Ahead of their takeover at The Kitchen Garden, Re:Mind co-founder Yulia Kovaleva gives the low-down on keeping calm in SW1
What is the concept behind Re:Mind?
Originally we just wanted to open a small meditation studio; somewhere you could come in and do your own practice. As we [Yulia and business partner Carla von Anhalt] started thinking about the project and developing it, we wanted to create more of a community. That’s where the teachers come in. We don’t really use the term teachers, we call them Calmers. We’re an eco-shop as well – everything you see you can buy and everything is carefully sourced and has a natural element. The blankets are all recycled wool made from old sweaters, the kitchen counter is recycled glass and all the doors are made from reclaimed, chemical-free wood.
When did you get into meditation?
It was about nine years ago now. I had come out of a bad relationship and I was just trying things out. It was the first time I started getting into health and wellness. I had really bad cystic acne all over my cheeks and nothing was helping, I knew it was stress, and I just started searching for something. I started getting into transcendental meditation which is where you meditate with a mantra and then I started other courses as well.
Do you find that people are more receptive to meditation these days?
Definitely. I used to hide it – if I had a friend staying over I wouldn’t meditate, I was too embarrassed! The reason why I felt this push to start working on the project is because all of my friends started learning it. I definitely think people are more interested in alternative medicine and holistic practices as well.
What advice would you give to someone who has never done meditation before and is maybe a bit sceptical?
Be open, don’t have any crazy expectations. Sound healing is a lot easier for beginners because you don’t follow a guided meditation, you’re listening to a sound, almost as if you’re listening to a concert, and the instruments have quite pure sounds – they emit certain frequencies by themselves which resonate with your body so it kind of switches everything off naturally, you don’t have to do anything!
What kind of classes do you offer at Re:Mind?
We do a lot of sound healing, reiki energy healing and some traditional Buddhism-based meditation. The idea was to bring all the offerings together so that people can come in, try all the classes and see what works, what doesn’t work; experiment, try different teachers. Most of them have done a lot of different trainings so each of their styles is already very special.
How long are the classes?
Thirty minutes to one hour. We try to schedule shorter ones in the morning and lunchtime and all the evening classes are an hour long. I think that a few years ago, people had very different lifestyles where they could fit in a 20 minute, twice-a-day meditation practice. It really worked around the 9-5 schedule. But now people literally work all the time, 24/7. I wanted to create something that fits more of this lifestyle. Meditation can be about helping with regular stress and coping with day-to-day life but it also has other aspects to it where you just become more aware of things, more conscious of what you’re doing, what you’re doing to yourself, to your body, and to everyone else around you.
Re:Mind will be hosting taster meditation sessions at the Kitchen Garden pop-up from 3–8 September. Tickets cost just £5 per person, with all proceeds going to charity. Click here to book your place