Alaina Phillips is the founder of Aurora, an online global community of grief experts, yoga teachers and writers connecting grief and emotionally focussed yoga together in one place.
“Ultimately grief is personal, but it’s universal. Everybody has experienced or will experience grief, and therefore I think it’s really vital that we create a space where people can navigate their way through those situations.”
What is Aurora?
The business is an online subscription platform bringing together a plethora of pre-recorded yoga and meditation video content from experts alongside audio resources, articles and guides on how to navigate grief and love.
“We want to really push through conversations about how you deal with loss, bring it more into conversation and support people that are going through that.”
All of the content is informed by research, and is focused on being what people need, when they need it, making yoga and meditation as accessible as possible.
Alaina knows that for people experiencing grief or struggling with mental health, regular time to commit to a class or in-person session can feel really unattainable.
So much of wellbeing is about showing up and giving as much as you can, and Aurora really embraces this, giving people the tools and the support to engage in their own time.
“When you’re in crisis, trying to commit to a class it’s quite overwhelming. Being able to break things down and know that even if you just lie down or even if you sit and breathe you’re still doing something that’s still benefiting you.”
Alaina’s Founder Journey
Alaina’s background is in advertising and production, and when the industry shut down during the pandemic she turned to an online qualification learning how to teach yoga.
This ended up being a transformative experience, and after she began to teach there was no going back. It had almost been inevitable, with the influence of her dad and the memory of him running his own business a constant spark of inspiration.
“That was quite a big factor, when you see somebody that has been doing it or has done it, it gives you that spark, that it is possible to not go down the conventional way all the time.”
The death of her father, and her own experiences with grief, informed the trajectory of the business and solidified her desire to foster a community dedicated to the grief journey, bringing together healing strategies for the mind, body, and soul.
Finding the Hatch Programme
It was a search for funding opportunities that brought Alaina to Hatch, and she ended up joining a Launchpad programme. Despite her focus being access to funding, Alaina ended up getting a lot more out of the programme than she expected.
“I came to know more about funding, which I do now, but I left knowing a lot more about my own business than I expected.”
Alongside this was the experience of learning and growing alongside a cohort of like minded founders.
“It’s so lonely, especially sitting in your four walls constantly wanting something to work. It was really interesting to meet people that were in a similar space but that weren’t exactly the same as well because even that prompted me to have more ideas about what I might do in the future.”
Growing the Business
Alongside the existing content available from teachers all over the world, Alaina has aspirations to bring in live content to supplement Aurora’s resources as the business grows.
She is conscious of the challenges that business growth brings, both in terms of funding and balancing her own time, and is committed to prioritising her own wellbeing and being mindful of what she takes on.
“You want to keep it going but I equally know for my own wellbeing I can’t continually work.
“In the early stages I was very impatient: I wanted to launch, I wanted to pitch for investment, I wanted to do everything at the same time.
“I think what I learned along the way is there’s a push and pull of that. My impatience drives me and the business forward, but equally I’m at the mercy of many other factors.”
Being a Founder
Ultimately, despite its challenges, Alaina has found real freedom and fulfilment in running her own business. When asked about her favourite thing about being an entrepreneur, she shared:
“Knowing that no matter what stage this business is at, there are people that believe in it as much as I do. And so I have to have the faith that one day it will really hit the vision that I have for it.”
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