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Be at peace: modern Ottawa meditation studio hopes to recharge minds

If you're looking to relax and find some quiet space, 'The Peace Room' looks to offer an all-in-one meditation experience
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In such a fast-paced and interconnected world, it can be hard to take minutes out of the day to relax and get away from our smartphones, but a recently opened meditation studio in downtown Ottawa is hoping to help ease the stress. 

The Peace Room, the brainchild of co-founders Catherine Hull, Chelsea Boissonneault and Jean-Luc Boissonneault, opened on Sparks Street late last year and is Ottawa's first meditation studio dedicated to group sessions. 

Hull said The Peace Room is a modern meditation studio bringing together different schools of thoughts and meditation into one space with the hope of making it easy and fun for the average person. 

"We're really trying to break through that idea that it has to be hard, it has to be challenging, it's boring, all these things that people think meditation is and trying to show people it can be interactive and fun," Hull said in an interview with OttawaMatters.com. 

"We try to really engage the beginner and give them lots of different tools to draw from." 

The 'guided visualization' class is by far the most popular since the studio opened, which Hull said people find easier to adapt to, especially beginners, as a teacher guides members through different scenarios of being on mountains, in the forest or on the oceans projected on large screens. 

"It's popular because it takes us on a journey in our minds, so there's a story...and people find that easier than just sitting there and listening to there mind chatter," Hull said. "You're telling your mind, 'instead of focusing on this, focus on this.'"

In a world of constant connectivity via technology and social media, it can be difficult for people to take time to relax their mind completely, but Hull said it's important to care of their mental health, just like a spa session or good workout is good for your physical health. 

"You can't overload your mind and expect it's going to be okay, it's like overloading your body with junk food," she said, adding it generally happens where people are overwhelmed and stressed out because there mind needs some care. 

"Meditation is the equivalent of a really good stretch, or going to the spa for your body or a massage. It's not always easy at first but eventually it can become that place of solitude and peace. It's the same if you haven't worked out for five years."

Hull said she was drawn to meditation about a decade ago while experienceing pain during her previous work as a personal trainer, where she had to do posture therapy, which requires sitting still for extended periods of time.

She began to realize she found it difficult to sit still and not occupy the mind, so she gave meditation a try and worked well for her. 

The mission of the studio, according to Hull, is to bring people together to calm their minds in an accessible and non-judgemental space.

"We wanted to create something in the middle of the city...and be an oasis people can escape to help them with the stresses they may be having with work, daylife, family, whatever it may be," she said. 

Meditation is really for everyone and everyone does it for a different reason and everyone can relate to feeling stressed or overwhelmed and needing a tool to help with that."

Hull said the business has been successful so far because of the central location on Sparks Street and for their ability to adapt to what customers want and need to relax. 

The trio hopes to expand worldwide but still "formulating the recipe," Hull said. 

"We know it's all changed our own lives and had such a powerful impact for us, so we know it's having a powerful impact for members and that's really the most we think about at this point," she said. 

"It's like just having a baby and someone asking you when you're having the next one," she said with a laugh. 

Those looking for more information on classes at The Peace Room can find more information on their website or stop by their lone location at 183 Sparks St. 




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