When Mindfulness ‘Clicks’ Great Things (& Businesses) Happen
by Kiki Athanas
May 02, 2018
Sometimes it takes a ‘breakdown’ to build a startup...
That’s exactly what happened before sisters Lizelle and Janelle Marpa teamed up to create House of Marpa - a lifestyle brand that not only creates products to support a mindfulness meditation practice, but also intends to spread awareness of the benefits associated with a mindfulness practice through experiential workshops that pair everyday activities with mindfulness practices.
But it wasn’t always airy-fairy ‘being in your body and your breath’ fun times. While the sisters worked in very different industry’s (dental hygiene and fashion), both were desperate to find new ways to cope with life. That’s when they took the Foundations of Applied Mindfulness Meditation certificate program at the University of Toronto - and something “clicked”.
Finally, they were able to implement and truly reap the benefits of the practice of Mindfulness and Mindfulness Meditation, and knew they had to share it with as many people as possible.
I sat down with the sisters at their most recent ‘Winefulness’ event hosted at The Spoke Club in Toronto to understand exactly how this ‘mindfulness transforming your life for the better’ thing works…
“I think, at least in my own experiences, it all comes down to reconnecting with breath.” Janelle explains.
Many of us are workaholics and live a lot of our lives in fairly toxic work environments - paying attention to your breath can get lost along the way.
Janelle suggests practicing a 3 part breath for anyone who needs to reconnect with their self and their full bodies. It works like this:
- Breathe in for 3 breaths
- Hold for 3
- Breathe out for 3
- Hold for 3
- ...and repeat
Lizelle, the self-proclaimed A-type, had tried meditation in the past the ‘classic’ way: in Bali with a shaman, but it just didn’t work for her.
“I couldn’t do it. Just to stay in a quiet space for an hour or more ‘meditating’ was impossible for me”.
With a background in Distance education, the idea of Mindfulness in Education really resonated with Lizelle, so she decided to give it another shot with a slightly different approach - by taking the course offered at U of T.
Finally, it clicked*.
*Lizelle notes that the neuroscience behind it really helped her ‘digest’ the material and instill it into her own life.
“I no longer 'disasterize' situations, and I can separate myself from my emotions.”
I think that’s the main takeaway here: the acknowledgement that emotions are just in the present moment, and that they don’t define you. When you step back and realize YOU are not your depression, guilt, heartache, etc., and have faith that this too shall pass, life is a whole lot sweeter. Now before you leave this post thinking that all this ‘mindfulness stuff’ is just for women or only relates to “yogi’s” - think again. The Marpa sisters are on a mission to not only bring mindfulness into our everyday lives, they want to make it clear that mindfulness is forEVERYONE...despite how it’s often marketed with a female-flare.
We can all benefit from self check-ins, mindful breathwork, and the power of separating oneself from one’s emotions.