“Wellness looks different to everyone, there is definitely no one size fits all approach. For me it has to be very relatable and practical and more importantly sustainable for my lifestyle and no-one else’s.”
Head of Operations at Re:mind Studio
Our Urban Explorer
Could you please introduce yourself to our guests?
Hello! I’m Emmeline, the Head of Operations at Re:Mind Studio based in Belgravia. I am born and raised in South West London in the leafy Richmond and have lived in and around East London since my early twenties. With over ten years working in public relations with leading global brands, I decided to follow my newly found passion and transitioned over to the wellness industry. Here at Re:Mind our aim is to help shape the future of wellness as London’s first standalone meditation & healing studio.
How long have you been practicing meditation?
I have been practicing meditation for the last four or so years so I am still fairly new on this journey! I embarked on a new chapter a few years ago which led me into the world of wellness. From working in a fast paced and quite stressful PR role, I went on to explore meditation and mindfulness which helped me navigate my own mental health.
London is known for its hustle and bustle with numerous day-to-day demands. Do you think the city offers a variety of outlets for people to retreat and take care of their mind and body?
Pre-pandemic there were more wellness spaces and yoga studios opening up, but sadly a lot of independents have suffered and have since closed or were unable to re-open. Most studios were able to adapt quickly with their online offering, making practicing more accessible whilst at home. We as a studio, were able to reach further afield and definitely felt the need to provide our services to people around the world. Since everything is slowly getting back to normal, we’ve seen a renewed appetite for in-person classes and people wanting that IRL connection again. For me, it’s about building that community back up and seeing fresh faces through the doors ready to explore!
Re:mind Studio opened its doors in 2018 by Founders Carla von Anhalt and Yulia Kovaleva. How did this renowned meditation, healing and breathwork studio first came to be?
The studio founders were inspired by their travels in the US, specifically with meditation studios in New York and Los Angeles, where they have become an integral part of people’s daily routine. With the growing use of mindfulness apps at the time, they also felt the need for a space for people to come together and connect in real life, whilst offering a diverse range of practices to choose from.
Tell us more about Re:mind Studio and what can first-time guests can expect?
We opened the studio doors back in 2018 and have evolved our offerings which are primarily rooted in meditation, healing and breathwork. This includes everything from reiki, to sound healing (with Crystal Bowls, Tibetan Bowls, Gong and Tuning Forks), shamanic healing and yin yoga. We offer easily accessible teacher-led group guided sessions on a daily basis within the studio, as well as regular live-streamed and on-demand classes on our Re:Mind TV platform. Here at the studio, we’ve created a supportive space to recover, heal and transform from the stresses of city life and to ultimately bring more calm to busy Londoners lives. So, whether you want to learn how to meditate or you’d like to deepen your practice, we’ll help you build a meditation practice that’s right for you.
As the Head of Operations at Re:mind Studio, what does your day look like on a typical day?
We have actually just re-opened the studio after 18 months break due to the pandemic, so my day is very varied at the moment with a never ending to do list! I am primarily studio based and client facing as our daily classes take centre stage, whilst also managing our Re:Mind TV online platform. My priority is liaising with clients day-to-day and building on those relationships, dealing with teachers and their class schedules and co-ordinating my team of staff. We’re a small team so the reality is that most of the time it’s all hands-on deck!
We also host private sessions and partner with brands on events so I often dip my toe back into my old world of PR and marketing. I’m also fortunate enough to be able to also take classes for myself and test out new teachers, which is a definite perk!
I’ve learnt that running a growing business which is constantly evolving is such a challenge and finding that balance of push and pull is so important to remember – knowing when to pause, re-set and take a breather.
How do you think you fit into the term” Urban Explorer”?
For me, this is about staying curious and inspired, I’m always learning!
Finding Your Calm
What does wellness mean to you?
Wellness looks different to everyone, there is definitely no one size fits all approach. For me it has to be very relatable and practical and more importantly sustainable for my lifestyle and no-one else’s. I tend to have very straightforward tools to build the foundations for my everyday maintenance, so I’m not so reactive at that breaking point.
If you don’t mind us asking, what does your daily personal wellness routine consist of?
This varies day-to-day depending how I’m feeling but I keep it very simple. A more back to basics approach means I don’t put too much pressure on myself. I’ve been tuning into my body a lot more recently rather than pushing through. My previous pre-lockdown routine has definitely eased up as I’m now more in flow with what my body needs. I think Matt Haig’s quote pretty much sums it up for me – ‘Get a routine baggy enough to live in’.
Rest has been a big priority for me and giving myself permission to just be unproductive, as we’re always so switched on, always doing and keeping busy. I’ve been making time for those mindful moments during the day (even for a few minutes) – whether that’s meditation, rest, exercise or any type of movement. This has definitely helped with the online fatigue we have all been experiencing! An average day can look like jumping into a healing session at the studio (my favourites are reiki, breathwork and yin yoga) or it could be a meditation in the evening (listening to a yoga nidra or crystal bowls to help me drift off). It could be hitting up my favourite local reformer pilates or boxing class in the evening or simply getting outside and going for a walk in my local park or along the canal.
Are there any tips to help people find their calm on a stressful day?
Finding your own piece of calm can come in many different forms. All the advice and various tools out there are simply suggestions, you have to play with them and mould them to make them work for you. I’d always recommend starting small, with things that are manageable. It’s about starting and maintaining a simple practice for the long term, not quick fixes and too much at once, with the aim to create a sustainable toolkit for your own life.
On a physical level things like meditation, sound healing, reiki healing and breathwork kick in your parasympathetic nervous system – which is responsible for rest and relaxation and tone down your fight or flight response. On a mental level, the more you practice mindful activities the more you are aware of yourself and your body and the less prone you are to react to stress and develop anxieties.
A few tips that I find helpful in remembering:
- Be kind and gentle to yourself!
- Acknowledge all emotions and difficult feelings that come up in these stressful situations. One of the best mental exercises when experiencing this is simply connecting with your breath. Using your breath to bring yourself back to the present and grounding yourself in the here and now – a quick ‘reset’ button to calm your nervous system.
- Getting outside. Taking a walk even for 5 minutes is a chance to restore a bit of peace and calm and help to quieten the mind chatter.
Why is meditation so important?
That is a big question! Meditation has such an abundance of benefits for your overall mental as well as physical wellbeing. I guess the most common in our everyday lives would be the sense of calm and balance that it can bring and help in relieving the stresses of our modern lives. For me, meditation is a great self-care tool, a time when you are giving back to yourself, pausing, quietening your mind and coming back to the present moment.
How do you think the wellness community in London differ from other cities around the world?
I know in the US they have been the wellness leaders for a long time but London has definitely now caught up and is leading the way. It’s not just trend driven anymore but long lasting with more of a focus on everyday mental wellbeing. Community seems to be such a buzzword recently but the idea of connecting to a likeminded community through shared activities can considerably improve your mental wellbeing.
If there was one place in London that you go to for some peace and quiet, where would it be?
Richmond Park is my go-to, a foggy sunrise run surrounded by deer is magical and definitely helped me during lockdown! There’s also a little oasis in the middle of the park called Isabella Plantation where you can really see the changing seasons come to life.
When is the best time to meditate?
The best time to meditate is anytime that suits you! Whatever is sustainable for you and only you.
In the midst of the pandemic, there are still many of us who prefer to meditate at home. What are some essential elements for creating this safe and relaxing space at home?
Home can look very different to everyone. Not everyone has the space or a quiet area so again whatever works for you in your own environment. It can be simply burning your favourite candle, lighting some incense, sage or palo santo, getting cosy with a blanket and a cup of herbal tea – this normally does the trick for me! And it might be handy to have a notepad or journal at hand, so you can write down anything that may come up.
What do you love most about working at Re:mind Studio?
Everyday I’m always in learning mode! I’m surrounded by inspiring people all on their own personal journey and embracing a more conscious mindful approach to their lives and I get to witness that.
Are there any wellness gurus that you look up to?
Not wellness gurus, more so inspiring and creative women, especially those empowering each other.
Sharmadean Read, founder of The Stack World, has created an amazing platform and network of women supporting women in business. Personally, wellness is not just meditation & mindfulness – it also encompasses things like women’s health, sexual health and financial health – all of which I’ve explored in more depth over the last couple of years.
In your line of work, how often would you say you travelled (in a pre-pandemic world)?
In my previous PR career, travel was very frequent as our clients were based globally. That meant being up and down the country or getting on a flight every week for client meetings, press trips, press days, sales conferences and seasonal trade shows. Currently, travel isn’t necessary as I have a more studio-based role but when travelling around London, I do prefer to walk as much as I can or jump on public transport as I don’t drive!
Now that traveling is slowly opening up, are there any places you’d like to visit?
I think during lockdown we all became more grateful for places that were actually closer to home. I have a list in the UK to visit from the wilderness of Skye to Snowdonia, wild swimming spots, cosy forest cabins and retreats by the coast. And I love to explore solo so I’m on my own agenda!
So where does your inspiration for travel come from?
My inspiration comes in many forms. I love wild swimming so I am quite drawn to travel to somewhere near any kind of water – the sea, lakes, rivers, ponds, anywhere I can get my cold-water fix! As part of a cold-water swimming group, Nudge Community, I’m constantly inspired by those around me.
What other destinations are on your bucket list?
Once things are more open internationally, I do plan to take myself on a belated 40th birthday trip. Surfing in Sri Lanka might be the one! I also have some weekend city breaks in mind – Lisbon is next on the list.
In 3 words, how would you describe London?
Inspiring, Creative, Busy!
As much as urban explorers enjoy visiting must-see tourist attractions, they also enjoy being enriched by the city’s authentic local culture and taste. If you could pick one place or district that embodies the essence of London, where would it be?
For me, it’s always East London, in and around Hackney. It’s ever changing which I love, meaning there’s always new, exciting and creative things to see and do.