For many, the holiday season is a time full of stress and anxiety. This year, thanks to the pandemic, holiday-induced stress is expected to skyrocket. Take away traditional family gatherings and we’ve got a holiday season like no other.
To help alleviate whatever strain you’re feeling right now, we bring you the inspiring story of Dana Berk, former fashion-designer-turned-wellpreneur. After leaving the corporate world behind, she embarked on a journey to become a yoga instructor and meditation coach at Chorus Meditation. If you’ve ever wanted to try meditation, now’s your chance. Read on to learn about her own personal journey as well as tips on how to start a fuss-free meditation practice today.
Dana, in her element
"How did you get introduced to meditation? What drew you to it?
Several years back, I moved to San Francisco and I left behind a very successful, very safe fashion career in New York. I expected that my career and life would transition seamlessly, but boy was I wrong. Several terrible freelance jobs later, I quickly found myself disappointed, discouraged, and craving a complete life change. From there, I enrolled in Yoga Teacher Training and began teaching yoga regularly at local studios. After several years of facilitating breathwork and mindfulness, as well as practicing daily, teaching meditation became a natural next step.
What does being in the wellness space mean to you?
The wellness space has changed the entire trajectory of both my career and my personal life. I am a happier, healthier, more grounded and compassionate human since taking up both yoga and meditation. I became a teacher with the intention of building community and holding a safe and supportive space for all.
After a long career in big corporations, I welcome the change of working for a small female-owned and operated company like Chorus. Chorus has an important mission of providing inclusive and accessible mental health and wellness to all. It is an honor to work for a company like Chorus, whose vision for battling social injustice in the wellness space-- a predominantly white and wealthy industry-- is a much needed breath of fresh air.
What benefits does meditation have? How has it helped you?
Ah my favorite topic, the benefits of meditation! They are truly endless, but to name a few: better sleep, reduced stress and anxiety, enhanced connections in your relationships and a greater sense of fulfillment in your life.
To put it in terms we all can relate to: meditation doesn't magically make challenge and chaos disappear and everything suddenly becomes sunshine and rainbows; instead, meditation brings a greater sense of awareness to your current mental, physical and emotional state and provides you with the tools to be better equipped at dealing with whatever thoughts and emotions are weighing you down.
As a native New Yorker at heart (go, go, go!), keeping a consistent mindfulness practice has gotten me to truly slow down and appreciate the NOW rather than always rushing into the next thing. I am full of emotions all of the time and meditation has given me the opportunity to become aware of those big feelings, permission to let them exist without judgement and then given me the space to better cope with them in everyday life.
Any advice for first-timers?
Meditation can be really intimidating, especially when you imagine sitting with your own thoughts in complete stillness for hours on end. Kudos to those who can do that, but that is not me! Meditation does not need to be frustrating or boring and certainly anyone can do it. Meditation comes in many forms--writing in a journal, pausing and taking a few deep breaths or starting your morning with me in a Chorus class!
My greatest advice is to leave the judge-y thoughts and unrealistic expectations at home; it is just breathing after all! Mediation is up to the user, everyone's experience is their own and there is no one way that is better or more correct. Just showing up and carving out that time for yourself to connect to your mind, body and spirit is a win in my book.
First time Chorus go-ers should expect a unique and thoughtful experience. The practice combines traditional mediation techniques, breathwork and journaling-- all set to some cool beats from the comfort of your own home. I promise Chorus is like nothing you ever experienced before. Warning: you may get hooked!"
To get started, try this “box breathing” exercise with Dana as your guide. If you’d like to try out Dana’s Chorus class, click here for a week long guest pass, or DM her on IG @danab02.