The Path: Dina Kaplan


 

Our zen zone conversations continue, this time with The Path‘s founder Dina Kaplan. In case you’re unfamiliar:“The Path teaches ancient meditation techniques in a modern way. Our leaders guide you through four types of meditation: energizing, mindfulness, mantra and intention-setting.

Each technique has a powerful, and different, effect on the mind. By introducing you to each, we give you the tools to create a meditation practice designed just for you.”

We picked her brain last year with a few questions:

What are the five most zen words in the English language?

Graceful, calm, beach, sailing, silence.

How did you end up doing this professionally?

I was a stressed out tech entrepreneur, and I started having panic attacks. One day, a block from my office in soho, I didn’t feel safe crossing the street  – I was afraid I would faint in the middle of the intersection. In that moment I decided all the accolades and future success weren’t worth not feeling healthy enough to cross the street.

I decided to leave the company I founded and took a 2.5 year trip around the world. During those travels I ended up studying and practicing meditation. I could feel my brain changing and myself become more compassionate. One day, amidst a 10 day silent retreat in India, where the conditions were super rough and it was about 110 degrees, I said to myself – I’m going to come out of this retreat a better person. Everyone should have the chance to experience this. But it doesn’t need to be this hard. And so, when I return to the U.S., I’ll start a company to make meditation more accessible to people in the west, and I will call it The Path.

Any book recommendations for a meditation beginner?

I love What Makes You Not a Buddhist. It’s tough, but it’s the real deal. If you can stomach that, you’re ready to start on your path.

What are your thoughts on meditation apps like Head Space?

I like them and I’m really glad they exist – especially Headspace which was started by a friend. But I love to learn from teachers who are in front of you, to inspire you in person and to whom you can ask questions and say thank you. That’s why we have started The Path with in-person practices. There is something powerful about meditating in a group of people, each on their own path.

Can you REALLY meditate anywhere?

Yes! The Path hosted a gorgeous sunset meditation on the Lilac boat last night, docked right on the Hudson. There was construction nearby during the sit and kids playing in a playground, and yet the meditation was so powerful I felt tingles throughout my body and almost cried during the compassion part. You can meditate during a concert, a parade and for sure in a hotel lobby or park bench if you need a quick meditation fix during the day!

Candles, incense, pillows… name your meditation essentials:

Solely the will power to sit.

What makes the MBH the perfect place for a zen zone on Saturday mornings?

I LOVE guiding the meditations at the MBH. The team is so great there and you can feel their good energy. The pool is so cool, Montauk is so wonderful and everything about the MBH makes it a fantastic place for your morning sit. After the Saturday meditations with you guys I’m on a high for the rest of the day – people even comment that I’m radiating! Come join!

What is your mantra this summer?

My mantra this summer is – grace. I want to learn to live with more graciousness and gracefulness.

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