We’re interrupting the coronavirus/small business coverage briefly, to bring you our regular entrepreneur Friday with Luke McLeod, who is the founder of Soul Alive. The meditation startup is bringing calmness into a world of panic and uncertainty… so it’s particularly relevant right now with the coronavirus pandemic escalating across the world.
With meditation and self-care on the rise, Luke wanted to give people an easy and accessible way to relax, finding a the gap in the market and slotting in somewhere between in-person classes and pre-recorded material.
Through his consulting company, Soul Consulting, Luke has worked with major companies such as AMEX, IAG and LuluLemon, and now he’s excited to launch this new division of Soul Alive to compliment the HR project work that he is known for with his clients.
We couldn’t think of a better-fitting entrepreneur and startup to interview this week, with the current state of the world, and how much of a necessity this type of offering will and is becoming.
Luke has recently launched an employee set-up for companies to use, and he talks about this, as well as his journey in founding the company and his views concerning mental health in the workplace, in our interview below.
What was your inspiration for Soul Alive?
I wanted to offer the public a way to start meditating in an accessible yet supportive and affordable way. I noticed that the current meditation services available were either the pre-recorded meditation apps. These were great when it came to the fact that they are very accessible, but I found they really lacked support and guidance.
Or, on the other end of the spectrum was having to go to a bricks and mortar studio of some type to practice. They generally offered great support, guidance and a sense of community, but can also be fairly expensive and inconvenient at times. Soul Alive sits right in the middle of these two. You get the convenience and affordability of an app yet also the support and guidance as each class is live-streamed with an experienced teacher.
How has mental health/meditation played a role in your personal and professional life?
I actually first begun meditating just over 10 years ago to help me with work as I read that a lot of people I looked up to in the business and sporting world e.g. Steve Jobs, Muhammad Ali, were regular meditators. I found it did help me concentrate for longer and I didn’t procrastinate as much. It was until about 5 years ago when a series of events in my life broke down in a short period of time when I really turned to it to help me out through that time. The thing I valued so much about it at that time was that it made me realise that no matter how bad things got, I could also fall back on my meditation practice and find some peace.
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What are your concerns with mental health?
The more I see anxiety and stress rising around me in everyone, the more baffled I am as to why more people aren’t trying meditation… Stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide and the science is conclusive. Those that meditate regularly are mentally healthier and less stressed. That’s why I try to put a big focus on breaking down the barriers to start meditating. Making it as easy and accessible as possible. Yes, we are becoming more open to the idea of giving meditation a go, but we’ve still got a long way to go.
What do your customers have to say about Soul Alive? Any case studies or examples you can talk us through?
It’s probably best if you take their word for it over mine. There’s a bunch of feedback from members on the Soul Alive home page that you can check out. But one recent incident did hit me. One mother said she played the class aloud with her son who has ADHD and said that after the session he was at the calmest she’s ever seen and was able to have one of the most restful nights sleep she’s had in a long time That really warmed my heart and something I would have never expected.
One thing I’m also really excited about is the corporate offering we’ve recently launched. This will enable businesses to give the staff the ability to try meditation in an accessible, easy manner. We’ve worked closely in a more consultive, face-to-face manner with the likes of AMEX, IAG and Lululemon, so we’ve thrilled to offer them and similar businesses a more scalable solution.