September 19, 2019

The Annoyingly Beneficial Wellness Trends of LA

“I pull up to a dusty Palm Springs conference center whose lawn is littered with people doing aerial yoga and energy healing, not to mention a lady who is literally marching to the beat of her own drum as she flails with a bongo. This is Wellspring, a mindfulness festival from Wanderlust (a company in the business of self-actualization events). Wellspring has everything you could want from a “wellness gathering”—free CBD massage, sound baths, a machine emitting blue Back to the Future-like currents that supposedly electrocute your chakras into alignment, flower crowns, meditation intensives, and, of course, Russell Brand. It’s the Coachella of natural highs.

I’m wearing typical conference gear—a nice dress, jewelry, and heels—which is all wrong. I’m the only one not in yoga pants. (Side note: I’ve never seen so many flawless backsides in one place.) For a crowd that values diversity and individuality, they all seem to be pulling from the exact same shelf—it looks like a his-and-hers Lululemon ad.

I part the sea of tanned, chaturanga-chiseled arms and dodge inquiring looks at my attire. Call it jealousy if you will, but I find the perfection radiating out of every pore in this place kind of gut-churning.

Right away I happen upon a meditation circle. For years Hollywood’s depiction of a meditation teacher was an old Asian master with a long white beard at the top of a mountain. The leader of this circle is as far from that guy as you can get. She’s young, blond, gorgeous and knows it. Her history with meditation is shorter than the Bird scooter fad. After reading to us about how today’s alignment of stars might affect our practice, she begins telling us that she wasn’t the nicest in high school. As she goes on, I get the sense that’s an understatement and we’re dealing with a reformed Regina George from Mean Girls. She says she was that way until she was about 19, which, so far as I can tell, was five minutes ago. She leads a mantra meditation, spending the full 15 minutes with a hand over her heart, head tilted dreamily to the side, whispering, “May I forgive myself” over and over again. We all do the same mantra, bringing to mind our own misdeeds—may I forgive myself for not packing yoga pants?—as the kind of music they have at Chinese foot-rub places tinkles in the background.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Congratulations, Mr. President. It took an extraordinary effort, but you finally managed to spark a serious global crisis. I know you don’t like to share credit, but don’t worry. The current mess in the Middle East centered around Iran is all..."

"We’re approaching the anniversary of one of the nastiest political battles it has been my misfortune to witness—the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court despite credible accusations of sexual harassment and assault and his..."

"There are few one-offs in life on Earth—rarely can a single species boast a trait or ability that no other possesses. But human language is one such oddity. Our ability to use subtle combinations of sounds produced by our vocal cords to create..."

"He walked through the coffee shop door and scanned the crowd. A familiar smile bloomed as he recognized me, despite how my appearance had changed over the years. I’m bald and bearded now, and heavier. I wear an extra decade on my face, and I’m..."

"The poverty rate in the United States fell to 11.8 percent in 2018, according to data released last week by the Census Bureau — the lowest it’s been since 2001. But this estimate significantly understates the extent of economic deprivation in..."

"Streaming is the future of TV. But for now a big part of the streaming business revolves around old TV shows. Latest case in point: Netflix is paying a lot of money for the rights to show Seinfeld to its 150 million subscribers around the world..."

"On the eve of the second Israeli election of 2019, there is no shortage of apocalyptic rhetoric about the potential consequences of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election. From the New York Times' editorial column to The Forward’s..."

"Is there a backlash toward the technology industry in the culture? I tend to think so, having written about its various twists and turns most weekdays for the past couple years now. But sometimes an obsession with a beat can lead to myopia, and..."