Dina Kaplan is Founder and CEO of the The Path and a certified meditation teacher who leads meditations and retreats around the world. Before The Path, Dina was co-founder and COO of the tech start-up Blip.tv in web video, and before that she was an Emmy-award winning journalist, mostly for NBC affiliates. She has a column in Forbes.com and has written articles about living mindfully for the New York Times, today.com, Time Magazine’s Motto brand, Marie Claire, Medium, Town & Country and more.
You can follow her on: Twitter: @dinakaplan; Instagram: @dinakaplan; and Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/dina.kaplan
1. You’re the founder of The Path, which teaches meditation for the modern mind. Can you tell us more about the Path and what inspired you to create it?
The Path teaches meditation in a modern, accessible way. We host curated retreats in beautiful places, teacher training programs and fun, social meditations in New York, L.A. and around the world. I founded The Path after helping to run a tech start-up, in part because I wanted to save my former self! I was a stressed-out founder who wanted to work hard and have impact on the world but also to be more mindful, calm and to gain the deep wisdom of intuition that’s within us if we quiet our minds enough to listen.
I wanted to launch a start-up that did three things. First, I wanted The Path to be a beautiful, accessible place for people to learn meditation. Many of the places I went to study meditation in the U.S. had no hot water and no paper towels! I wasn’t sure if this enhanced my knowledge of meditation! So I purposely created The Path to host meditations in beautiful, light-filled areas to make the meditations something you looked forward to joining.
Second, many of the places I went to study knew only one type of meditation. They were very emphatic about that type, but I knew there were others. So I founded The Path to teach all four major categories of meditation and to let people find the path that’s right for them.
Third, I wanted to create a thriving community of meditators so people in diverse fields, from fashion to publishing to business, tech, entertainment and more, could become friends and bond over their affinity for meditation. This has happened, and people have met and gotten married from The Path, people have become roommates and people have met friends at The Path and traveled the world together — I love that!
2. How does The Path redefine conventional wisdom on meditation?
There are two ways we do this. First, we don’t just teach one type but all four major categories of meditation: mantra, mindfulness, energizing and meditation to accomplish a goal, such as compassion or gratitude. I really believe you can help people find the style of meditation that’s best for them or for what they want to accomplish at this stage of their lives. This is very different than what I encountered when I studied meditation around the world, and most ashrams I lived at advocated one type of meditation for all people.
Secondly, I think some people feel like meditation feels “other” for them, something that’s not quite right as they lean in on their careers. For this reason we don’t talk about crystals at The Path, we don’t use language such as “holding space” that you may hear in other meditation communities. We make meditation accessible and fun and really right for everyone. We all know how to tone our bodies to be as fit as possible — we want to make it easy for people to hone their minds, too.
3. In one of your blog posts, you included this quote: “What we cannot imagine, cannot come into being.” Can you give us some context to the quote and share how The Path helps individuals imagine and manifest what they want to bring to life?
I am a huge believer in meditation helping people to manifest things, and James Doty, a neurosurgeon who is Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research at Stanford University wrote about this in his bestseller “Into the Magic Shop.” If you can relax your body and mind, then train your mind to focus through mindfulness meditation, perhaps focusing on the sensations of the breath, those are the first two steps to begin manifesting. I write more about this in an article for Forbes. But even if you don’t follow this specific technique, I highly recommend meditation for people looking to accomplish a goal. Meditation helps you focus. It helps you relax. It makes you easier to be around because it gives you, over time, a deep feeling that the world is supporting you. And even just these qualities will help you manifest more magic in your life. I encourage you to try it!