16 Oct Wellness with Laura Sage
a collection of chats with various experts on their definition of wellness.
Meet Laura Sage. She’s the co-founder and CEO of Chill Chicago, a studio in Chicago specializing in meditation and mindfulness. Previously employed at a hedge fund, Laura knew how fleeting the finance industry could be and began planning her next step. Trying to find an outlet for stress (besides rosé), Laura followed the inspiration of a cousin well-versed in meditation and opened Chill in 2017.
In addition to bringing the zen back to the city, Laura also co-founded and runs one of the largest breast cancer foundations in Chicago, The Lynn Sage Foundation, in honor of her mother.
The resident expert on keeping one’s cool, Laura sat down with us to talk about mindfulness, wellness and the polarizing nature of being the busiest person in the meditation industry.
Tell us a little about yourself.
“I’m a native Chicagoan, I was born and raised in downtown. I used to be in the finance business before starting Chill Chicago where I’m currently the CEO. At Chill, we always say that our mission is to help people live less stressed, more mindful lives. My other job is that I run a non-profit organization called The Lynn Sage Foundation that raises money for breast cancer research in honor of my mom who passed away from breast cancer.”
What an incredible way to honor your mom. So, where did the motivation to open Chill come from?
“I was stressed out. I don’t think I was anymore stressed than the average working professional, but I wanted an outlet that was something other than a glass of rosé. I’d rather have a drink to celebrate, not to calm my nerves, so I needed to find another outlet for when I was feeling anxious. I had a cousin who’s a very devoted meditator. And every time I’d see him, we’d talk about meditation and he always got me excited about it. Then I’d google “meditation places in Chicago” but there was never a place that resonated with me. There were a bunch of places rooted in different aspects of spirituality and I wanted someplace that was just middle of the road for the average person. That’s why at Chill, if we have to commit to anything, we say we’re rooted in mindfulness.”
What would a class look like for someone who’s just getting started in meditation?
“One of our most popular classes is half yoga and half meditation. Yoga is a form of moving meditation and it turns out that a lot of people find it hard to sit for 20-30 minutes, so meditation becomes intimidating. The movement from yoga gives them something to think about and is an easier transition into sitting meditation.”
What does wellness mean to you?
“Wellness means something that’s good for you. Simple as that. Whether it be physical, mental or soulful, it’s something that’s beneficial to you. For me, having a morning routine is essential for my mental health.”
Can you describe your morning routine?
“I just moved to a new home with my family and we got a new puppy, so my routine is completely different. And also having a startup and a non-profit, every day is completely different. But I always wake up early, usually to take the puppy for a walk and grab a latte. I also like to write down what I’m grateful for, then I like to visualize. Some people say manifest but I’m not there yet, so I write what I’d like to see visualized. It could be for the day or for the year, but it’s basically goal setting. Then I’ll do anywhere from a five minute to half an hour meditation. That way before I really start my day, I’ve meditated, done my goal setting and completed that gratitude exercise that’s pretty powerful.”
Between balancing a business and an organization, it sounds like your day can get hectic. So, how?
“I’m pretty food conscious, but I’m also not a big grocery shopper, so a quick and nutritious meal for my family I can grab on-the-go is perfect. Foxtrot’s in my flight path, I always go to the Hubbard location, the location on Wells, and even Southport. Also, the studio is not conducive for business meetings, so we like to have people come tour the studio and then go somewhere, sit down, have a coffee and talk. Since there’s a Foxtrot store down the street from Chill, it works out perfectly.”
What are some of your favorite products?
See the rest of Laura’s wellness favorites by checking them out here.
A huge thanks to Laura for taking the time to talk to us. If you’re feeling inspired to find some zen, we highly recommend checking out Chill Chicago.