Unplug Meditation is a space that was designed with health and wellness in mind. Rather than weight machines or ellipticals, the tools of the trade include quiet rooms and sound bowls. When you walk out the door, you will, in theory, feel peaced-out, rather than wiped out.
The studio schedule lists six to 10 classes a day, including 45-minute meditation sessions, breath work, aromatherapy meditation and, my class of choice, Crystal Healing. (I started collecting rocks at the age of 6; it called to me.)
On a recent Saturday, about 30 people waited in the clean, white lobby for the doors to the meditation studio to open, and most of them looked as you might expect: young, slender, fit.
The studio is large, with a series of well-padded mats placed on the floor. Everyone seemed to know the drill: find a mat and stretch out. Small bags of crystals were passed around, and we were asked to take three and place them on our bodies -- wherever we liked.
Aimee Bello -- guiding the meditation class as she sat on a small platform with a vase of blood-orange roses, several candles and a couple of sound bowls -- was a nurturing presence; her voice, the essence of calm.
"The atoms that exist within a crystal are like the atoms that exist within us," Bello said as she walked around the darkened studio, stopping alongside students to move a crystal to a different spot or switch one out for another. "The particles that are moving around us create a frequency and a vibration, and there are vibrations and frequency being emitted from a crystal too.
"When crystals and humans connect," Bello continued, "the properties in the crystals connect to the properties within us and are used as tools to fine-tune us."
At one point Bello stopped by my mat and moved a green prehnite crystal (which is supposed to help a participant reach a higher spiritual plane) on my forehead. It's all well and good for experienced practitioners and true believers, but a quiet mind is a hurdle for someone who is casting about for something to ease stress. My thoughts strayed to chores, children and my reluctance to believe that the amethyst on my abdomen was going to help me work on physical, emotional and mental balance.
Was it a wasted effort? Not exactly.
I did stop my mind from racing -- for brief, but increasingly longer, periods of time. My heart rate decelerated, my breathing slowed. And I'm pretty sure my serenity quotient increased exponentially.
Was it the prehnite? Does it matter?
After the class ended, several people waited in line with questions for Bello, who greeted everyone with a quiet enthusiasm. After she listened to my confession -- skepticism, inability to concentrate, bad thoughts about the women whispering behind me in the meditation room -- her message was crystal clear: practice.
Classes are $22. Unplug Meditation, 12401 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, 90025. (310) 826-8899. unplugmeditation.com