Emily Thring, founder of The Quiet Company,  is a certified Pilates instructor who has created a meditation studio for group meditation and movement classes, as well as learning about mindfulness. In the busy city of Toronto, Emily’s space has become a haven for more calm and less stress.

We chatted with Emily about the difference between mindfulness and meditation, tips for someone who wants to start a meditation practice at home, and her favorite meditation quote. 

WEHL: What’s your philosophy on wellness?

ET: I’ve always been an active person, and in 2006 I developed chronic pain due to an injury. It forced me to slow down and rethink everything I thought about wellness. My philosophy is to find what works for you, know that it may be different from your mom or best friend, and to challenge yourself.

WEHL: What have you learned about wellness through your travels around the world? How has your personal wellness journey been impacted?

ET: I’ve been lucky enough to travel and experiment in wellness in as far away as South East Asia and as close as New York. It’s so inspiring to see how they interpret things in different cultures and cities. In the case of India, to go to the birthplace of so much of what we practice here.

In India I stayed at a small hotel in Rishikesh where we did yoga every morning and meditated every night. I loved eating Ayurvedic food and learning from the owners about their journey, gurus and experiences with wellness. I am 100% going back to India to study and deepen my own knowledge.

WEHL: Why did you want to start The Quiet Co?

ET: When I wanted to learn to meditate 6 years ago I was intimidated by the options for learning, practicing and more. I wasn’t ready to follow a religious practice or work with a “guru” or master one on one. I wanted something that was easy to fit into my busy schedule and would be agnostic. I didn’t find it so I developed my own practice, and then I was inspired by some of the movements I was seeing in New York and LA and decided to see if there was interest here.

WEHL: Is there a difference between mindfulness and meditation?

ET: Mindfulness is by definition paying attention to the present moment without judgment. To me, that means staying fully open and being present in a conversation, completing a task before starting another one, or immersing yourself fully in what you’re doing. To me, meditation is the act of sitting (or walking) in contemplation and accessing your higher self.

WEHL: What is it about mindfulness and meditation that you love?

ET: I love that it connects me to myself. It honestly made me a better person. It’s simple, but not easy and the work is worth it.

WEHL: What should people expect when they attend a Quiet Co. event?

ET: We try to make things as accessible and comfortable as possible. You don’t need any experience with meditation to join a class. The instructors we work with come from different backgrounds and are very skilled at supporting all different levels. Our classes are 15, 30 or 55 minutes. 15 and 30 minutes are meditation classes, and 55 minutes are meditation and movement. You can expect two short meditations and a yoga or pilates based practice to get your body working.

WEHL: How can mindfulness help in the office? Or at home?

ET: By connecting us to ourselves. When we’re coming from an authentic connected place we make better decisions and react to things from love, not stress. I used to have a short fuse, meditation really helped me learn to manage it, and see where those feelings were actually coming from.

I also think by reminding us of our humanity and bringing loving kindness and empathy to all things. At the other end of whatever problem you are facing is a human being with their own challenges. They’re trying to do their best.

WEHL: What are some of the benefits of having a meditation routine?

ET: Daily ritual and routine can be very calming and grounding. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a sit and meditate routine, but maybe sitting with your coffee in contemplation or with 5-minute journal routine will be better for your brain and self-esteem than scrolling on your phone.

WEHL: Do you have any tips for someone who wants to start a meditation practice at home?

ET: Be realistic. Saying you’re going to get up and meditate for 40 minutes every day might not be real for you. Start with 2 minutes. See how it feels. But keep at it. It’s like running, you have to keep at it if you want to be better. Try a group sit like at our studio on King Street West. The way you go to a group exercise class to keep your physical fitness goals in check, do the same for your mental health and wellness goals.

WEHL: Why is meditation so hard for most of us?

ET: I think there is a lot of judgment and expectation for the practice. As I mentioned before, it’s simple but not easy. It won’t come overnight and you will fall out of the routine. But awareness in how you feel and the intention to keep trying is so important.

WEHL: Do you have a favorite meditation quote or mantra?

ET: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” – C.S. Lewis

What did we miss? What’s the one thing that helps you get into a meditation routine? Leave your comments below!

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  • Dorothy
    Posted June 28, 2018 at 4:44 pm

    Thank you for sharing your story, Emily, and for encouraging us to start meditation for a few minutes at a time. I can see where that would be very helpful to reduce stress and feeling overwhelmed.

    I once told someone that I had no idea how to meditate. He asked me if I was good at worrying. I had never thought of that as a form of negative meditation!

    • Amanda
      Posted July 9, 2018 at 7:33 pm

      We are so happy that you learned something about meditating from our blog post, Dorothy! It’s pretty amazing that sometimes, we need to do less so we can be more productive and happy 🙂

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