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Mindful : February 2017
Tal Rabinowitz came up with the concept for The DEN while she was still logging long hours as an exec- utive at NBC. Trained in Transcen- dental Meditation, she’d try to fit in a 20-minute sessions at work, but it was easy to skip whenever her to-do list was too long (which was often). “ For me, creating DEN was absolutely to fill a hole I was looking for,” she says. “I knew what I wanted the space to look like and I had very specific ideas about accessibility.” She wanted a wel- coming place where you could drop in before or after work, a place where as she puts it: “You don’t have to become a monk. You don’t have to feel like you have to be vegan. You don’t have to subscribe to certain ways of being, or having or dressing or talking.” A producer at heart, she made lists of everything it would take to build, drew up budgets and business plans, and created schedules. The resulting studio in LA’s stylish La Brea neigh- borhood looks more like a cozy bar or café. In the common area, richly hued rugs dot the dark wood floors and there are plenty of comfortable chairs and couches where you can talk and grab a cup of tea before class. Candles, featuring The DEN’s signature scent, flicker throughout the studio. “It had to feel like anybody could gather with friends at any age, and just enjoy each other’s company. And it’s been really amazing to watch it happen,” Rabinowitz says. “I’ve watched friendships form among peo- ple who probably never would have met otherwise.” That inclusive feeling extends to the broad offering of classes, which range from traditional mindfulness sessions to Kundalini yoga. From the first day, attendance at the studio has been solid. “I looked around and there was actually a bunch of peo- ple I didn’t know in the space, using it,” Rabinowitz says. “That’s what I’m most proud of—I put something out there and it’s getting used in a way that’s really benefitting people, making them happy and changing their lives.” ● The DEN Meditation Los Angeles, CA denmeditation.com Start Here Wonder what it takes to open and run a meditation studio? Here are a few things to keep in mind. Find the right spot Pick a place that suits the needs of your prospective clients. In Santa Monica, Suze Yalof Schwar tz made sure there was ample park- ing. MNDFL is near several subway lines. Tal Rabinowitz wanted lots of foot traffic, so she chose a location near a popular café and yoga studio. Mind the lessons It’s crucial to have staff who are steeped in medi- tation and have a high level of expertise. “You want to make sure your teachers are extremely well trained and know how to teach in a really accessible way,” says MNDFL’s Lodro Rinzler. Keep listening Place a suggestion box by the front desk and take what your clients have to say to hear t. All three studios have tweaked timing and class selection based on feedback. After all, clients know best. As Rab- inowitz says, “They are the ones who need it, want it, and are doing it every day.” Take care of business You may want to focus on the service you’re providing, but a meditation studio still needs to suppor t itself financially and operate efficiently. “It takes a lot to get it going and to keep it running smoothly,” says Rabinowitz. She says the ability to keep lots of balls in the air is a vital skill for anyone starting a meditation studio. Tal Rabinowitz, founder of The DEN EXPERT ADVICE February 2017 mindful 69