Co-Founder of Open, Manoj Dias 2

Meet: Co-Founder of Open, Manoj Dias

At Hotel June, our private retreat in the heart of Malibu is intended to be a space to slow down and soak in your surroundings. Building a community of like-minded people who prioritize mindful living has allowed us to expand our wellness experiences and hone in on conscious practices — this season, we’re proud to partner with Open, a mindfulness studio that focuses on meditation, breathwork, and movement. 

To learn more about the practice of mindfulness and ways to incorporate these rituals into daily life, read on for a conversation with Open’s co-founder Manoj Dias.

Experience 30 days of Open for free with the code: HOTELJUNEMALIBU

Can you share a bit about Open and the offerings available for our guests at Hotel June Malibu?

Open is a modern mindfulness studio merging technology, culture, cinematography, and proven practices such as breathwork, meditation, and movement to create community and presence. We do this both online through our digital app and through our studio, based out of Venice, CA. Recently, we’ve started to share what we do through pop-up events in New York, Miami and locally throughout LA. 

How has implementing mindfulness practices into your daily life improved your overall wellbeing?

It’s no big surprise that we’re living through unprecedented times. Pandemics, wars, rising inflation, and economic stress, yet our work and our lives haven’t slowed down. We’re asked culturally to act as if things are normal. Mindfulness gives us the ability to return to our bodies, to feel what we’re feeling, and give ourselves a mental and physical reboot. Through consistent practice we’re creating the ability to respond to life more wisely and not so reactively. In my own life this has been the case; it’s influenced how I show up to my work and my students, what habits create the conditions for happiness… and also the mark I wish to leave behind.

Which mindfulness practices do you recommend for beginners and how often should they practice these exercises?

Breathing exercises are so simple: simply breathing in for 4 counts, holding for 4 counts, exhaling for 4, and holding for 4. Doing this in increments of 5-10 minutes is proven to regulate our nervous system. You can do this walking, in a meeting, before a talk, or prior to going to sleep.

What are the short-term and long-term health benefits gained from meditation?

Research tells us that the short-term benefits of meditation range include improved stress response, mood elevation, emotion regulation, and better sleep. The longer-term benefits of meditation are remarkable: your brain literally changes by creating new neural pathways that effectively reprogram your brain toward greater wisdom and decision-making. Clarity of thought is another benefit: when we are clear we have the ability to make healthier, wiser decisions. From this place, we understand our lives a little more and can move towards a life of greater happiness and less suffering.

What are the different types of breathwork and how can people use these as a tool in their daily lives?

Breathwork has been around for over 3000 years. There are practices that can upregulate our nervous system and give us energy, like Circular breathing, Tummo breathing, and three-part breathing. There are also practices that down-regulate the nervous system (or calm us down), like 4-6-8 breathing, box breathing, and alternate nostril breathing. The best thing to do is to give one of these practices a go, and within five minutes you will begin observing a state shift.

Can you discuss this new age of meditation and how this expansion blends into the modern world?

Meditation is becoming an imperative part of our mental health. It was once a luxury and something that a certain kind of person would do, and we’re now seeing it reach out into areas like sporting organizations, Fortune 500 companies, schools, and hospitals. As meditation expands, its delivery will no doubt shift and morph. However if we keep the fundamentals of mindfulness in our minds, the practice itself will reliably deliver an experience of non-judgemental awareness of the present moment. As our lives become more connected we’re able to regulate our attention and our bodies in response…ultimately keeping us well.

What advice can you share to others on creating a mindful lifestyle and staying consistent?

Think big and start small. We don’t have to overnight turn into a pro-meditator with an alternative lifestyle. Chances are we’re already mindful in certain areas of our lives, like when we’re running, playing with kids, or cooking. The opportunity is to be aware that we’re aware in those moments. From here we can bring that quality of presence to other areas of our lives and introduce a daily practice like the ones we have on the Open app. When we take our mindfulness practice off the ‘mat’ and into the world, mindfulness isn’t something that we do…it’s simply how we move through the world.

We are so excited to carry on our partnership with Open and give our support. What is next for Open?

We’re very excited to take our live experiences on the road and we’re exploring what it would look like to lead 100-person events across New York, Miami, Austin, and San Francisco. This will be in conjunction with the launch of our flagship studio in Venice, CA.

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