The Health Scare That Led Ellie Burrows to Start NYC’s First Drop-In Meditation Studio

Ellie Burrows had a health scare in 2008 that landed her in the office of functional and integrative medicine expert Dr. Frank Lipman. He introduced her to meditation to manage emotional aspects of her health issue and having that de-stressing practice became her anchor. She realized meditation was like going to the gym— if you go consistently, you’ll see the benefits. That’s when she came to the idea for MNDFL, New York City’s first drop-in meditation studio.
Bonus: Use the code WellBe for a free 30-minute MNDFL class (first-time community members only, any location)!
*This is a short clip from Burrows’s full interview— click here to watch the whole thing.*
Burrows had been practicing ecstatic breathwork, a dynamic practice where you breathe deeply in a certain cycle, but the practice left her so euphoric she wasn’t sure she could even drive afterwards. Not practical, right? She started working with mindfulness meditation instead, but found that, even with a cushion at home, she wasn’t being consistent. (BTW, mindfulness meditation is the act of bringing your mind to your breath.)
“I noticed that I was showing up for my workout, in between jobs, 2 hours a day, 6 days a week, but I could barely show up for the cushion and the altar in my own home,” she told WellBe.
She turned to meditation teacher Lodro Rinzler and asked why it was so hard finding a place to meditate in NYC that was un-intimidating and didn’t require a long time commitment. That’s how they came up with MNDFL and opened the doors to the first studio in November 2015, with Burrows as the CEO and Rinzler as the Chief Spiritual Officer.
When it comes to meditation, Burrows likes to reference the “three Cs”:  commitment, consistency, and cumulative benefits. Now, with three locations in NYC and an online video platform, they’re reaching meditation practitioners novice and experienced.
Burrows practices Vedic Meditation, a mantra-based practice, twice a day for 20 minutes. If she misses a day, she feels it.
“It feels really similar to how I used to want coffee every day at 4:00 pm. By then I’m sluggish, my body is craving it. It’s so used to the release of bliss chemicals that happen during practice that it will miss and crave those chemicals when I’m not practicing,” she said.
Watch our full interview with Burrows, where she discussed the benefits of meditation, how meditation helps build consciousness, why meditation teaches you about yourself, how tech takes away from our relationships, and the upside of having a meditation community.

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