I Joined a Meditation Studio and It Changed My Brain

Want a new and improved brain? Keep reading.

I Joined a Meditation Studio and It Changed My Brain
Credit: iStock/Jacoblund

My mind was a mess – full of intrusive thoughts. I was either worried about the future or beating myself up about the past. Rarely was I in the elusive mindful state of the blissful present moment. I fell for almost every trigger life threw at me. 

I was fed up and knew it was time for a change.

Enter Unplug, the world’s first drop-in, secular meditation studio. It offers totally do-able mediation in fifty and thirty-minute classes designed for members to ‘drop in’ and zen out. Forget two-hour sits – that was beyond my meditation capabilities. Unplug gave me what I needed most – a quick dose of mindfulness in the midst of hectic city life.

Founded by Suze Yalof Schwartz, her mission is to edit the practice of meditation and make it interesting, inspirational, and easy for both busy skeptics and the modern soul-seeker. 

Yalof Schwartz stands by the Unplug Manifesto, “Everyone needs to unplug to recharge. Slowing down can happen quickly. Working in is just as important as working out. Over-meditating beats medicating. Meditation is easy to learn – especially when it’s guided. Once can change your day, and more can change your life.” 

Scientific studies demonstrate that meditation can change brain patterns in as little as eight weeks. I meditated for a year. This is what I learned. 

Beyond Traditional Meditation

Besides the traditional sit-up straight or lay down eyes closed meditation, Unplug offers many other transformational healing meditative experiences. From crystal bowl sound baths, breathwork, and tapping to energy detoxing – I was introduced to healing modalities on all levels for the mind, body, and spirit. 

Unplug meditation teacher Amy Budden harnesses the power of heart coherence to cultivate an elevated emotion such as love or joy, associate that elevated feeling with a thought, and then “broadcast” it out into the world. The culminated effect of an elevated thought for a sustained about of time quickly changed my “state of being” from tense and stressful to feeling like a floaty bliss ball. The health benefits of achieving heart coherence are far-reaching – including clear thinking and a healthier body.

Breathwork is a very active meditation that uses a simple but powerful pattern of two inhales and one exhale – all through the mouth – to recalibrate our nervous system and free up stuck energy – aka past trauma. There’s a saying that “our issues are in our tissues”. Breathwork frees the body from stuck energy. In this profound energy shift, I felt hot or cold and light to intense energy throughout vibrating throughout my body. 

Crystal bowls support relaxing brain entrainment where the vibration and sound of the bowls can permeate the cellular level of your body. Used for centuries as a healing and meditative tool – the sound current fills the room. It’s high vibration balances disharmony in the mind and body. At times, I felt the vibration of the sound – like gentle shivers – circle my body. Areas that were tense felt looser and my mind was always more at ease.

Unplug Meditation teacher Lena George wants us to “get really good and feeling good” through a form of energy healing called tapping that reprograms and soothes our nervous system. Using acupressure points, tapping helps reduce stress by reprogramming self-talk from negative criticisms into positive healthy affirmations. It’s incredibly gentle and had a profound effect on reversing negative loops of thought. 

A formally trained medical doctor turned energy healer, Dr. Nikki Starr leads an Energy Detox meditation. Using plant and animal allies and sound along with a guided meditation, negative patterns of energy are removed from our energy fields. Dr. Starr invites skeptics to be aware of how they feel before class and after to gauge the power of this process for themselves. 

My new brain

After a year of regularly meditating at Unplug, I have what feels like a new brain. Gone are the sabotaging intrusive thoughts. I’m less reactive and I have more energy for my creative pursuits. I realize how important it is to calm, soothe, and reset my nervous system daily through meditation. If I can’t get to a class, I use the Unplug app to relax, let go, and reset. 

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