Meditation

sit, sake & cider Tuesday!

On Tuesday, join us for a lil' gathering.

We're hosting a sit, followed by sake and and mulled cider. 

It's a fall meditation party :).

First we'll sit with the extraordinary John Baker, co-founder and teacher at Naropa University in Boulder. John is an author and editor of Buddhist texts and a super-experienced teacher who's led many month-long retreats (don't worry, just 30 minutes Tuesday!).

We'll gather at a brand-new spa that just opened in my brownstone in the West Village (I know, what are the chances!?) so you can peak around at the infrarad saunas and more.

After the meditation we'll head upstairs to my place, where we'll serve delicious sake (all natural, non-GMO and gluten-free) and make mulled cider, too.

We're so excited to invite you to a sit, with sake and cider to celebrate our last Tuesday evening meditation:

click here to join us

Yay see you Tuesday,
Dina

learn to manifest

"What we cannot imagine, cannot come into being" 

Tuesday evening, we invite you to join us for a meditation to imagine ..

And help manifest ..

Whatever you want to bring into your life.

click here to join us

Meditation and yoga master Marlie McGovern will guide us, and we'll gather at 7pm in our beautiful home at The Standard, East Village.  

click here to join us

This is our third to last Tuesday evening meditation, so we warmly welcome you to join us. We'll have delicious ZICO on hand and .. it will be better with you!

Cheers to expansion and see you Tuesday,
Dina

p.s. Marlie helps lead our meditation teacher training program, which we just sold out! SO excited to welcome everyone this weekend for our opening retreat!

p.p.s. Marlie also runs a restorative yoga teacher training program, and I have to say .. to have someone so knowledgable in both yoga & meditation is a gift. I'm excited for Tuesday myself :). 

here's how to make better decisions

Hey there — I'm excited to invite you to something special this Tuesday (9/26). Here are FOUR great reasons to join us at 7pm: 

  1. First .. for the first time .. we'll enjoy a wonderful half hour meditation guided by Dr. Keith Blechman. Keith is a surgeon who graduated from our first teacher training program and who now teaches mindfulness to doctors across the country. He's super humble (not a word commonly associated with surgeons, I know!), and his story of wanting to spread mindfulness in the medical community is really inspiring. Yay to Keith guiding The Path for the first time!
  2. After Keith's meditation we're excited to welcome author Cheryl Einhorn to speak about her new book, Problem Solved. Cheryl is an EXPERT in teaching people to make better decisions in all areas of their lives, including jobs, romance and more. On Tuesday, she'll share her special technique to help people make thoughtful, confident decisions - join us to hear more!
  3. We'll gather in a new spot Tuesday, a beautiful co-working space called Industrious .. that's super convenient, RIGHT on Union Square.
  4. AND to give you no excuse not to join, we're offering everyone at The Path half off the meditation this Tuesday and including the talk for free. Yes we're feeling generous and giving, because Tuesday is going to be awesome :).

click here to join us Tuesday (use the code "path" for 50% off) 

image via Welcome Earth

image via Welcome Earth

And, wow, a huge thank you to everyone who joined us for Robert Thurman last week. What a night! Thank you for adding your warmth and beautiful energy to a truly special evening.

We <heart> you and can't wait to be part of another great gathering this Tuesday.

Cheers to you,
Dina

p.s. Yes we're really offering 50% off our meditation and the talk on making better decisions Tuesday(which will be great). Click here to join us! 

 

something new this Tuesday + meditation teacher training!

Our Tuesday teacher, Curtis Smith&nbsp;

Our Tuesday teacher, Curtis Smith 

We're BEAMING with pride about an invite we have for you this Tuesday. 

For the first time ever we've invited a graduate of our teacher training program .. to guide us in meditation. 

Join us Tuesday for a very special meditation

Some things will be the same. You'll be surrounded by great people, we'll be at The Standard, and you'll be invited to stay after the sit to hang and meet other mindful New Yorkers.

But what's different and SO inspiring about this Tuesday, is that we've asked Curtis Smith to guide us. Curtis graduated this past winter from the meditation teacher training program we run with Nalanda Institute and Pure Yoga.

Admittedly, Curtis Smith was amazing before we met him. He helps run and teaches at a school in the third lowest performing district in NYC. With work, care and now daily meditation, thanks to Curtis, he and the other teachers have helped transform the school into one of the highest performing middle schools in Brooklyn

OMG so inspiring. 

He's not the only one who makes us kvell (nod to my Jewish grandmother). 

Kristin Westbrook from our last class of graduates created Calm City, a mobile RV (no joke) that rides around NYC offering people a moment of meditation and .. as she says .. "street food for your mind." (And she was just featured in the Wall Street Journal. Go Kristin)!

Keith Blechman, a surgeon, now teaches meditation at hospitals, medical facilities, and conferences around the country to help his fellow surgeons and doctors be more mindful (um, yes, super important). 

A veteran who graduated from our program is now spreading the practice to fellow veterans and helping those suffering from PTSD.

And these are just a few of the stories...

On Tuesday, we invite you to join us for our first graduate to ever lead The Path.

And we should mention... Curtis doesn't just teach his kids to meditate, but also how to teach meditation.

The students themselves now lead daily sessions in their classrooms and for the entire school... and many share the practice with friends and family!

Since graduating from our program, Curtis also teaches meditation at two Brooklyn studios, including one called Namaste (pronounced Namas-tai because it's in Bedford Stuyvesant ... love that).

Curtis' passion for meditation and teaching is contagious, and we can't wait for you to experience it.

Join us Tuesday to celebrate our first teaching training “alum” to lead us at The Standard, East Village. As always, we'll start at 7 PM.

click here to join us this Tuesday

And if you’re feeling inspired, we’d also like to welcome you to consider our next meditation teacher training, which begins in October. If you’ve ever considered... how you can use meditation in your career or community or just to go deeper in your personal practice, this is for you. And if you have any questions about the program, we’d LOVE to hear from you. Feel free to reply to this email with your questions.

And we hope to see you this Tuesday for a very special sit

Cheers to a love for learning, making change in our community through meditation, and to being wildly inspired by Curtis,
Dina

the only prize is happiness

I'm writing you with a big smile from Formentera, a tiny island in Spain that's one of my favorite places in the world.

During the day I work a lot here .. and take snorkeling & gelato breaks (yeah the diet is hard to keep here ..).

When I first arrived, a dear friend and member of our community wrote saying he's not sure why he's in NY now. He said he wasn't making more money being in NY and that it was making him feel stressed.

"Come visit!" I suggested. He's thinking about it.

I get it. For so long I thought life was MEANT to be hard. I'm embarrassed to say that deep down I thought I'd get some sort of prize if I worked a lot .. and if things were .. hard.

But then I went to a Vedic retreat led by Thom Knoles .. about our addiction to suffering. And I read more about Buddhism, which says we're conditioned to suffer .. until we train our minds NOT to suffer.

Now I know we actually get a prize if we follow our happiness. The prize is joy. We get there by working when we need to but also by doing what's fun for us! And being happy and light. 

We won't feel this way all the time. But we don't need to suffer all the time, too. There's no prize for hardship.

So maybe you can't hop on a flight today. You could take that pottery class you've been eyeing for a year. You could skip out of work (maybe?) and walk The High Line for half an hour. You can pop into a gallery for a minute and look at a painting that inspires you. You can read a novel for fifteen minutes in the morning before work.

Or for one day you could choose to smile at each stranger you pass on the street.

This week I encourage you to follow your bliss. Do what's fun or silly or enchanting or charming. 

I'd love to hear how it goes for you - send me a line here and let's chat about how it feels to prioritize FUN.

And this Tuesday, join Marlie McGovern for an expertly guided meditation about joy 7pm at The Standard, East Village. YES let's focus on happiness this week!

click here to join us

doing what you love, a master teacher & tea!

I’m writing you with a relaxed smile from Gili Air, a tiny island off Bali .. where something cool just happened.

I was biking home from watching the sunset when I heard an acoustic guitar and immediately screeched on the brakes.

I hadn’t planned to stop. I just, as the great Vedic teacher Thom Knoles would say, went from feeling to action. No analysis, just instinct.

“Where are you from?” the Indonesian man playing guitar asked as I hopped off the bike. “America!” I responded. “Oh perfect, we need a singer,” he said. 

Oh my. I love to sing, but I’m terrible at it. I'm enthusiastic and off key. 

But this was just one evening, on a tiny island, and they needed an English speaker. So I said yes.

They started playing “Zombie," and I belted out the lyrics while my new Indonesian friend and another traveler played the chords. Then “Don’t Look Back in Anger,” “Wish You Were Here” and “Hey Jude.” I let my confidence in the lyrics overwhelm my insecurity about singing. I lost myself in the music.

And I realized we can have so much fun doing something we enjoy that we’re terrible at! Why should we only do what we’re good at? I’m terrible at biking but have been biking all around Gili Air, constantly falling off and getting a bit beat up but having a blast.

So this week I ask — is there something you love that you’re bad at, that maybe you can do anyway? 

We work so much. Let’s play. Try something you might enjoy but haven't done in a while, independent of your skill level.

And this week, we're bringing in a real expert to guide us in meditation. John Baker has been a student of Buddhism for 41 years and co-founded Naropa University in Boulder. He's also a senior teacher in the North American Buddhist community and the author of many numbers about Buddhism. We are SO happy to have him guide us in meditation this Tuesday, at the Penthouse of The Standard (ohhhhhh yeahhhhhh).

After the meditation, you're invited to join Dasan Tea for a (free!) tea ceremony with a new tea they created from wild green tea leaves, hand-picked from Mt. Jiri in South Korea. We'll enjoy the tea in cups handmade by Korean pottery artists, and each sip is designed to help you awaken and clear your mind.

Tuesday, in short, is going to be amazing.

click here to join us for meditation & tea

And to be clear, all this is included in the cost of a regular meditation! Just $24 for meditation by John Baker AND the tea ceremony.

click here to join us
 

A mistake in Rome...

I’m writing you from Rome, my favorite city in the world — and feeling a bit embarrassed to share with you what happened this weekend.

I was walking down the Via del Corso, one of my favorite streets, feeling happy and light.

When suddenly - BOOM! - someone smashed into me. I snapped my head around and saw the girl casually walking away. Did I have a lesson to teach her! 

Aspetta! I said loudly (“wait" in Italian). I walked towards her. 

“Why not say 'I’m sorry?’" I asked in Italian, ready to preach the wisdom of kindness.

But it was me who needed the lesson. 

She was walking with someone. Her caretaker turned around. And for the first time I saw that the girl who had run into me had a disability. It was now clear that walking was a challenge for her, and even being outside on this holiday weekend full of people enjoying the sunshine on the busiest shopping street in Rome.

It was I who was humbled. Deeply. Tears welled up in my eyes. Not only because I may have hurt this woman emotionally but because I was so wrong about the story I had created about her.

And how wrong the stories we create about others often are. And, really, the stories we create about ourselves, too. 

We live with big and small mistruths about ourselves (I’m not good enough for x, I’m not handsome enough for y, I’ll stay in this job/relationship/city because I don’t deserve something better).

In Buddhism they say everything is empty.

Can we live with everything being empty? No stories about ourselves, and certainly no stories about others?

I created a 100% false story about this woman. And probably about many others in my life. What if we let all the stories go? 

Today I pledge to trying living with fewer stories. To give people the benefit of the doubt. And to live with love, even if someone smashes into me (or the verbal equivalent) because I’ll never know the real reason why.

This month we're hosting a dinner for our members May 18th (invites go out soon!). We'll talk about the stories we create, about ourselves and others. And we'll laugh and hopefully share some humility too. If you're interested in becoming a member of The Path, which means you get special invites, discounts on retreats and join all our Tuesday sits for free, please click here to sign up (just $50, which is super super low)!

And to dip into your Buddhism, your kindness and your true self, with no stories, join us at The Standard, East Village Tuesday for a meditation with Home Nguyen of the MindKind Institute (who has more than 20 years of experience in personal leadership and mind-body practices). Home has an extraordinary way of guiding meditations that leave you feeling calm, happy and centered, so I hope you join us Tuesday:

click here to join us for meditation Tuesday at The Standard

We’re excited to meditate together — to help strip us of stories, about ourselves and others.

I've never shared this story before...

I come from the fast-paced NYC start-up world. I thought I could never show weakness. Or fear. No feelings!

But let me share a little "secret".

That's all BS.

We all get scared. We all feel alone sometimes. We all have moments of complete terror when we meet one of our heroes.

But here's the cool part ..

The moment we acknowledge it. The moment we allow ourselves to feel it. That's when everything changes.

It kind of blows my mind that I'm hosting a dinner and retreat with one of my mentors this weekend and that's it almost sold out.

Why?

Because the first time I had a chance to actually meet her, I was petrified.

I remember it like it was yesterday...

My hands were sweating. My heart was pounding. I felt like I was going to throw-up.

But I'm getting ahead of myself... let me give you some context.

I first heard about Sharon Salzberg when I was helping to run a tech company.

I was stressed out of my mind. I didn’t know what to do or how to handle it.

I wanted to meditate but didn’t know where to start. 

Every time I actually tried to do it, I thought I was doing something wrong and would just wind up getting more stressed .. and feel frustrated and stop!

I went to guided meditations all over the city but nothing felt quite right. I couldn't connect or identify with these people. I never felt "apart of." 

I didn't feel surrounded by people like me - a founder, super ambitious, surrounded by other entrepreneurs who wanted to learn meditation mainly to feel sane. To stop, even for a second, the churning of my mind which swirled in circles of stress worse than a cyclone.

The teachers whose classes I attended kept talking about the luminaries of meditation in the U.S. I retained only two names: Jon Kabat Zinn for mindfulness and Sharon Salzberg for loving-kindness. 

At that point in my life, I didn't feel any real "loving kindess" for myself, so I began to use Sharon's name as a "makeshift mantra" of sorts, and I would somehow always feel better once I did. 

Crazy, right?

I imagined what it would be like to someday meet her and how I would feel. It brought be calm and peace. But if I'm being honest...

I didn't really think I would ever meet her. I didn’t know where she lived, but I assumed it was on a mountain, maybe somewhere in Tibet or Nepal or somewhere else where she could meditate all day and think deep thoughts. It felt really, really different from my life.

One day a friend invited me to a meditation Sharon was leading. I couldn’t believe she was in NYC! I couldn’t believe I could ever be in the same room with a teacher as famous as she was.

Heck, this was the woman who literally wrote the book on loving-kindness and is often credited with bringing compassion meditation from the East to the West and helping to make it mainstream!

I remember sitting in the back of the room, awed and humbled to be in the same room as this famous teacher. I remember she taught us six phrases we could use to practice loving-kindness meditation on our own: 

“may you [or I] be happy, may you be peaceful, may you live with ease, 
may you be safe, may you be healthy, may you be strong.”

I loved the first three of these phrases and used them for a half hour sit with Sharon that night. Sitting, still, at the back of the room, afraid to move up or to say hi. 

That evening I went back to work, as was my life as a tech founder, and I’ll never forget what happened. I answered emails from partners and from people on our team. 

And I was funny! I was kind. Something had "shifted". 

After this meditation with Sharon, without even trying, I was myself! I was funny and silly and light — and the next day my colleagues commented on how different my tone was in the emails they got from me that night :-)

Sharon’s phrases became my daily practice. 

It was the one respite in stressful days of press interviews, meetings, calls and panic attacks (that I didn’t tell anyone about). 

Then one day, when I had a panic attack and couldn’t cross the street to my office, I left my job and the company I had co-founded and took a 2.5-year trip around the world to get healthy again. To shake off the stress of running my first start-up...

As you can probably guess that’s when I really *found* meditation. I ended up studying around the world. 

And I had the inspiration, on a 10-day retreat in India, to start The Path — and to bring meditation back to the US and try helping people avoid the panic attacks and burnout I had suffered living a hectic "always on the go" life for so many years.

Eventually, I was ready to go back to NYC. As a new, better version of myself. And to launch The Path community.

On our first month, my co-founder and I made a dream list of people we wanted to partner with. Sharon topped the list. 

We laughed and said to each other — if we can ever do anything with Sharon, we’ll know we will have made it. And we will have accomplished our goal of offering to the next generation of change-makers — the best meditation teachers in the country. 

A few months after we launched a friend invited me (yay!) to a gathering of some of the top thought leaders in meditation in the city. I saw Sharon on the invite list, too. I couldn’t believe it. I opened the door to the event and took a deep breath. 

A group of people were there. Including Sharon. 

My hands were sweating. My heart was pounding. I felt like I was going to throw-up. It all felt like a blur...

But within a few minutes, someone introduced us, telling Sharon that I had just started a community called The Path, and asked me to explain our concept to see what she thought. 

Want to know what's so crazy about all this?

I used to be a live TV reporter. I've met some of the most famous and successful celebrities and business people in the world. I’ve given speeches to thousands of people. And yet...

I’ve never been so scared to speak in my life.

My voice trembled, and I said, “I’ve studied meditation around the world. Including your work. My partner and I believe you can put all of the types of meditation into four categories: mindfulness, mantra, energizing and meditation to help you accomplish a goal, like compassion or loving-kindness. We think all four categories are valid. And we want to teach all of them, to help people find the technique that’s best for them.”

And then I held my breath. 
I was, in a word, terrified. 
No one spoke. 

And finally, that famous, awesome, warmth of a Sharon Salzberg smile emerged. “I like that,” she said. “That makes a lot of sense. I support what you’re doing.”

And I breathed a sigh of relief.

I came back to the gathering the next month. As did she. 

We became close.

Now, two years later, Sharon is a dear friend. We know we're both night owls (shhhh), so we email funny things to each other at all hours. I helped her choose the font for her new book. And I forward her silly emails from my mom extolling the virtues of empathy :).

And yet, just last year I was terrified to ask her something once again...

We were both at the Wisdom 2.0 conference and walking to the bathroom after a session. I held my breath and asked her to lead a retreat for us.

And without hesitating — my hero, mentor and teacher said YES!

In that bathroom we closed the deal for her to lead her first retreat for The Path, last September. 

It was amazing.

This year we wanted to do something cool, and she had the idea to lead a seder. I thought she was kidding but said I would call her bluff and say yes, let's do it! 

She wasn't kidding. So on Friday we're doing it. She'll play rabbi and lead a "Jewish-Buddhist non-denominational vegan seder" (her name, her idea). 

I couldn't be more excited for this event. 

Because I know she will help you in the way she helped me. To breathe, live and love again.

And I also want to help her. I want to help bring her new book to bestseller status. 

So I'm thrilled we'll have a "day of love" retreat with her about the book Saturday. And that we're asking everyone who joins to buy a copy of her book. Or two. 

I WANT to help this woman who's changed my life so much for the better to get to bestseller status on her new book the week it's released. That's why we're asking people to buy books to attend the dinner and the retreat.

Sharon is one of my favorite people in the world.

On Friday I almost can’t believe I have the honor of introducing one of my life mentor’s and inspirations.

As our teacher. For the weekend. I hope you can join us and see how she can change your life for the better, just as she has changed mine.

Want to join us?

Click here to reserve one of the final spots...
and experience the "Sharon magic" yourself.
 

Neuehouse (yay), a great teacher & an online course

Neuehouse meditation

Ooh...

I'm excited.

To invite you to join us here (yes, this cozy spot)!

On Tuesday we're bringing The Path to the spectacularly beautiful Neuehouse — for a meditation guided by an INCREDIBLE teacher.

Amy Gross is the former Editor of Oprah Magazine, and she learned meditation from Jon Kabat-Zinn himself. She was my MBSR (Mindfulness-based stress reduction) teacher, and I was blown away by her during the class. I believe she is one of the best mindfulness teachers in the country.

I hope you can join us as Amy guides us in a relaxing, transformative meditation — in one of my favorite places in the city:

And, many of you have been asking about Finders Course. It's a really intense and SUPER impactful online meditation course. I'm doing it now, and it's rocking my world. 

A new round starts March 25th, and a few members of our community have already enrolled. It is a real time commitment — an hour of meditation a day plus positive psychology exercises each morning and evening to skyrocket your well-being.

I can't say enough good things about Finders Course .. but I know not everyone can do an hour of meditation a day. SO I'll only mention it this one time, and if you want to learn more please respond to this note and we'll speak directly about it. If you feel ready, apply to participate in this new round of Finders Course here.

Cheers to feeling great. To an amazing teacher Tuesday. To YOU taking steps to become the best version of you.

Cheers to taking time for relaxation. Stillness. And insight. 

You are amazing.

Conversation with a Meditation Teacher: Dr. Home Nguyen of MindKind Institute

The Path community was fortunate to experience a beautiful meditation led by Home Nguyen on Tuesday, February 21st. Sonali Nigam, a community member of The Path and graduate of our teacher training program, asked him a few questions about his life and work afterward. 

Dr. Home is the founder of the MindKind Institute and has over 20 years of experience in personal leadership, mind-body practices, career development, executive coaching, and facilitating organizational effectiveness. His mission is to develop mindful, influential, and compassionate leaders, and to help them master their power so they can make a real difference in the world.

The Path: Can you tell us about how you began on your path towards mindfulness?

In my 20s, I was going through a difficult period in my life – traveling, working too hard, experiencing insomnia and a very painful ulcer. I worked as an Artistic Director for a theater company and one evening a young actress came to me. She said, “We need to talk now, “and I tried to brush her off. But she was very insistent. She said to me, “You are very charismatic and you get people to do what you want, but I don’t feel loved when I work with you.” At the time I didn’t understand, but this conversation stayed with me. Soon afterward I checked myself into a Vipassana retreat for 10 days. That was the beginning of my meditation practice as an adult.

The Path: So that was a turning point in your life that led you to meditation…

There is one more event I would like to share. I was thirteen years old, and I was on a boat lost in the middle of the ocean – a refugee from Vietnam. We were lost at sea for 19 days. One day there was a huge wave coming towards me, and I was certain it was going to kill us. I thought that all 91 people on that boat would die.  I saw death up close and had to face it. In that moment I let go, I decided to accept death. In that moment I felt a very deep peace that I had not experienced before. From there the boat drifted into southern Thailand where I lived in a refugee camp for a year. For a thirteen-year-old boy that was a very profound experience. But at that time my brain was not developed enough to understand the significance of that moment.

The Path: What has your personal meditation journey been so far? Any challenges, any unexpected outcomes?

I have been exploring and practicing meditation for over twenty years now. After all these years, I still face difficulties. There are days I am distracted by the phone, Facebook, the news. Often, I still wake up in the morning not wanting to mediate. The difference for me is that when I find myself stressed or avoiding meditation I respond differently that I did before. In the past I used to judge myself, I was harsh. I would tell myself, “What’s the matter with you, what's wrong with you, you are weak, you have failed, you are not doing this right”. But now the judgement is still there but I can recover much faster. I tell myself that this period of struggling will pass. I will forgive myself. I will start again.
 
The practice of mindfulness is about letting go of what was and starting again in the present moment. In taking that approach of starting again, I use a beginner’s mind. I let go of achievement, I let go of measurement. I show up and do my meditation as I am in this moment. Even if it was for one breath, that is good enough to start again.

The Path: What advice would you give to those who are at the beginning of their path towards mindfulness?
 

My advice for a new practitioner is to allow yourself to start over again. The second tip is to find a good teacher. Think about learning to swim, when you are beginner you need a good coach. Once you learn how to swim you can surf, you can dive and do so many other things. But at the beginning, you need a good teacher to help you learn the foundations, and helping you to be safe and sane as you starting the exploration.

The Path: Can you speak about the work that you are currently doing in the field of mindfulness?
 

I recently finished my PhD at Columbia University, and my doctoral research was on mindfulness and how it relates to leadership, in particular how leaders can create environments that help their organizations become mindful. I have been teaching students at the Columbia Business School and Law School on how to develop mindful leadership practices for about 6 years now.  My research and practice is to understand how we can incorporate mindfulness into everyday life and how we can influence others in a positive and healthy ways.
 

On Meditation Teacher Training :: Sonali Nigam

It's hard to believe our second meditation teacher training has come to an end! We're beyond proud of all the students who took this journey. We'll be sharing interviews with some of the recent graduates, to celebrate. 

Read below for a beautiful essay by Sonali Nigam. 

Sonali has an interdisciplinary background in the technology, policy and business of healthcare. She has always been obsessively curious about the intersection of wellness and technology and geeks out on reading research articles on this topic. Sonali lives in New York City with her husband and their cat Naomi. You can find her on instagram @sonalaholic  

One of my earliest memories is of 7-year-old me sitting cross-legged on the cool floor of my aunt's meditation room, chanting mantras with my eyes closed. At the time I didn’t necessarily understand what meditation was supposed to be but it felt like a happy space, so the practice stayed with me. 
 
Fast forward twenty-five years later, I found myself wishing for more of that space and (some sanity) in New York City. The meditation apps and weekend retreats were helpful but I wanted more. I was constantly reading the scientific research about how great meditation was for my brain. But I couldn't quite figure out how to integrate it into my life in a consistent way. 
 
That's where The Path came in. I had heard about a meditation community through word of mouth and signed up to attend an event with a friend. I instantly loved the accessible nature of the Weekly Sit. It was held in a friendly and secular community, with wise teachers and a beautiful setting. To me, it was the perfect way to get away from the stresses of the city and incorporate a few moments of contemplation. 
 
So a few months later when I received an email about their upcoming Teacher Training program I felt goosebumps. The time felt right to take a deeper dive and immerse in a meditation practice. I wasn't 100% certain that I would want to teach afterward, but I knew that the training would support my desire to create a daily practice and also provide me tools for contemplation and self-reflection. 
 
The training was a three-month long commitment: four weekend retreats in addition to weekly Monday night classes. On my way to the first class, I witnessed two women on the subway trying to pull each other's hair out. 

Ah, the joys of living in New York City... I walked into class that night eager to find some quiet and compassion.
 
Happily, I found the teacher training to be that and much more. Each week, we learned core meditation concepts and discussed how they were applicable to modern life. The teachers Dr. Loizzo, Geri Loizzo, and Marlie Mcgovern were knowledgeable and approachable. In particular, Dr. Loizzo would break down the science into more palatable pieces which meant that everyone could follow along easily. The class discussions were friendly yet wide-ranging. We discussed everything from Buddha's life, to how to teach non-meditators, to the neuroplasticity of the brain!
 
Our homework was to meditate each day in order to practice what we learned that week. Of course, it was not always easy to find the time. There were many tempting distractions to deal with every single day, but I stuck with it and slowly began to feel the changes. If I didn't meditate one day, I felt like I was missing something. Over time I became creative with the practice. I tried meditating in the park during lunch my breaks, while sitting on a plane, and walking meditations whenever it was possible.  
 
Every few weeks we would be asked to lead a group of our peers in teaching a meditation and provide each other constructive feedback. Initially a nerve-racking experience, this quickly became one of my favorite aspects of the course. 
 
The training went by so quickly that before I knew it the twelve weeks were over. I look back now and am amazed at how many unanticipated changes took place in that brief period of time. Before the training, I didn't think that I could teach at all, much less teach meditation, but the positive experience of teaching my peers combined with my teachers’ support gave me the confidence to believe that I could. 

The bigger change was even more unexpected. As an introvert, I had always struggled with faking extroversion in order to fit in. The mindfulness training helped me to become aware of this struggle between my authentic self and the image I wanted to project to others. And the loving kindness practice we learned continues to help me be more accepting of myself the way I am.
 
I remember Dr. Loizzo saying during our last class, "The world will be a better place if there were more people meditating and teaching others how to meditate." I couldn't agree more. For me, the teacher training was a critical step on my path towards mindfulness and compassion. As I continue my practice and begin to teach, I firmly believe that the tools I have been given will continue to support me and the communities that I live and work in. 
 

Why I'm smiling...

I'm sitting in my favorite cafe, enjoying a green tea ... with a big smile on my face.

Why?

Because I'm looking at the site we're creating for the next Path Experience .. which we're doing again March 11th.

We'll finish the site soon and make spots available WEDNESDAY AT NOON (set that calendar alert...).

If we missed you the first time around and you're wondering what The Path Experience is .. 

I wanted to create something that provides the benefit of a multi-day retreat .. in just five hours. And do it in beautiful spaces, with great people .. so it's fun, social .. and transformative.

And .. it worked! 

People REALLY connected and said the meditations flew by .. they loved them, felt a profound impact, and actually wanted more! 

By the end people said they felt:

"really open and a bit blissed out"
"Loved it! Felt really great after."
"I felt relaxed and good."
"Elated. Peaceful. Connected."
It's hard for me to describe how I felt ..

Maybe the word is serene. Like I had nothing to prove, no need to be charming or funny. For maybe the first time in my life I felt ok 'being' rather than 'doing.'

It also had a big effect on people's work. You meet great people at the Path Experience (I'm working now with three of the people who joined the last one!). But it also affected people's productivity. One woman wrote me a few days after:

"I've had one of the most productive and crystal clear weeks in ages. I'm overwhelmed by the amount of progress I've been able to make in a week in my work and in my love life, and I think part of that is having a clear mind."

Our next Path Experience will be even better.

We're gathering in a jaw-dropping home off Union Square featured in The New York Times. We hired a chef to prepare dinner. And we'll serve gourmet snacks, organic home brewed coffee and Kombucha made by members of our community.

I'm SO excited for this. We're going to keep it intimate again — just 25 people. Spots will sell quickly, and we're raising the price to cover the chef and dinner, but I also want to make this accessible.

So we're going to offer TEN spots at $250 Wednesday at noon before we raise the price to $300.

It's the benefits of a retreat. In a stunning home. With amazing people. And a dinner party. Can't wait.

anything is possible

It's been years since I was a big football fan...

A little kid in Pittsburgh waving the terrible towel :).

But I couldn't take my eyes off the Super Bowl. 

Tom Brady saw an impossible situation. A game that was clearly over. Defeat.  

And he saw a window. Light. And he believed. 

He made the impossible .. possible.

You have this power too. It's within you. And it's amplified by meditation. 

If you're having an awful day, you CAN change it.

Meditation gives you the power to turn a bad mood into a good one. It's a choice. Just like Tom Brady's choice to go for it.

If you think you can't get that job, that date, that trip, whatever you dream of...

You can.

The power to get it, to GO FOR IT, is in your mind. If you believe it, you can manifest it. Just believe in yourself, know that things can turn around, and realize that many things we think are impossible .. can happen.

Tom Brady engineered the biggest Super Bowl comeback in history. 

What comeback or goal do you want to engineer in your life? If you're open to sharing, please respond to this email and let me know. I'd love to hear it and support you.

I'm inspired to write a book. I've thought about it for years, and now it's time to do it. What's your inspiration?

It could be smiling more or changing jobs. Big or small. You decide. 

Letting Go

Be like a tree and let the dead leaves drop 🍃〰 Rumi.

Meditation helps us observe our thoughts and in doing so, notice those that no longer serve us. Today, notice one negative thought and commit to letting it go. Just as trees shed their leaves each fall in preparation to eventually sprout anew, you too can shed old patterns so a better YOU emerges.

Art via @thisisrange

On Meditation Teacher Training :: Catrina Armendariz

As we approach our second meditation teacher training (today's the last day to apply!) we're sharing interviews with members of our community who completed the program the first time around. 

Read below for a beautiful interview with Catrina Armendariz, Founder and Executive Producer of Revived On. 

What initially drew you to the teacher training program? 

I began meditating when I was 8 years old and had a solo practice for 20+ years.  I met Dina while in the midst of expanding my meditation practice into social and collective settings and that's when I first heard about her program.  Though I had a pretty disciplined (and what I thought was a well-informed and supported) practice for many years, I experienced a lot of challenges in my sits that I couldn't navigate effectively on my own.  I decided to enroll in the program because I recognized a need to share the experience with others (teachers and fellow students), especially like-minded peers who were in a similar creation and companionship phase of life (career, friendships, relationships, etc.).  

The practice is wonderful, but as I experienced and learned, not meant to be a solitary practice.  The support I received through the curation of experienced and well-informed teachers and like-minded peers was priceless.

How did it impact you and your career and/or personal life?

The teacher training connected me with a world-class mastermind of Eastern and Western science and philosophy, Dr. Joe Loizzo, who distilled ancient knowledge in the most authentic, scientific and relevant ways possible.  It also connected me with an amazing cohort of students - all movers and shakers in their respective fields: parents, doctors, tech entrepreneurs, teachers, etc.  

The synergy was great for my practice and for my development as a conscious start-up founder.  I left with more clarity around my desire to share these conscious lifestyle practices with the world and with a network of people to support that path.

Were there any unexpected results from your time in the program? 

I didn't realize how popular meditation was until I joined this cohort.  Suddenly, it no longer felt like an esoteric practice that was reserved for the monk or nomadic hippie (or our modern-day version of the wandering messicant).  Everyone is becoming hip to meditation: corporate and entrepreneurial modern city exponents alike are looking for more authenticity in their lives.  

I also felt more connected with people in my life as a result of hearing a common thread coming through every student's question or story: that we all desire connection, with ourselves and with those around us.  

On Meditation Teacher Training :: Maritza Puello

As we approach our second meditation teacher training (applications are now being accepted!) we're sharing interviews with members of our community who completed the program the first time around. 

Read below for a beautiful interview from Maritza Puello! An Integrative Life Coach, Yoga and Meditation Teacher, Puello completed our program while she transitioned out of working in TV news - a critical time in her career.

What initially drew you to the teacher training program? 
I started meditating years ago. Like many other people, I was introduced to meditation via yoga.  My practice was mostly on and off until I began to study regularly with my first teacher, Alexandra Marquardt, who was based out west. I learned so much from studying with her, but it was hard to travel to the west coast for classes. Along the way I became certified as a yoga instructor and started teaching meditation. When I came across the Facebook post announcing The Path and Nalanda Institute meditation teacher training program, I was very excited. I could continue my studies without having to travel outside of New York City. I also noticed that the teachers leading the training came from diverse backgrounds which was different from any other programs I had looked into. I thought it would be great way to continue developing my teaching skills and give me new ways to share the numerous benefits of meditation with others. I was sold. I couldn’t wait to start the training.

How did it impact you and your career and/or personal life. 
When I came across the training, I was at a crossroads in my life. I was in the process of transitioning out of a career working in 24- hour television news and looking to do something related to wellness, yoga and meditation. I had always wanted to work in TV news and had done so. It was a dream come true, but that was done. Then I was faced with making a change, and I wasn’t quite sure how that was going to work out. While I had experience teaching meditation, the training gave me the opportunity to learn completely new techniques. It also provided me with a different structure to deepen in my own practice and get feedback from my fellow classmates and teachers. This not only strengthened my skills as a teacher but also deepened my own commitment to keep learning and exploring new things. Going into the training I didn’t have much clarity as to what course of direction I would be take with my career but I was definitely was looking for something fresh.  On a more personal note, the training helped me see myself and the choices before me, in a new light, which helped propel me to take the much-needed steps towards living a new dream. Being in the class and having the support of the group really helped accelerate my process and made it easier to make decisions with ease. I created a strong practical foundation that helped me navigate life's ebbs and flows. This allowed me to be much more fluid with what life brought my way. I found my relationships, both personal and professional, were greatly strengthened and the relationships that needed to fall away simply fell away without effort, conflict or drama.
 
Were there any unexpected results from your time in the program? 
One of the biggest unexpected impacts of the training was being able to learn, study, and practice with a diverse group of people all who were equally committed to the practice of meditation. It was great to have that kind of support during and after training. My biggest surprise was the newfound clarity and commitment by which I decided to embark on a completely new business venture. I’ve now started my own business venture as an integrative life coach, yoga and meditation teacher. I help people who are going through planned or unexpected, life changes discover new tools to help them clear the obstacles that prevent them from living joy-filled, happy, healthy, satisfying lives.

I’m beyond thrilled and excited to take on this new venture. I don’t think I would have done so had I not done the teacher training. I have tremendous gratitude for having participated in the program. I knew it would bring me many positive results, but this by far exceeded my expectations. My life is fuller, richer, and more fluid that ever before!
 
 

My Journey To Become a Meditation Teacher :: a guest post from Hillary Wright

image1 (1).JPG

As we approach our second meditation teacher training (applications are now being accepted!) we're sharing personal essays and interviews from members of our community who completed the program the first time around. 

Below is a beautiful personal essay from Hillary Wright, a NYC-based yoga instructor at Y7 Studio. Read on for Hillary's insightful take on how the program had a profound impact on her personal life and career:

I’ve been studying yoga for over ten years now and teaching for almost as long. I have spent many, many years learning and sharing the practice of yoga. However, I have not spent a lot of time studying meditation. I have worked to build a consistent meditation practice over the years all while still feeling like I am an “extreme beginner” in the practice. For as much as I feel I understand about yoga, I feel like I have barely scratched the surface of the practice of meditation. I’ve been meditating for several years now, but couldn’t figure out what I should do next (mainly proving the point that I wasn’t quite “getting it" because of my constant need to find what was next).  

Last year I turned 30 and decided that I would make it my personal goal to meditate every single day as an attempt to feel more grounded, more stable, to have more clarity and as a symbolic way of bringing in a new decade based around health and happiness. Things were going well on this journey. However, I still felt like I needed to do something else to solidify this practice in my life. I recently had a fairly serious surgery (the second in one year’s time) to help me with a chronic illness I suffer from. During this time my “rocky” meditation practice seemed to be the only thing getting me through some really rough patches.  I knew this practice was powerful, and I knew if I were able to truly understand it that it could get me through my recovery, both physically and emotionally. So why shouldn't I try to go deeper?  Six months to the day that I made my goal to meditate every day, I signed up for the Nalanda Institute of Contemplative Science and The Path’s Meditation Teacher Training.  I hadn’t spent much (read: any) time with the instructors that would be leading the course, but having spent many mornings and evenings in the presence of The Path instructors, I knew I would be in good hands. 

The first day I walked into class I was instantly struck by the other students, both the wide range of age and background but also their commitment to the practice of meditation. The teachers, Dr. Joe Loizzo, Gerri Loizzo and Marlie McGovern, were warm, welcoming and instantly reassured my decision for being there (without saying a word about it).  Up to this point, I had been questioning myself, wondering if I had made the right decision signing up for a training with people I had never met, but something kept telling me to trust the process. Still in pain from surgery, especially in the first few weeks of training, I realized that this was the exact place that I needed to be. 

Week after week we met with our three teachers, and week after week I continued through my deep healing process.  I was always struck by the amount of knowledge that was being shared and how it always landed at the exact moment that I needed it.  It always amazed me how Dr. Loizzo could possibly know so much about the brain or how Gerri could lead such a beautiful meditation or how Marlie knew the exact yoga asanas to teach us that day to compliment our meditations. As the time passed, and we were “required” to turn in our meditation journals from our daily sits, I came to notice that my sits were no longer forced, that my pain was becoming manageable, and that I was looking forward to meditating each morning.  Throughout our journey, we studied the Four Foundations of Mindfulness as well as Loving-Kindness.  We spent time breaking each down, taking these techniques home and digesting them, practicing them, and journaling about them. I could feel myself putting these techniques directly to use to deal with both the physical and emotional trauma that I had been dealing with through my surgery and illness. And more importantly, I could see myself creating a habit. 

After 12 weeks of a consistent practice along with the encouragement of our sangha, or community, I knew that I had officially made meditation a part of my daily life.  My “goal” for this training had been - at minimum - to learn a few techniques to deepen my own practice and possibly share these with my yoga students, however, I gained so much more: a life-long, solid meditation practice and the true and utter healing I had been looking for. 

-Hillary Wright

Our 100-hour teacher training is for those who want to master mindfulness and loving-kindness meditation, become a meditation teacher, or for doctors, yoga teachers, therapists and other professionals who seek to skillfully and knowledgeably integrate meditation teaching into their work.

All students who pass this training will receive a certificate for Teaching Mindfulness and Lovingkindness Meditation from the Nalanda Institute for Contemplative Science, The Path and Pure Yoga. This program is compliant with Yoga Alliance programs. Click HERE to apply.

Meditate Under the Stars

It's time to invite you to lie down with us. Join us for the perfect summer night. 

+ A reserved private area of Central Park
+ A gong bath led by Jen Fraser
+ Treats and refreshments on blankets under the stars
+ Lawn games and socializing with some of the coolest conscious people in the city

We've got this event pretty dialed in. Come experience a quintessential summer night in the city.

Reserve your patch of grass HERE