“Meditation brings me back to me. i can actually feel the pieces of myself that have been broken off and scattered by all the stressors of life start to gel piece by piece, as if i’m watching a video in reverse of a glass shattering.” ~ cameron diaz, the longevity book
Today we’d like to introduce you to Tal Rabinowitz, the founder of The DEN Meditation, a meditation studio located in Los Angeles. The DEN has been a passion project, something that resulted from what Tal saw as lacking in the wellness industry. She could attend a yoga, Pilates, or cycling class, but there was nowhere she could connect deeper to her meditation practice. The DEN, which now has two locations, has filled that void and become a hub for people looking to start or expand their meditation practice.
You’ve just opened your second studio in Los Angeles. Congratulations! How does it feel to have created a franchise, a movement?
It’s a good feeling. Just a few years ago this was an idea, simply a vision. So, to see it in reality and see people coming in to take classes and profoundly feeling better when they are finished, well….sometimes it’s surreal. And to watch people connect that would probably never cross paths, literally gives me goosebumps.
Some people might be skeptical of going to a studio and sitting with other people to meditate. What made you confident that you were filling a need?
I was filling my own personal need! When I started meditating in my old corporate job, I was really trying to maintain a regular practice of twice a day. In the morning and at night. I was struggling, and I kept getting online looking for a spot that I could drop in and take a class, and to my surprise there was nothing. I couldn’t believe that you could kick box, do some pilates, yoga booty ballet, and even cross fit, but there was no where to drop in and meditate. So, I had to assume that there were others like me, those who need to be held accountable and go somewhere in order to execute.
Let’s be honest, we can all get up and do sit ups and pushups in our house, but most of us do not. We can all get up and run around the block, but most of us do not. And we can all get up and do yoga in our own house, but most of us do not. So just like those examples, sometimes it really helps to show up somewhere to get it done!
What type of meditation do you practice?
I learned Transcendental Meditation and I still sometimes use my mantra, and I always start with gratitude practice.
Must-have meditation prop?
I’ve always had my own set of Chattra meditation pillows like the ones we use in The DEN. That is the reason I made them part of our brand! Otherwise, I am not really a prop person. Just me and a moment of quiet.
Do you offer different types of meditation at The DEN?
Because I believe people are always changing, and sometimes you need different things, we offer a wide variety of meditation. We offer a range from more straightforward mindfulness, guided imagery, anchor-based, breath work, self compassion practices to what could be considered more “out there” like sound baths, Reiki circles, psychic meditation and crystal classes.
There have been recent studies showing how meditation has a positive impact on the brain, including stimulating critical thinking, creativity, and awareness. Have you experienced these effects?
For sure! I think meditation makes you less reactive and allows you to have the ability to make decisions faster. These have both been tremendously helpful for me in running a business. Learning to stress about what I can control, and let go of what I cannot has been crucial.
What is your current mantra? Do you use them in your meditation practice?
I practice with a personal mantra, but a mantra that I live by is, “It is what it is.” I try and look at everything in its reality, and If I cannot change it, I learn to accept it and shift gears. I find there can be a lot of wasted emotion and energy on things that you cannot control and if you let go of the emotion, you may be surprised what comes your way.
What has been your greatest challenge as an entrepreneur?
Time. You want to do it all, all the time, and people expect you to. I have really had to learn to be ok taking breaks. When I feel myself getting run down, I take an evening and I try and shut off (and watch reality tv….best guilty pleasure!). It may be small moments here and there, but learning to take those moments and remember to be present for myself, Is a very big deal.
What advice do you have for would-be entrepreneurs?
Love what you do as you will be living and breathing it. Also, be open to change. Don’t forget your goal and your vision, you are the heart of what you have created, however, be open to what’s working and what isn’t and be malleable. Also, create systems and policies as soon as possible, so you can lay a strong foundation for expansion.
How do you balance work and home life? What do you do for fun?
I try and be fully present wherever I am and be ok with it. When I am home with my daughter, I am a mom first and foremost. And when I am working I dedicate that time to be efficient and get what I need done. I will say, having a child makes you use your time VERY wisely. I get a lot more done in a concentrated amount of time than I ever used to!! I really enjoy a good dinner, a glass of wine, and a great conversation. So catching up with my friends, having time with my husband, are all ways I fill myself up again. So I definitely make time during the week to have those moments. Also, I am a big traveler, and now that my daughter is getting a bit older, I am trying to reincorporate that back in to my life. Even in small little doses. But most importantly I feel confident that I give the time I need 100% when I am in it, so when I am taking time for me, or time for my daughter or time for work, I do not feel guilty about the other.
What do you love most about your body as it is right now?
I am thankful that my body is VERY good to me. I don’t treat it well, not like I should. As you probably guessed I am constantly going, and exercise doesn’t always make the cut. (It’s something I recently vowed to start working on). However, with the amount of energy I expend, the amount I am moving and going, my body has been an incredible vessel for me, and I am so thankful for it’s malleability and literal support of my lifestyle that it has given me. My body puts up with a lot. It’s time for me to give back to it – lets consider this little proclamation my start date.
Thank you, Tal!
Photos via The DEN