Toronto: Where Hollywood Can Escape the Festival Frenzy With Meditation

Courtesy of Subject

Just a short walk from Bell Lightbox, a local spot offers an oasis of mindfulness during the stress of screenings.

TIFF isn't just the unofficial launch of awards season. It's also a time for the industry to shake off the lazy days of summer and launch headlong into 10 days of meetings, screenings and parties that can leave the body and mind feeling depleted. Recharging is essential, and one of the most effective methods can be found in mindfulness meditation.

"Stillness and connecting with yourself can have such a profound positive impact," says Carolyn Plater, co-founder of Hoame Meditation Studio. A short walk from Bell Lightbox, Hoame offers guided meditations that last from 30 minutes ($23) to an hour ($28) and can be booked online or by phone (walk-ins also are welcome). The studio is the official meditation partner of Soho House Toronto and offers meditation services through that organization's app.

The studio also will host a meditation pop-up at this year's Mongrel House event, a four-night blowout hosted by Mongrel Media, the Canadian distributor of Rian Johnson's TIFF entry Knives Out. Mongrel director of marketing Danish Vahidy is eager for guests to experience mindfulness firsthand, and is himself a daily practitioner. "It is important for people to step back and take a mental break," says Vahidy. "Fifteen minutes of mindfulness can help you regain focus and cope with all the pressures the film industry brings."

If getting away for a guided meditation during the fest isn't an option, Plater recommends a quick one- or two-minute breathing exercise to counter festival stress. Breathe in through the nose for a count of three, hold for a further count of three, and then release through the mouth for another three. Says Plater: "You have everything you need within you to feel well."

This story first appeared in the Sept. 4 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.