The Den Meditation Challenge
Hey! Devin here. In June, I challenged myself to meditate for 3 minutes every day. That's it, just 3 minutes. I never thought meditation could work for me because my brain is always thinking about a million things at once and I didn't understand how sitting quietly for a few minutes would actually help me get further in anything or how it would help me learn more about myself. Honestly, I thought it would only re-confirm my suspicions that I'm a crazy lady who thinks about waaaayyy too much.
So what's changed? I don't know it might be because I'm a bit older now, I'm better at dealing with alone time and I cherish creating special moments for myself, I believe in the power of the breathe and the idea of being in control of my energy. So, yeah, I guess I finally felt like I was mature enough to start a regular meditation practice. Go me!
So, I started and... it was challenge. Why could I not create these few simple moments for myself on a regular basis, when I actually want to? I am the only thing in the way of doing this. Why wasn't I supporting myself? I can do this.
I decided to really, really challenge myself, because when you really, really challenge yourself, you can do anything, right?
I woke up the next morning and decided I'm going meditate. I spent the whole 3 minutes... breathing. Just "in" and "out" and "in" and "out." That's it. And I've been able to do it just about every morning since then. Sometimes my mind is ready, sometimes it isn't. If my mind started racing, I would just focus on counting my breathes. I'd count up to 10 and then start again.
I've worked my way up to 5 minutes of mediation now and I'm really proud of myself for that. Obviously, I'm still at the beginning stages but I'm glad I've started!
Meditating for 5 mins every day has become the new norm, but I wanted to take my self care challenge up a notch and try all different kinds of meditation styles. This is when I came across the meditation studio, The Den, in mid-city LA. Its a little boho haven located off the hustle of La Brea in Los Angeles. They have create a very hippie, zen, and calming ambience for all of their patrons to enjoy. They encourage you to have tea or to browse their current selection of books if you're early or to just lounge and chill on their comfy cushions. Could this place get any better? Yes. The Den offers a $50 package for first timers that includes "21 days of unlimited classes and up to 3 workshops."
So, I decided to turn this offer into a challenge. I made a commitment with myself to go to as many classes as my schedule allows for the next 21 days. Not only would I be able to sample a ton of the classes they have, but I'd get to really focus on growing my meditation practice and hopefully pick up some awesome habits while I'm there! I mean look at all the types of classes you can take there! It's pretty amazing and I was ready to really enjoy this amazing and simple journey I was giving myself.
In 21 days I attended 8 classes and 1 workshops! Yes, 9 total classes! I was quite proud of myself. It was really cool to experience so many various styles of meditation.
I kept a little journal of each class experience so I could share it with you guys. Here's a breakdown of all the classes I attended during my intro period!
Mindfulness - taught by Alla Poberesky
Class Description - Practice accepting your thoughts, emotions, and the world around you without judgement, in order to benefit your brain and your body.
What Was it Like? This was my first class, so I wasn't really in my element yet. I grabbed the wrong pillows so my back hurt the whole time and, if I'm being honest, I spent a lot of time decided whether I was really going to take on this 21 day challenge or not. So, it's safe to say I was pretty distracted during this class. However, through my weak attempt at meditation I was able to open myself up to the idea of committing to this challenge and saw the fun in trying all the new types of meditation practices.
Self Compassion - taught by Jamie Wozny
Class Description - Deepening the compassion you have for yourself allows you to cultivate a space of internal acceptance, happiness and peace. Join Jamie Wozny, Intuitive Reader, Reiki Master and Transformational Life Coach during her guided meditation that uses a variety of gentle healing modalities aimed at enhancing your own self-compassion.
What Was it Like? This class' focus surrounded pain and suffering. The message was clear - Suffering and pain are rooted in our thoughts; there actually is no pain or suffering in the present. My major takeaway was that I needed to practice more on being present and letting go of thoughts that involve "fear" & "anxiety." Overall, Jamie had great energy and I really liked her guided meditation and class topic.
Meditation and Aromatherapy - taught by Benjamin W. Decker
Class Description - Enjoy the deeply healing and relaxing benefits of essential oils as they work together with Mindfulness Meditation in this very special class. Learn the basics about these natural healing modalities and experience their benefits first hand.
This candlelit class is dedicated to releasing the stressors of daily life and connecting to your life in a greater context, allowing you to relax, decompress, and prepare for a night of sweet dreams. This class will provide you with the clarity of mind to rest easy and wake up confident - ready to powerfully move forward into your life.
This class ends with a moment of self-appreciation and compassion - leaving plenty of room in between for silent meditation, deep relaxation and personal insight.
What Was it Like? I love the concept of combining scent with mediation, so I quite excited to take this class. At the beginning of each class, a unique blend of essential oils is made. For our specific class, they blended 8 different essentials oils (clary sage, ylang ylang, spearmint... and i forgot the rest). Everyone had 1-2 drops placed in their palms and took a couple of deep breaths of the special blend. They explained what each of the scents would awaken within us and then we were taken through a relaxing, guided meditation for 20/25 mins. I would definitely be interested in taking this class again.
Chanting - taught by Hilary Jackendoff
Class Description - A guided meditation that uses certain specific sound vibrations to help your mind reach a state of calmness.
What Was it Like? I was a little nervous for this class as it is out of comfort zone to collectivity shout things with other people. So before the class I decided my plan was going to be to sit in the back and participate when I want but at least I would be trying something new. Well, when I showed up and it was only me and one other guy, so I ended up being front and center and totally participating the entire class. The universe can be quite funny that way, yeah? Anyways I had no reason to feel intimidated or out of place. Hilary was awesome and really took the time to explain how chanting works and tips on how to pronounce all of the different sounds. We ended up choosing to classic mantra to chant, "Om Namah Shivaya." This mantra is very well known and essentially revolves around calling upon the higher self to break down the ego (death to ego... Release so you can let in). We literally repeated this phrase for 25/30 mins. Sometimes saying it softer, sometimes saying it louder, but most importantly saying it continuously. I have to say, my body was WOKE afterwards. I could feel the vibrations running throughout my body and it was really cool to experience something like that.
Reiki Healing - taught by Kelsey Patel
Class Description - Guided meditation with individual reiki healing.
What Was it Like? This class started off with drops of Sage essential oil for everyone, a few collective breathes and then we went into a deep, guided meditation on self worth. During our meditation, Kelsey went around and gave individual reiki to everyone which felt pretty special. If you're not familiar with reiki, reiki is a special Japanese technique that is used for stress reduction, relaxation, and also promotes healing. After our meditation we did a couple minutes of guided "tapping" to release fear and remind ourselves that "I am fucking worth it." The class then ended with 2 mins of collective breath work which I have found really re-energizes me after a relaxing meditation. Kelsey has an amazing spirit about her and definitely keeps it real with you. I love the way she guides and inspires her classes and I can't wait to take another one!
Meet Your Spirit Guide - taught by Kathryn Schiff
Class Description - Creative, Spiritual & Emotional Help Waiting for You! We will explore the realm of invisible helpers here to assist you on your journey. This fun, interactive exploration will acquaint you with your guides, spirit helpers, and angel beings. These beings watch, teach, and help you heal on this physical journey into spiritual awareness. Clear out any energies or beings that are not helping you fulfill this journey. Learn how to work with them. Meet your guides and spirit master and learn to receive and give healings! This workshop helps you to clear away old notions of having to be In Total Control, and offers simple intuitive techniques for communicating with your guides. Ask for solutions to be revealed, ask for creative inspiration, for a great job, for more love. Ask and you shall receive!
What Was it Like? This class involved 4 guided meditations, which I thought was pretty cool because most classes do one or two. Our first meditation was a grounding meditation where we connected with our body and then connected with the root of the earth. This is a very common technique used to start deep meditation. We then transitioned into a short awakening meditation in which we cleansed and awakened our mind, body, and spirit. It was then time to go into meditation to "meet our spirit guide." I was a bit apprehensive, I mean am I really going to meet MY spirit guide while laying on the floor with a bunch of people in Hollywood? I wasn't completely sure, but before the class I committed to being open throughout the whole class and to just listen to Kathryn's instructions and whatever happens... will happen. So after our awakening meditation, we went into the first of two meditation focused on meeting our spirit guide. During this first meditation, I didn't really feel like I connected. In fact, I almost fell asleep. Apparently, this isn't uncommon. Often when you meditate, you release energy that you have been hold on to. This can be draining sometimes, and, well, I felt drained after this round. I was a little bummed I didn't meet "my guide" but I also didn't beat myself up about it. So, then we went into our second round of meditation and thats when shit got real. After reconnecting and getting into a trance, a purple light/glow emerged. Per our instructor's recommendation, I tried introducing myself and communicating with this purple light. I didn't get any words of wisdom or communication back but what I did feel was a huge rush + flow of energy swirling through my body. And then I started feeling warm and even started to sweat a bit. The energy that I felt flowing through me was all about confidence - to believe in myself... to feel full. As this was happened I felt myself pushing self doubt out. I asked this purple light to help me move past my fears of failure, my fears of success, and to help me navigate through new business experiences. No words back but I did feel another wave of confidence flow through me. As we came out of the meditation I felt tingles of electricity flow throughout my body (I had felt this once before after a breathwork session). I felt lighter yet stronger after the class. Definitely have to take this one again!
Crystal Meditation - taught by Paula Pavlova
Class Description - Use of crystals to tap into a deep meditation using visualization techniques and mantras.
What Was it Like? As we arrived we got to pick out two crystals. The first stone everyone was picked out was from a group of Tibetan Quartz crystals. The second stone was from a group of chakra stones. She didn't explain what they were, just to feel it out. I was feeling Carnelian vibes that day so I snagged that one. The class consisted of two guided meditations. For the first one, we laid on our backs with our arms on our side and palms up. We held our the crystals in each hand and then tuned into our breathes. For the second meditation we placed the chakra stone on the corresponding chakra spot. I was a little sleepy during this class. Not sure if it's because I did such a great job at releasing a bunch of energy or if I was just plain tired. Finished the class with a collective Ommm. Really love that collective Ommm.
Restorative - taught by Amy Rose Stabley
Class Description - This class will help you master conscious control over relaxation so you can calm your mind, soothe your muscles, and leave feeling relaxed and reinvigorated. This class does involve light stretching.
What Was it Like? Pillows were placed out in a special way before class. As we arrived we were given a drop of Lemon Jade essential oil to take a few deep breathes of. Class consisted of 4 different stretching poses. As you could imagine, It was very chill and relaxing. Before our last pose/stretch we were given a drop of a different essential oil, Stress Away by Young Living. It was a great reminder to really focus on letting the stress go during our last few moments of class. & then to top it off we finished with a collective Ommm. Really enjoyed how much I was actually able to relax during this class.
Reiki Healing (again) - taught by Kelsey Patel
Class Description - Guided meditation with individual reiki healing.
What Was it Like? This class focused on harnessing the new moon's energy - setting intentions and develop new ideas that have been floating around. I worked on releasing control and filling up my body and vibe with gold energy. Everyone was lucky enough to receive individual reiki from Kelsey. She drawn to healing my forehead and skull. We did 10 collective Ommms at the end. The vibration from the Ommms were a great way to end the class and feel refreshed and reenergized.