In the midst of a particularly hectic winter, I was invited to attend The Path Experience led by Dina Kaplan. If anyone knows the woes of burnout it’s Kaplan, who founded The Path after leaving the tech start-up world in search of a healthy balance, so I was delighted to participate in her afternoon meditation retreat. I’ve only dabbled in mindfulness, so this immersive retreat with hours of meditation seemed a bit intimidating. It turned out to be a blissful breeze. Kaplan guided the group of beginner to longtime meditators, and the hours flew by, my mind cleared, and everyone felt a profound sense of calm. After feeling the relaxing results for myself, I followed up with Kaplan to hear her insights on how spas like yours can best incorporate meditation, and make it appealing and successful for beginners. Here are her top tips for tranquility.
Create a Quiet Space: “Spas should have inviting areas that are quiet, with no music, large if possible and full of light. Even if your eyes are closed for 90 percent of the time, it's inspiring to begin and end a meditation in a space with beautiful views and full of sunshine. Unless you're hosting very experienced meditators, it's best for meditation areas to be indoors, or at least in an area protected by the sun and wind if outdoors.”
Set Up Seats: "Spas should have comfortable cushions and ideally a matching mat where your knees and calves will rest, like the great set UNDO sells that we used for The Path Experience."
Provide Guidance: “If you want to attract new meditators, it would be great to have a meditation teacher in person or to offer on-demand audio or video meditations. At The Path we already have beautiful audio meditations in a variety of categories that we'd be happy to partner with you on offering. Or you can have one of your teachers record audio or video meditations for your guests."
Vary Meditation Techniques: “Ideally you'd offer a variety of techniques, such as mindfulness, mantra and compassion, because not everyone is suited for each type of meditation. Mindfulness meditations are great for focus and stress release. Mantra meditations are wonderful for releasing stress and boosting creativity. And compassion is so important for each of us, in our personal and professional lives. I think it's great to expose people to all three. And if possible, an energizing meditation too, which would be terrific for people in the morning or mid-afternoon! “
Keep Hydrated: "There should be water nearby in case a guest wants to do a long meditation (this is, after all, a workout for the mind so you can get thirsty meditating!)."
Offer Healthy Snacks (it's hard to meditate on a full stomach, so eating after sitting is generally better): “I would recommend vegetables and hummus or anything clean—without sugar, soy, gluten or corn. Avocados would be good, too. And coffee can decrease people's high vibe, so I would suggest water and tea, and green tea if guests want some caffeine in the morning or afternoon!”
“Spas can absolutely make meditation accessible, fun and inviting to guests,” says Kaplan. “They can also offer guests the tools and inspiration to maintain a daily practice when they return home - what an incredible gift for guests! With this, you'll be offering guests a beautiful escape from their daily lives, and a fun, light-filled, inspiring journey within.”