan salt cave. Our reason for building Hoame was to bring meditation to Toronto in a big and exciting way. As mental health clinicians we wholeheartedly believe in the power of mindfulness and meditation and see firsthand through our clinical practice the benefits. We wanted to create a space that people were excited to come to, and to encourage the practice if they were intimidated or nervous to try meditation. Building a community was also very important to us, we wanted to create a space that brought together people, as we know the mental health benefits of connection.
Congrats on the launch of your virtual meditation studio on Meta Quest! Please tell us more about this service, who it is for, how it can be accessed and what makes it unique.
Stephanie: Thanks so much! This is an app for the Meta headset. This app allows you to “step” into our studio and have a front row spot in multiple daily meditation classes in our light room. In addition to daily studio classes, we also have a library of on demand classes in various beautiful locations and we also offer monthly community events such as reiki healing, crystal reading classes, tarot readings and more! This app is for everyone, as everyone can reap the benefits of meditation. You can access the app through the Oculus (Meta) app store. In addition to the various offerings, as we are mental health clinicians, we have also embedded in some mental health tools such as a mood tracker to see in real time the effect of your practice on your mood as well as a hoamies score to encourage you to build a regular daily practice as we know there are huge benefits to consistency. You can also customize your sit set, and see other users who are also meditating alongside you to personalize your practice and build connection!
What wellness benefits does at-home meditation provide?
Carolyn: We always say that the benefits of meditation are from the top of your head to the tips of your toes and everywhere in between! There are documented physical benefits such as impacts on cardiac health, pain reduction, immune response, decreased inflammation and improved sleep, mental health benefits such as decreased anxiety, improved mood and decreased depressive symptoms, improved resilience and decreased stress. We also see positive benefits on creativity, focus, better management of ADHD symptoms, improved empathy and improved self-esteem, among others. An added benefit of an at-home practice is that you are more likely to be consistent as you never have to leave the house, and with today’s health crisis that is more important that ever as your practice won’t negatively be impacted by lockdowns or stay home orders.
Tell us more about why you think now, more than ever, the mental wellness benefits of meditation are needed?
Stephanie: Simply put, our current stress-filled lifestyles are unsustainable, we are seeing soaring rates of stress, mental health challenges such as anxiety and depression, insomnia, decreased resiliency and loneliness. In addition, it has been a very stressful past two years, which has highlighted the need for tools to support our mental health and well-being.
What are your top tips for meditating at home, using Hoame’s new virtual meditation studio?
Carolyn: The beauty of the app is that the minute you put the headset on you are completely transported so you really don’t need much else to create an immersive environment. I would encourage a comfortable spot to sit in, and perhaps use some essential oils for a sensory element. At our studio in Toronto we scent our studio with our signature scent that we custom blended to be as stress reducing as possible; as well, we know scent is a strong memory anchor that can support your practice, if you use the same scent every time you practice. We encourage you to try that!
Final, personal question: what’s your favourite/go-to meditation mantra?
Both: We love any mantra that uses “I am” in it, as we know that anything you put after those two words is quite powerful. Right now we are loving “I am well” and “I am at peace”.
Win! A Hoame + Best Buy Meditation Prize Pack!
Congrats Amanda P. of Port Coquitlam, BC, who will receive a Hoame + Best Buy Meditation Prize Pack, including a 1 year membership to the Hoame app, a Hoamies sweatshirt, 2 essential oils and a $400 Oculus Quest 2 128GB VR Headset with Touch Controllers set! Please note: if you are the winner, you will receive a DM (direct message) in Instagram directly from @vitadaily.ca. Please be wary of fake accounts, which often use similar handles with an extra or missing letter, number or symbol. We will never ask for a payment or for your credit card number, and we will never ask you to click through a link. If you are unsure whether you have been contacted, via Instagram, by us or a fake account, email us before responding.
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:07 am
I like to unwind by watching a good movie
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:09 am
I unwind by listening to soothing sounds on the Calm App! (@Jenelleefraser)
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:16 am
I like to unwind by taking long walks through the forest with my 2 dogs. @PrairieLoon on Insta
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:16 am
I like to watch a good movie
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:18 am
@terry.SCHIPPER from maple on 🇨🇦
Unwind by playing with my new oculus quest 2!!!
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:21 am
Stretching while watching tv! @lyonkirstennn
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:23 am
For me the best way to relax is a fragrant bubble bath, lovely music and a glass of wine.
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:25 am
I like to unwind by meditating & soaking in a Himalayan salt bath
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:30 am
I like to unwind by taking my dog for a walk in the rural area I live. Beautiful scenery, fresh air and lots of time to just unwind.
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:30 am
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:32 am
Reading and exercising❤️
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:33 am
I like to unwind by reading a book or working on a puzzle. @Charby25
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:36 am
Watching TV @edwardyee_
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:52 am
I turn off all the lights, light a candle and diffuser and read a book.
January 23rd, 2022 at 10:11 am
I like to unwind with some good food, working out, having a nice hot bubble bath and by hanging out with friends. Ironically because of the pandemic, most of us have only been able to hang out online/virtually so we play a lot of video games together and it’s a great way to stay social during these times! Winning an Oculus would be so amazing and definitely something new and exciting to use in my free time, as well as a meditation prize pack! I just moved into a new home so that would really spice up my home gym Thank you so much vitadaily.ca and my hoame for hosting this giveaway!
My IG is @alexandra.the.unicorn
January 23rd, 2022 at 10:12 am
January 23rd, 2022 at 10:14 am
I usually unwind by taking a nap!
January 23rd, 2022 at 10:27 am
Reading a book! 📚
January 23rd, 2022 at 10:45 am
I like to unwind by going to a boxing class!
Reside in Airdrie, Ab
January 23rd, 2022 at 11:01 am
watching a movie @blake.shermeto
January 23rd, 2022 at 11:02 am
I like to unwind by going thrifting at the Salvation Atmy❤️ It’s better than therapy.
January 23rd, 2022 at 11:14 am
I Like to unwind by having a glass of wine and a hot bath
January 23rd, 2022 at 11:20 am
Listening to a sound bath!
January 23rd, 2022 at 11:32 am
video games. If I need extra chilling I play game boards.
January 23rd, 2022 at 11:44 am
I love to meditate and do yoga to unwind from a busy day 🙏🏼💖🧘🏻♀️ @jammie604
January 23rd, 2022 at 11:54 am
Like to unwind by going for a walk and then relax with a cup of tea with a treat
January 23rd, 2022 at 1:31 pm
I unwind by going for a walk or a run
January 23rd, 2022 at 2:04 pm
Baking/or cooking helps me unwind
January 23rd, 2022 at 2:08 pm
Sorry I forgot to leave my insta handle
January 23rd, 2022 at 2:04 pm
Baking/or cooking helps me unwind
January 23rd, 2022 at 3:20 pm
To unwind I like to find a romantic comedy to watch. @fossie55
January 23rd, 2022 at 3:31 pm
I like to unwind by listening to music 🎼🎶🎵💕
Instagram handle: @blue_3_3_3
January 23rd, 2022 at 5:23 pm
I like to o go for walk to unwind .
January 23rd, 2022 at 5:24 pm
Forgot to leave my tag. @alwayscraftingg
January 23rd, 2022 at 6:10 pm
I used to love to load up HD Videos of train rides in YouTube in VR and go for a relaxing drive in Switzerland.
January 23rd, 2022 at 6:11 pm
I like to unwind in a hot epsom salt bath while listening to guided meditations 🛁 🎶
January 23rd, 2022 at 6:34 pm
I like to unwind with peaceful music and a good book. 🎶 📖
January 23rd, 2022 at 6:58 pm
Wine by the fireplace
January 23rd, 2022 at 8:07 pm
I like a bubble bath with a good book
January 23rd, 2022 at 8:32 pm
Love to relax with a book 📖 @jan_leeu
January 23rd, 2022 at 9:50 pm
This looks amazing! I have been wanting to use the Occulus I got my husband for his birthday and this looks right up my alley. Currently, I like to unwind by stretching, taking a bath or journaling (@kristyannesarah)
January 23rd, 2022 at 10:19 pm
To unwind, I like to relax & watch a funny/entertaining movie/show on Crave/Netflix/Disney+/Prime🧘♀️😍📺 @mmchoong
January 24th, 2022 at 2:44 am
i love a good walk to unwind, but right now with the constant winter storms it’s not always an option! this would be perfect for some indoor unwinding! thanks for the chance 🤞🏻💕
@rachelanncartwright on ig
January 24th, 2022 at 6:10 am
A hot cup of coffee and something to read relaxes me. IG @mointy_mo2020
January 24th, 2022 at 7:19 am
I like to go for a walk. @tabby_1972
January 24th, 2022 at 7:30 am
I like to go for walks ig: @1975boler_
January 24th, 2022 at 7:50 am
I like to unwind with a cup of tea and watcha good movie @wghutton
January 24th, 2022 at 8:14 am
I typically do some yoga or do a jog or run! 🏃🏻♀️ Or even just a bath and 20 minutes of silence. @benchmark.faria on IG
January 24th, 2022 at 8:23 am
I turn off all electronic devices an hour before bedtime to unwind can clear my thoughts. @kennyflex129
January 24th, 2022 at 9:18 am
I like to read to unwind. @coach_Daves9
January 24th, 2022 at 10:59 am
I love to unwind with a hot bath, music and entertaining distraction. I’ve always wanted to try meditation. 🧘🏼♀️
January 24th, 2022 at 11:10 am
Deep breathing exercises help me relax and unwind. Thanks for the chance to win!
January 24th, 2022 at 11:11 am
watch a movie to unwind
January 24th, 2022 at 11:12 am
Do some yoga to unwind
January 24th, 2022 at 1:19 pm
I unwind by spending time with my fur babies, listening to music or watch a movie with the hubby.
January 24th, 2022 at 2:33 pm
Watch a movie and eat snacks
January 24th, 2022 at 3:17 pm
I unwind by sitting on the couch under a blanket in silence. I enjoy peace and quiet at the end of the day.
January 24th, 2022 at 3:32 pm
Meditation is one of my tools I use daily to unwind and shift mindset with intensions! I as well love to dance to lift my spirits and music is huge!
January 24th, 2022 at 4:35 pm
I unwind with a nice wine, a steamy bath and an even steadier book. All at once preferably.
January 24th, 2022 at 8:41 pm
I like to unwind by curling up on the couch and watch a good movie and then rewind it a couple times because I’m falling asleep or thinking about something else. Lol.
January 24th, 2022 at 10:27 pm
I like to unwind by taking a bubble bath, drinking warm milk and honey and watching a series on Netflix.
January 25th, 2022 at 6:50 am
I love a hot bath!
January 25th, 2022 at 11:27 am
I like to unwind by playing scrabble.
January 25th, 2022 at 11:41 am
Like to unwind by having a cup of tea and sitting on a couch
Instagram handle nafees_iffat
January 25th, 2022 at 11:43 am
Like to unwind by sitting on my couch
Instagram handle nafees_iffat
January 26th, 2022 at 12:56 am
I like to unwind by watching a series on Netflix
January 26th, 2022 at 3:19 am
I like to unwind by having a spa day at home! I especially love my facial steamer – it’s very relaxing! I listen to music as I relax and get rid of the stress from the week. 💕💆💅🤗🙏🙇♀️😌💞 #VanCityGirl 🇨🇦
January 26th, 2022 at 11:40 am
I love to unwind in a bath of Epsom salt with lavender oil. Makes my whole body feel so relaxed and I sleep so well afterwards.
January 26th, 2022 at 6:12 pm
Great read!! Thank you for this!
I love to unwind with a workout while listening to a meditation or a YouTube video that raises my energy, it’s really amazing when I combine the two and I feel like I’m in bliss!
January 27th, 2022 at 6:46 pm
I love getting my doggos out on a long trail hike! Nothing better than some physical activity, fresh mountain air, and happy dogs! @kimmiecapp
January 28th, 2022 at 7:13 am
Read a book or watch a movie @shag_ragdoll
January 29th, 2022 at 12:07 pm
By playing board game.
IG : @melcami1
January 29th, 2022 at 12:39 pm
We like to unwind sitting watching a movie with snacks and wine. This fantastic prize would really upgrade our evening!💙💙💙
January 29th, 2022 at 2:18 pm
Forest bathing 🥰🌲 and embracing nature with all of my senses @ARStories
January 29th, 2022 at 2:44 pm
I unwind by reading a good book!
January 29th, 2022 at 8:54 pm
Watch movies to unwind @liangliangcanada
January 30th, 2022 at 4:28 pm
I love unwinding by taking a nice long bath!
January 30th, 2022 at 5:28 pm
Get a massage or hang out and chill with friends @djpepsidaisy
January 30th, 2022 at 8:27 pm
I love to listen to music. @bella_loulou1
January 30th, 2022 at 8:30 pm
I like to unwind by going for a walk or riding my bike. Following on IG @jillmacaulay8883
January 30th, 2022 at 8:46 pm
I like listening to music. @SweetTD93
January 30th, 2022 at 9:12 pm
Relaxing In a bubble bath with spa music, relaxing essential oils in the diffuser while eatting chocolate. ❤🌼🌺⭐🌹