Jennifer Thompson, Exhale Therapy Services
Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Belleville, Ontario and moved to London for University. I completed yoga training while completing my undergraduate degree in Social Justice and Peace studies. I proceeded to complete my Master of Social Work at Laurier University. During my schooling, I was practicing yoga and coaching gymnastics among other physical activities. In my career, I found myself mostly working in child welfare with particular interest developing in the mental health field.
Throughout my twenties, I spent time traveling and backpacking various countries. I would travel for yoga trainings and follow various teachers. I found myself wanting to make the shift to help others with personal struggles by creating a hybrid approach to wellness. The yoga world has really influenced my direction in life and my career path. I continue to teach yoga for New Leaf Foundation. It is a non-profit organization focused on bringing yoga to youth. I also teach yoga at Moksha Yoga London focusing on mindfulness, power yoga, and vinyasa (flow yoga).
Wellness and health is a pivotal focus in my life from being a gymnast, soccer player, runner, yogi, and weight lifter, but also in the form of mental wellness. Developing a meditation practice and mindfulness practice is very important for me to manage my own stress and to live more authentically rather than rushing through my day-to-day activities.
Tell us about your business.
I opened my private practice called Exhale Therapy Services in 2014, combining traditional therapy with therapeutic yoga and mindfulness. Since then, I have facilitated groups and workshops dedicated to helping individuals with anxiety, stress, and depression. I have a wide range of clients from kids to retirees. I work with individuals and families in a therapeutic and relaxing setting that is conducive to personal growth and healing. I lease office space in London and my clients attend for 1-1.5 hour sessions. On average, I see roughly 20-25 clients a week and spend several hours focused on consultations, note taking, invoicing, and research.
My approach to counselling is very different than most traditional forms of therapy. Depending on the client, I often use tools to help teach ways to manage stress and distress. This is where therapeutic yoga, breathing exercises, mindfulness, and meditation are extremely helpful.
As a busy entrepreneur, what do you like to do when you take a break?
It has taken me a couple years to get into the groove with balancing my schedule. It is important to complete my work and find a rhythm in my days so that I am not working crazy long hours. Now that I have set a more balanced schedule for myself, I include booking time off. I find it really helpful to book a week or up to a month off in order to travel. I find it grounding and it helps me remember what is important in my life. It keeps my mind open to possibilities and also that work is only one aspect of my life, not all of it. It gives me perspective.
Is there anything currently happening in the London business community that excites you?
As a young woman in the business world, it is encouraging to see how many women in London are entrepreneurs. There is a lot of networking and support from women in the London area and it continues to grow and develop. There is a lot of talent in the area and a lot of encouragement for community to be developed and harnessed. I find it exciting to know that there are like-minded, strong, and savvy business women that hold good values in the London area.