For us, 2019 is all about prioritizing emotional health, staying present and keeping the calm. To kick off the year, we’ll be spotlighting some of our favorite female entrepreneurs and asking them how they #CultivateCalm in their personal and professional lives. First up is Ellie Burrows Gluck. Ellie is the co-founder of MNDFL, our favorite meditation and mindfulness studio in New York. MNDFL has helped us to build our own meditation practices and serves as an oasis from busy city life. Taught by leading experts, MNDFL offers classes in areas like breath work, intention setting and heart connection.
Q: We are so inspired by how you are making meditation accessible and relatable to so many people in NYC. How were you first introduced to mindfulness, your practice, and what inspired you to open the first studio?
The studio arose from a deep personal need. Honestly, I was struggling with my practice and I was finding it incredibly hard to meditate in my own home. I wanted to meditate in a space that wasn’t religious and didn’t involve a weekend-long commitment, a space I could drop into with a community that was interested in exploring meditation in a contemporary context. I loved the feeling of group meditations and I personally liked the format of boutique fitness studios—reserving a spot online or dropping in and joining class. It's petty incredible to reflect on this as three years later, I'm now a teacher.
Q: Giving back is so central to our Rose & Rex mission, and we love that MNDFL is like-minded, with MNDFL Ed. Tell us a bit about your mission, what you do with this programming, and what you’re most excited about.
MNDFL Ed. aims to make meditation accessible to New York City children and youth, and under-resourced school communities. Our non-profit arm was founded to bring time-tested meditation techniques into schools and are led by trained and certified MNDFL meditation instructors. The goal is for all participants to live more productive, peaceful lives, and become a new generation of open-hearted and compassionate human beings.
We engage students through personal, interpersonal, and community mindfulness and custom build each specific program with the partner school, through three general types of programs. I'm most excited about the meditation room we built at Brooklyn College Academy and excited to bring that type of space to other schools. I'm also equally inspired by our recent partnership with Tropicana Kids!
Q: Today you have 3 studios, teacher training, a non profit, online classes -- What’s can we be on the lookout for next from MNDFL?
We practice what we preach at MNDFL and currently we're solely focused on what our wonderful community needs in the present moment. For example, we just upgraded to a new and beautiful booking platform to making our community members' experience more seamless. And, heading into the holidays we're cooking up all sorts of events to combat holiday stress. Check back after January - we might have some exciting announcements then ;).
Q: As a successful and busy entrepreneur & expert in the field - what are some ways that you #cultivatecalm personally, and in your everyday life?
Naturally, meditation is my main antidote to the hustle and bustle. I also love to spend time with my husband (newlyweds!) and my family. I love to dance at Body By Simone - it brings me so much joy - and I find chocolate to be endlessly comforting.
Q: What does being mindful mean to you?
In the meditation world, many of us have a favorite definition which comes from preeminent master teacher and founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, Jon Kabat-Zinn: “The awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience.” Basically, mindfulness is the act of purposefully bringing your full attention to the present moment with zero judgement of what’s occurring in that moment.
For all the buzz, it’s a rather unsexy objective experience when you really break it down. If you're sitting across from a loved one and he or she is talking to you, then in that moment you are engaging in the act of listening. If you're being mindful in that moment, you are totally and completely placing your attention on this person and listening to him or her to the best of your abilities. What does that look like? You are not thinking about your to-do list, the next thing on your calendar, interrupting with your latest idea, or anxiously waiting to respond to whatever it is they are saying, checking your phone or judging them. Instead, you are fully showing up for that person by way of simply listening in that moment.
Q: What is your favorite toy / activity in the Calm Mind Kit?
The maple wood mindful stacking blocks. Sense, stack, chillax. Love.