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Interview: 889 Community Co-founder, Emily Ridout

889 Community Co-Founder and longtime Summerhill Club client, Emily Ridout, knows a thing or two about self-care. After recently celebrating her yoga studio + wellness centre's 10th anniversary, and doing so in the thick of raising three littles, we checked in with the blonde beauty to see how she keeps calm and cool. From dishing on her morning routine, getting real about meditation and telling us why essential oils are non-negotiable when it comes to raising her brood, we could all learn a thing or two from this entrepreneurial lifestyle guru.

What is 889 Community and how did it come to fruition?

889 Community [formally 889 Yoga] began when Christine - my sister and business partner - and I we were both living in different parts of the world and had begun practicing yoga as a way to meet people and be part of a community. When we both came home one summer, we decided that we wanted to find something similar in Toronto, but at the time that didn’t exist, so what did we do? We decided that we wanted to start our own business! We had always talked about going into business together and the 889 Community was born out of a desire to have a space where we could go and practice yoga as a beginner and lower-intermediate. We really wanted to fuse it with lifestyle products and practices that we love, so the 889 shop was born at the same time. Now we’re a community with thousands of people, and really it’s a home away from home for a lot of people.

You offer prenatal yoga to soon-to-be moms. What are the benefits of prenatal yoga and why is it important for you to offer these classes?

Prenantal yoga is an amazing thing for women because it’s a great way to take an hour out of your day and connect with the fact that you are pregnant. We also offer prenantal pilates classes which are a wonderful way to prepare the body and strengthen the body for birth – to really integrate the pelvis. So, prenantal yoga and prenantal pilates is an awesome way to connect with your body, connect with your breath, connect with your baby and also connect with other women who are going through the same thing.

Beyond prenatal yoga, do you offer any classes that are baby or kid-friendly?

We also offer postnatal yoga and pilates classes, which is a really nice transition for moms who sometimes can feel quite isolated after giving birth. When you have your baby you can come back after six weeks and bring your baby with you. It’s a wonderful way to begin the process of slow recovery for the body after birth, but also to connect with your baby and meet other moms and their babies. I absolutely love it when moms and babies come into 889 – it’s like a stroller parking lot. The babies can come to the classes with their mom until they crawl, so it’s quite a large chunk of time where moms can come and rest, heal and look forward to every week together.

You’ve recently made guided meditations available for anyone to access online. What made you want to extend this to the greater community?

Well, it was really out of necessity. Christine and I teach meditation regularly to private groups at 889 and in people’s homes and what we were finding, especially me specifically, is that people wanted quick technology – they wanted a meditation that they could do at home for five to 10 minutes. You can download them off of our website; we have a channel as well on Soundcloud where you can access our meditations and we also host a meditations every Friday at 11am with Jaya Leigh Bowen. I truly believe that taking five minutes of time everyday to hit the reset button and come into alignment with yourself is the way you’re really going to thrive in your life. We can burn the candle at both ends so much and we tend to overextend ourselves, especially moms and women, and meditation is a very fast technology to come back into centre and really show up in the world as you truly are.

Yoga and meditation are rooted in mindfulness. How do your practices at the studio carry over into your everyday family life?

I like to bring all of my practices into my everyday life, which is why I’m obsessed with quick technology like meditation and essential oils. A lot of us grew up in a time when taking care of yourself – you know, going to the spa and having a facial or going for a workout, was really luxurious and it was something that we had to earn for ourselves. The modern day world is so different, and for me to be able to show up from my highest place, self-care is number one. And I can observer it! When I sit and observe myself and my behaviour, and the way my children are behaving specifically, it's deeply rooted and connected to my personal practice. So, when my personal practice falls off to the wayside or if I don’t make exercising a priority, everything else kind of falls apart and I can actually observe it happening.

You’re also a doTERRA consultant. Why do you like essential oils and how do you use them?

Essential oils have literally changed my life. I have been absolutely blown away by how quickly essential oils work on us and how passive the action is of actually using them in terms of effort. I started using them because they smelled good – I cleaned my house with them and started using them for sleep (they are unbelievable for sleep), and I have never had more personal evolution in a year and a half than I have since beginning to use the oils. Then I started to use them on my kids and I noticed that I’m able to get ahead of my children’s emotions. My two older children have begun to self-regulate with oils and sooth themselves. My third child is literally an oil baby and I can’t begin to tell you how different it is having the oils on hand all of the time and using the oils on her, compared to my other two who didn’t have the oils as babies. I feel so honoured and proud to be able to go out into the world and get these oils into as many households as possible, so that children can grow up and learn how to self-regulate; learn how to self-sooth and to really connect with nature on a deeper level and understand that life can be the most joyful thing, and that we do have ways that we can deal with stress and anxiety and get ahead of it. So, I could go on and on about essential oils!

Running a business and raising three littles is no small feat. What’s your morning ritual?

The first thing I do is wake up at five [am]. I put on the same outfit every morning, a comfortable outfit - a sweatshirt, leggings. I head downstairs and have my morning cleansing routine, which is lemon water with doTERRA oil, and then I take some of my metabolic and digestive supplements and I start brewing my Chaga tea. I step on to my mat and do a gentle movement practice to wake up my body and muscles; I do about 15-30 minute of gentle movement practice, followed by a 15 – 30 minute meditation. I have my tea, which is Chaga tea with a tablespoon of grass-fed butter, a drop of cinnamon or peppermint essential oil and a coconut oil brain octane. Then I move into the most productive hour of my day for my business, an hour of going through my inbox. This is the only time of day that I'm on my email and it’s actually created a great system for me because I’ve now let go of reading emails throughout the day. Then I’ll hop on to my private oils community on Facebook and I’ll pop in some inspiration for my team. Then I go upstairs, wake my kids up and we all sit down as a family for breakfast. I drop them off at school and then I start my day.

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