What I Learned From Visiting a Wellness Concierge Service

She asked me if I was single, and shit started to get real.

Just like every other millennial on the planet, I’m really fucking busy. I’ve got a full-time job, a full load of freelance work (I’m writing this at 7 p.m. on a Saturday), workout classes I refuse to miss, and a ton of friends that I like to see with some regularity in between all of that. My free time is rarely ever “free”—and for the most part, I like it that way. But when I attended a launch party for a site I freelanced for last month (told you, busy AF), a flier in my swag bag for a free “wellness” consultation made me reconsider whether or not I’m actually living my best life.

Namaste NY touts themselves as a wellness concierge service, offering personalized services by experts in different fields that come direct to you. They cater to individuals, families and even couples and corporate groups. Services include yoga instructors, meditation instructors, personal trainers, nutritionists and even massage therapists available to work with you on your schedule—whenever it’s most convenient for you.

As far as nutrition and fitness go, I’m doing pretty well in both categories. I eat healthy for the most part, and work out 4-5 times per week. But still, I wanted to hear what Namaste had to say about my current way of living, since it’s been leaving me pretty exhausted.

When I emailed to schedule my free consultation, I found out that they weren’t kidding about the whole working around you thing. I gave them my availability, and they agreed to an early morning call before I had to be in the office. I received a call from the company’s founder, Julie Wald, and immediately started bombarding her with questions about what exactly this whole wellness concierge service is all about.

Before 9/11, Julie was a clinical social worker in New York City, moonlighting as a yoga and meditation teacher. When she saw the emotional toll that 9/11 was taking on those around her, she saw a need for a wellness and stress management service—especially for the folks in the financial industry. She also knew that in order for them to actually stick with these services, she’d need to offer them on their timeline.

Cut to 2017, and she’s helping busy millennials like me figure their shit out. Really though, she has a ton of success stories—like her 12-year-old client who’s living with brain cancer, working with Namaste’s yoga and meditation teachers to maintain his strength through chemotherapy and radiation.

But back to me and how busy I am. After I was done grilling her, Julie gave me an overview of how the consultation would go. We’d spend the next hour talking through three key areas of my life: nutrition, fitness and emotional well being. She asked me a few baseline questions—how old I was, my living situation, what I do for a living. We breezed through nutrition, since I finally got my eating habits under control last year. I work out pretty consistently, but I did tell Julie that during my workouts my mind was always on to the next thing on my agenda for the day, and I didn’t really feel like I was getting the stress relief I needed from the types of workouts I was doing. She suggested some yoga—which I figured would happen, since wellness and yoga typically go hand in hand (also, the company’s named Namaste).

Then she asked me if I was single, and shit started to get real.

My dating life is the one thing that always falls on the backburner, and for the most part, I’m fine with that. Julie asked me if I wanted to be in a relationship, and I gave my standard, “You know, if it happens it happens, I’m not looking but I’m not not looking” answer that I typically spit out. But then she went deeper. “You know, some people say that and mean it and that’s fine,” she told me. “But if it’s something you want, it’s okay to make that a priority—even though there’s no clear path that’s going to lead you there.”

There are a lot of things that I hate about dating, but that’s probably the biggest one. There’s no step-by-step process that’s going to lead you to the right guy. Spending week after week wrapped up in work, workouts, and catching up with girlfriends while huddled in the corner of the bar so that no one will bother us? I didn’t want to change any of that—but I knew it wasn’t helping.

Not to mention, those girl’s nights have become harder and harder to have lately. I told Julie that I find myself canceling plans to get ahead of a deadline, or staying in on a Saturday to catch up on sleep. All of which was stressing me out. I took Julie through all of this, and she suggested a meditation coach—and to start keeping a journal about the man I’d want to meet.

Both of which sounded ridiculous to me … at the time. For starters, being alone with my thoughts for an extended period of time sounds like my personal hell. And keeping a journal about my dream man? What am I, 13?

I pushed off the meditation recommendation. But some spring cleaning led me to an empty journal I’d forgotten about and never used. So I thought, what the hell, fine.

In our consultation, Julie had encouraged me to get really real about what this guy would be like. What does he look like? What would we talk about? She said that knowing what I want would make it clearer as to where I’d meet him, and help me know when I’d met him. Albeit, I skimped on the looks portion of this exercise. But I took some time to write down the conversations I thought that we’d have, because I knew they would involve food. I wrote about the stuff we’d eat, what we’d make. How we’d send each other pictures of our respective supermarket’s latest options and evaluate, talking through the game plan of what we were going to make together for dinner that night. Then I forgot about the whole thing.

A month later, I was having this conversation:

Alright, Julie. Maybe you’re onto something here.

After realizing that maybe her recommendations weren’t so ridiculous after all, I signed myself up for a guided meditation session at the New York. Guided by “Rockstar Teacher of Meditation” Donna D’Cruz, the session promised to “awaken the goddess within.” Not sure that awakening my goddess was my big issue here, but I knew there was no way I was going to be able to sit in silence for a half hour and not have my mind wander to everything else I could be doing with those 30 minutes, so I figured I’d give guided meditation a shot.

I walked into a room of 20 or so strangers facing D’Cruz, who was dressed in what I imagine a goddess would wear. Her outfit was white and drapey to match the couch she was sitting on. There was some kind of scented shit happening, either incense or oil. She welcomed the group, and we closed our eyes and got to it. At first, we were just breathing, taking note of our physical state, the patterns of our breath—stuff you’d expect to happen at meditation. But then we started going down the rabbit hole. “Imagine you’re with the goddess high on a hill,” D’Cruz encouraged us. “Now imagine there’s a frisky little white rabbit hopping about.”

Was this guided meditation, or a guided imagined acid trip?

As absurd as some of the visualizations were, I did my best to imagine all of this happening—but honestly, I lost myself in thought more than I followed along. By the end of it though, I do have to say that the 30 minutes of not staring at a screen of any kind left me feeling refreshed.

Maybe there’s something to be said for the meditation and journaling combo Julie prescribed me. And maybe this guy I’m texting about food will do some weird shit the next time I see him and I’ll be over it. But I did sign myself up for another meditation class (sans visualization)—on the off chance that my wellness advisor was actually right about everything.


Taking Meditation to Bed: The Link Between the Practice and Mind-Blowing Sex

Stressed Out: The Modern Malfunction in Our Fight or Flight Response

10 Things I Had to Give Up to Heal My Anxiety