In LA, life moves fast (unless you’re on the 405 at literally any point during the day!). It can be hard to keep up at times. With fast-paced lifestyles and mounting career and social pressures, it’s no wonder most people are also experiencing higher anxiety levels and more and more people are looking for some kind of escape. Our bodies and minds crave stillness and silence. That may be why meditation practitioners have tripled from 2012 to 2017—meditation allows space for stillness. It effectively calms our anxious minds by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system, allowing us to “rest and digest” rather than “fight or flight”. It stills our thoughts and allows a space to become aware and gain perspective.
The benefits of a regular meditation practice are nearly endless- stress reduction, lowering anxiety, enhancing self-awareness, increasing attention span, and improving sleep are all common outcomes people experience. At Parsley, we regularly prescribe meditation practices to improve health and help manage a variety of ailments.
When we talk about meditation, you may picture a bunch of people sitting with their legs crossed, eyes closed, back straight, in silence. That thought may be uncomfortable or downright scary. The amazing thing about meditation is that it can look like that, but it does not have to. Meditation is simply the practice of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts. It can take many forms and may change for you day by day. If you’re new to the idea of meditation, it may be helpful to try a guided class. These are a few that I recommend often to my Parsley Health members.
1. The Den Meditation
The Den has so many classes to choose from! It is the perfect place to introduce yourself to a meditation practice or try a new perspective. Beginners through advanced meditators will find inspiration and connection in these classes. There are focused classes, like Awakening Authenticity, and free-form offerings like the 2-Hour Sit. They even have a 20 minute class for kids. If you’re new to meditation, I recommend sitting in on the Effortless guided class or signing up for their Learn to Meditate workshop. Plus, Parsley members have a special perk with The Den!
2. Wanderlust Studio
This studio in Hollywood is a place you’ll never want to leave (and with their membership…you kind of don’t have to!). There are multiple yoga studios, a meditation studio, and an amazing cafe with seasonal, Parsley-approved, offerings. The studio is laid back and welcoming. Their philosophy has you looking inward to bring your practice to the next level, so much so that they don’t even have mirrors in class. Wanderlust creates a safe space for all to explore.
3. Y7 Studio
If you’re more of a “put on some gangster rap and handle it” type of person, you’re going to ADORE Y7 studio in Silver Lake. Y7 Studio is on a mission to make yoga and mindfulness accessible to everyone. Per their manifesto: “…we welcome all who give their all. One family formed by sweat…Sweat doesn’t judge…”. Y7 uses movement (yoga) and candlelit rooms to help you turn inward and work through yourself and anything that is limiting you from being amazing. From first-timers to experts, Y7 will push you further into yourself so you can show up more honestly in your life.
4. Peace Awareness Labyrinth and Gardens
One of my (personal) favorite forms of meditation is Walking Meditation. The art of walking meditation is to learn to be aware as you walk, to use the natural movement of walking to cultivate mindfulness and wakeful presence. Peace Awareness offers a labyrinth with one continuous path that twists and turns, eventually leading you out (not like a maze where you may get lost!). It is a tool that allows the mind to be freed from the need to make a decision about what direction to take in the immediate sense, but will allow space for the mind to decide what direction to take in the more existential sense. This is a place of serenity hidden away in Jefferson Park and is free to enter! They also offer guided events, sandbaths, and candle-lit walks in the labyrinth. This place is seriously relaxing and such a gem!
5. Unplug Meditation
With amazing spaces in West Hollywood and Santa Monica,Unplug is us a great destination for your meditation practice. Even more amazing? You can take your practice with you by using their app! Classes in the studio range from 30 to 45 minutes and touch on a number of different types of meditation. While their most popular class is their signature “Unplug & Recharge” there are also classes in sound healing, visualization, and breathe work.
6. Ceremony Meditation
Ceremony is a mediation and energy healing studio that offers a wide range of guided meditation. The studio is unique in that it has both indoor and outdoor spaces. Picture this: a subtle breeze from the Venice air, birds chirping above, and the sun warming your skin. You’ll be relaxed in no time!
7. Insight Meditation
Insight has studios in both Santa Monica and East Hollywood. While some classes focus specifically on calming the mind, others touch on the heart and body. They also hold a number of weekly workshops on mindfulness fundamentals, stress reduction, balancing emotions and breathwork. You might say, but practicing here, you’ll have great insight into your own world.