At her new Westside meditation studio, Unplug, former fashion editor Suze Yalof Schwartz is giving LA a much-needed chill pill.
Suze says relax! “I was looking for easy access into meditation,” says Suze Yalof Schwartz of the concept behind Unplug.
Olympic Boulevard, 5 pm. A Range Rover cuts you off, causing you to miss the light. Your phone is pinging incessantly with lamentations from needy coworkers. Cranky kids in the backseat are fighting over an iPad. Your face burns, your stomach twists, your fists tighten on the steering wheel.
Typical day in LA? It doesn’t have to be, says Suze Yalof Schwartz. All you have to do is breathe. She’s got proof: Since April, Schwartz’s team of meditation pros has been teaching stressed-out Angelenos—investment bankers, lawyers, actors, athletes—how to chill out at Unplug, her chic drop-in studio. And according to her, the results have been profound.
“There’s one guy who had anger management issues…. he came 19 times in a month and a half, and his wife came to thank me. There’s a girl who has Crohn’s disease who says this is helping her a lot because it’s relieving her stress,” says Schwartz, 47. She’s also seen some pretty significant changes herself since starting to meditate four years ago. “I’m a little kinder, I appreciate more, I want less.”
A former editor for Glamour, style correspondent for Good Morning America, and mother of three rambunctious boys, Schwartz is no stranger to stress. After moving to the Palisades from Manhattan in 2010 for her husband’s job, her mother-in-law suggested Schwartz meditate to relax. “All I could find were $1,400 transcendental meditation courses, or eight-week programs at UCLA,” she recalls. “I thought, Why can’t there be somewhere like Drybar, where you can walk in, feel great, and be done? Isn’t meditation supposed to be simple?”
She used her editor’s eye to create the kind of place she wanted to visit—one that teaches accessible techniques in 45 minutes or less, costs just $20 per class, and looks as visually appealing as a spa, with a stark white lobby, cozy seating, and a studio bathed in “purple haze.” (“I was inspired by the James Turrell exhibition [at LACMA],” she says.)
Though Schwartz has already received an e-mail from Gwyneth Paltrow and is fielding calls from Europe with requests to open studios there, her focus, for now, is on LA. This fall, she plans to introduce meditation workshops for kids and anxious travelers and bring in guest instructors from around the world. “My only intention right now is to get as many people meditating as possible, because there’s nothing better for you,” she says, citing studies that prove it reduces anxiety, insomnia, overeating, and more. “I really want people to make it a priority…. it does change your life.” 12401 Wilshire Blvd., LA, 310-826-8899