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UNIT NINE'S 5 mins with our favourites - Steph Scott founder of Lovesweats

We are so lucky to be working with Steph Scott and the amazing company she founded in 2016 Lovesweats.  The company’s mission is to help tackle social isolation and enable others to do the same! They do this through collaborations, yoga and healthy practices.

Tell us more about what Lovesweats does?

The underlying goal of all of our projects is to use yoga and collaborations to help draw people out of social isolation and into a community. The approach differs depending on the project.

For example, with one of our initiatives we collaborate with NFP organisations like The Wayside Chapel, Vinnies, Rough Threads and Homeless Connect to bring yoga to their communities. A lot of these individuals are experiencing significant marginalisation and burdened with the societal stigma attached to their current situation - be it homelessness, addiction, sexual orientation or mental illness. I think the project can impact people in different ways. One of my regular students is homeless and tries the restorative poses at night to help him get to sleep. Another student who recently completed a stint in jail said that whenever she was feeling anxious or angry at herself she would focus on the things we had practised like breath and observation of the thoughts without judgement. Another guy has a bit of a dodgy knee so tends to chill-out in savasana for most of the class, looking forward to the mini massage at the end. For everyone though, I think the project creates connection. It's a space for people to come and feel respected, valued and equal regardless of what's going on outside.

Another exciting project that we're working on is ‘Sweat for the Good Stuff’ (SFGS). We're actually growing this one at the moment! The concept is to create innovative opportunities for individuals and businesses to give back to the world in a way that is sustainable for them. Basically, we’re going to be in a better position to help others if we are acknowledging what we need to be happy and healthy in our own lives. For the project, we partner with local businesses and host regular yoga and meditation classes in their space, run by SFGS teachers. The classes are affordable and accessible ($15 pp) to the local community and we encourage all experience levels to come along and join in. We then use the large portion of the profits from every class to support local organisations and programs that draw people out of social isolation. To date, we have supported a whole range of things from mental health surf therapy, support services for the homeless, yoga for vulnerable communities, suicide prevention research, and school programs that break down the stigma surrounding mental health. This model gives everyone involved an opportunity to give back in a sustainable way by utilising their existing resources and skills.        

Why did you decide to start Lovesweats?

When I moved to Sydney about 5 years ago, I started volunteering at The Wayside Chapel, provide their visitors with fresh clothing, support and generally just having a chat. When I got my Yoga Teacher Training in 2015 I pitched the idea of running yoga classes as part of their twilight program. The Twilight program is a range of activities like music, sport or crafts that are run between 4-7pm. This is a time when people living on the street can be most at risk of suicidal thoughts and loneliness. Since then I have run programs with Wayside in Kings Cross and Bondi, Vinnies Ozanam Learning Centre, Homeless Connect and Rough Threads. Lovesweats has evolved from there with new projects and collaborations like Sweat for the Good Stuff enabling us get more people involved in the initiative and grow in a more sustainable way.

What is next for you?

I’d love to expand the Sweat for the Good Stuff project to locations across Australia over the next 12 months and raise enough funding on a monthly basis to be able to invest in specific programs and in turn have a more measurable impact. I’m also keen to explore and get a bit creative with the types of classes we run through the project. Focusing on the importance of indulging in self-care and finding that balance of giving back to yourself and giving back to the world. At the moment, one idea I’m thinking is yin woven with mini massages (I am slightly massage obsessed though haha).

How can people get involved with your company?

If you’re in Sydney, come along to one of our Sweat for the Good Stuff sessions. We are currently running them at The Grounds, SUNSTUDIOS and Peaches Pilates. We are also launching new ones at Carriageworks (Yep - you will soon be able to go to yoga then straight to brunch at Carriageworks Farmers Markets) and kicking off first week of spring at The Greens North Sydney.

Whether it’s our hosts like The Grounds, yoga teachers, brands like Unit Nine who have provided mats, or our Not for Project partners - our projects are built on collaborations. I am always open to new ideas so feel free to reach out to me for a chat if you would like to find out more or are keen to work together in one way or another.

Where do you get your sweat on?

Mainly BodyMindLife or I like to head down to the beach for a run or yoga sesh outdoors! I am also really keen to get into ocean swimming, I bought goggles two summers ago but am yet to actually start. Hopefully third time’s a charm!

Nimbus and Co is also a goodie if I want to get my sweat on while reading a book, hanging with a mate or chilling out to music. A sauna sesh there is super relaxing.

Where is your favourite spot to refuel?

I’m a bit of a creature of habit! I pretty much always go to Bru for their delish coffee (they also have bacon for the dogs which makes our frenchie Alf pretty happy too). The fritters or pho from the markets is a weekend fav and then the crispy tofu salad at Bondi’s Best is also a regular go-to meal!

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