Tucked away, from the hustle and bustle of the main streets of Wynwood is a community center working to change the way Miamians see the world. Love Life Wellness Center opened two years ago with a specific mission: inspire people to wake-up each morning and love life.
Co-founded by Veronica Menin, the concept for the center was brought on by her own journey for self-love. Following a break-up, Menin committed to putting an end to the outside influences affecting her self-outlook. This started her down the path to inner love, beginning with healthy eating through a vegan diet.
“I learned to be more mindful about other living beings and the environment. Choosing what I put on my plate affected the way I treated others and the way I wanted to live my life,” says Menin. “It was a domino effect and from there everything began to fall into place.”
During this time, yoga teacher Megan Elizabeth, approached Menin with the idea of partnering-up to open a studio together. Around the same time, the third partner of Love Life Wellness Center, Diego Tosoni, presented an idea of a café to fuel the body and soul. And with this, Life Life Wellness Center took form.
From the start, Menin envisioned the center as a place where she could be every day, interacting one-on-one with patrons, and creating a true community where people could get a full circle experience, knowledge and education.
“My dream was to bring together people that were creating other conscious, amazing things in the community, to share their knowledge,” Menin explains. “I wanted to touch upon all different sides of life – food, exercise, spirituality – all of it working together is the most efficient way to make a change in someone’s life.”
The day I was at Love Life Wellness Center I saw first-hand the inspiring energy a community can bring. In one part of the center a group of students were participating in the Yoga Training program. All huddled around one of the communal tables located in the center of the space, studying, conversing, questioning and debating. While other folks were sprinkled throughout the large area, feeding off the environment as they worked on laptops, using the center’s free Wi-Fi, and others still were enjoying the delicious bites from the café.
I questioned why creating a community was so important to her. She explained that through years of studying as a health coach, she has seen the positive effect that being part of a community can have on people. In fact, Dr. Emma Seppala from Stanford’s Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE) says that “when connection with others is present, it can boost mental and physical health, and even increase immunity and longevity.” As this belief is a pillar of the Love Life Wellness Center, Menin and team strive to connect individuals that want to love themselves, to eat well, to take care of their body, their spirit; creating a space that gives off a feeling of comfort and belonging.
When asked what her future vision is for the center, Menin explains that “the goal is to provide different things throughout the day from acupuncture, to meditation, to a start-up 101 class, education on how to get energized in the middle of the day, and so on. So, when people sit here to work they are getting other tools to help their life.”
Additionally, Menin is beginning to branch out, developing an outpatient program for people in recovery from addiction. The outpatient program will center around yoga, meditation and nutrition and will be led by a clinical therapist, helping patients get back on their feet.
The café is also blossoming; an entity that started out with as a simple idea of serving smoothies, wraps and acai bowls. Having evolved into a full kitchen, available across the many local delivery platforms, Tosoni, who leads this part of the center, creates the menu around the things he loves to eat and wants to share with others.
Starting out as wanting to have a positive impact on the world, Menin and company have developed the center into a place where people can connect with other individuals that want to love themselves, to eat well, to take care of their body, and their spirit. A space that gives off a feeling of comfort and belonging.
Menin believes that whatever you do, if you do it with an open heart and gratitude, and appreciate every moment, you can love your life the way it is presented to you right now. That, she says, is what happiness really means.