Oct 14, 2018

Center sees professionals embracing Transcendental Meditation

John Nelande
Daily News
October 14, 2018

When Transcend, Palm Beach opened in April 2017, many residents were already practicing transcendental meditation. But since then the center has attracted new fans trying to de-stress from their professional and personal lives.

About 150 people have come to the center at Palm Beach Towers at 44 Cocoanut Row over the last year, the directors say, 80 percent are residents who often use transcendental meditation to give them an edge in the business world.

“Palm Beach people are responding,” said Elaine Pomfrey, a co-director and a transcendental meditation teacher. “They know that stress is an important thing and they just want more out of life. It’s natural to want to expand your capabilities.”

A 2012 review published by the American Psychological Association credited transcendental meditation with reducing anxiety and boosting memory.

It has “popped into the mainstream,” Business Insider reported in 2016, noting that 2,500 professionals picked up the technique from 2013-2016 and that 55 percent of them worked on Wall Street.

Transcend, Palm Beach, has “put some feelers out” to business groups, said Ty Brodale, who also is a co-director and transcendental meditation teacher along with his wife, Zabrina. “Right now we’re working on a proposal for a property management company in Aventura. It’s a pretty intense work life with a lot of stress.

“They’re interested in having their employees learn TM so they can make fewer mistakes, enjoy their job more and get along better.”

“It’s definitely been trending up over the last 10 years,” Zabrina Brodale said.

Decreasing stress leads to better work habits and more satisfaction, two Palm Beach participants said.

Margaret Duriez, owner of Lox Farms in Loxahatchee — which sells organic produce — started doing transcendental meditation three years ago after encouragement by Dr. Tony Nader, a neighbor and longtime TM promoter who Pomfrey says was the “inspiration” for Transcend, Palm Beach.

“I do it because I’m able to take on so much more when I’m practicing,” Duriez said. “It allows me to take on bigger projects because I feel like the stress doesn’t build up. If I don’t practice I can really feel the difference in what I’m able to cope with, professionally and personally.”

Duriez and husband Franck have four children who are learning transcendental meditation themselves. “We also do farm-to-table dinners, which is like adding in event planning on top of everything else.

“What I’ve seen is that it helps you be the best version of yourself.”

She goes to the Towers center occasionally. “I practice at home but the center is always there to answer questions or help people if they need advice,” Duriez said.

Brenda Boozer, a former soloist at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, started meditating in 2001 and then strayed from it, but picked it back up in 2008.

“I had a very high-powered career in New York,” she said. “This is a very stressful business. There’s so much energy involved in what I do -- singing in five different languages, focusing and knowing the music, and singing over a 110-piece orchestra. It’s very high demand.”

Now a singing teacher in Palm Beach, Boozer does transcendental meditation 20 minutes in the morning and in the evening, she says.

“If my body is more coherent, and the central nervous system is not anxious, everything in life works better — your mind, body and spirit,” said Boozer, who practices meditation at home and anywhere that’s convenient, but also attends group sessions at the center.

Newbies who come into Transcend, Palm Beach pay $960 for four sessions, and after that they are able to come in for refresher sessions and group activities for life. If a couple wants to learn meditation, the second partner pays $720. There’s a student rate of $380.

“People filter in and out” of the three-room center in the bottom floor of the Towers, Pomfrey said, but there are larger weekly meetings and a monthly meeting that draws 20-25 people.

The “biggest demographic for the center is CEOs and mothers,” Ty Brodale said. “They’re both dealing with, and managing, a lot of people and that’s very stressful.

“We have people who come in and say I love my work, I love the intensity and the stress I put on myself. But they’re looking to reduce stress and give themselves an edge.”

Transcend, Palm Beach is run by a non-profit foundation — Pomfrey is the finance director — and is funded through donations and the international TM organization.

Transcendental meditation was founded by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who brought the practice to the United States in 1958. It was thrust into Western popular culture by The Beatles and other entertainers in the late 1960s.

Nader, who has a home on the islandi, was named the Maharishi’s successor when he died in 2008.

Demographics at Transcend, Palm Beach show that 50- to 60-year-olds are the most common age group attracted to it, at least on the island. The second most common group are millennials.


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