Startup founder brings meditation to busy professionals

The word “meditation” used to bring visions of Buddhist monks to mind, but these days it’s a buzzword with celebrities, politicians and professional athletes.

Meditation can still be intimidating if you don’t know where to start. For one busy New York City-based businesswoman, stress from overworking led to panic attacks— until she found meditation. Now, she’s made it her mission to bring the benefits of the mindful practice to the masses.

“From the outside, my life looked immaculate,” Dina Kaplan, a tech startup co-founder, said. “I didn’t tell anyone that I had built up so much anxiety and so much stress… that it was taking a toll on my body.”

Kaplan took a two-year journey around the world to live in the exact opposite way of her life, which meant no more dinner parties, networking events and constant media attention. In India, she found what she’d been missing— meditation.

“I started to see the first glimpses of mental agility,” she said. “The ability to say, ‘Oh, this thing happened,’ and normally I would just react, but what if I put space between that and just decide to live lighter?”

In October 2014, Kaplan started The Path, a company offering weekly group meditation and special events in New York City.

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“It’s amazing that you can have an oasis of serenity that you could go to because sometimes you won’t be able to carve out those 5, 10,15 minutes a day, so being able to go somewhere that is physically anchored is a big deal for me,” Nicolas Michaelson, a startup founder and The Path member, said.

According to Bogard, the lessons come from the power of focusing on your breath and being aware of your thoughts without reacting to them.

“We can get greater levels of perspective and clarity, our creativity opens; people almost notice that they sleep deeper and digest better,” meditation teacher Ally Bogard said. “It’s not some big huge claim, it’s simply because the body gets a chance to pause and get its natural functions going again.”

Even skeptics are showing up and finding benefits.

“I feel 100 percent more relaxed than I did when I walked through the door and I still have 5,000 things to do, but I feel much calmer about how I’m going to take care of it,” Marco Liuzzo, a trader and The Path member, said.

Bogard said just 5 to 10 minutes per day is all you need and iin 4 to 6 weeks you can feel a difference.

“I’m definitely a more effective company founder and a more effective manager because I meditate,” Kaplan said.

Kaplan developing a tech platform to reach even more meditation students.

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