Rest Stop

A mobile meditation studio hits the Baltimore streets.

Rachel Hinch - November 2019

Rest Stop

A mobile meditation studio hits the Baltimore streets.

Rachel Hinch - November 2019

-Photography by Sean Scheidt

Don't have the time or budget for regular spa treatments? Lots of wellness experts agree that a simple meditation practice can do the trick. But what if you’re not sure how to begin or where to go? Enter Kala, the mobile meditation studio created this June by mother-daughter duo Tina and Maria Stratakis. With Tina’s work in massage and as an energy therapist and Maria’s background as a mental health counselor, they knew they had the perfect combination of know-how to make their studio-on-wheels thrive. So how does it all work?

For now, you can request private group appointments through their website or check their social media for community wellness events where they’ll be stationed. And keep a lookout online, as they’ll soon start parking the bus in Baltimore neighborhoods for walk-in sessions. From there, it’s all pretty simple.

Step into the bus—renovated with soft lights and soundproof walls—and take a seat in one of eight individual pods. Close the curtain, grab a headset, and choose one of the 11 meditations, each recorded with specialized sound therapy music and voices from one of four local wellness practitioners. Then, close your eyes and rest. The results? In just 15 minutes of meditation, they say you'll experience deep relaxation and a sense of renewal. “There’s so much research on meditation in the past several years; it’s fascinating to see all of the benefits linked to a regular meditation practice,” says Maria. “A small amount of time to take a break can change your entire day.”

As mindfulness gains traction in the wellness community, more organizations and companies are taking notice. Some insurance companies have even begun promoting wellness programs that include practices such as meditation. Kala’s mobile studio allows local businesses to explore these benefits. In its first year of business, Kala will have brought meditation to teachers and staff from 12 different schools, visited Baltimore police departments, and attended several community events, such as the FIT+ Festival in Harbor East.

The quick interest in Kala was unexpected, Tina and Maria say, but very welcome. “There’s another side to Baltimore that people really need to know about—a supportive community doing well here,” Tina says. Kala wants to prop up that community. “After meditation, you remember how your body and mind work, and you see that everyone else is just human,” Maria adds. “We hope it will encourage people to try other wellness resources in Baltimore.”

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