I was excited to interview Suze because I am fascinated by what she created, and about her as a businesswoman. I have had many startup business ideas, which haven’t come into fruition, yet, so to see someone carve out a niche that didn’t exist and for it to thrive is very inspiring to me.
In addition, I have always wondered about what exactly meditation is, and I was pleasantly surprised to find the answer to this when we spoke.
I have so many thoughts going through my head at once all the time — and a bit of insomnia. I asked Suze how it is possible to quiet them down. She said to take a deep breath and count to 4 and let it out and to do it a few times. I did so. When I was done, she asked what I’d thought of — and the answer was noting but the numbers. She explained that I’d meditated. I realize there’s more to it than that — but that really helped me understand this wonderful mindfulness practice.
Since then, I have tried doing this a lot. I have also listened to some of the meditations on the Unplug app to fall asleep. My husband even woke up one night asking why he heard nighttime chirping noises. LOL — I bet he slept better too!
I hope you enjoy reading about Suze as much as I enjoyed interviewing her!
In 2012, Suze Yalof Schwartz, a 1985 Livingston High School graduate, left a career at the top of her game, as a well-known fashion editor at magazines like Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire and Glamour, where she spent a good part of her career as a makeover guru transforming women on TV shows like Oprah, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and CBS This Morning — to move her family to LA, so her husband could pursue a great job opportunity. In doing so, she not only gave her life a makeover — she gave one to meditation as well. Her endeavor to create a space where she’d want to meditate has become a global sensation.
Suze, who was once dubbed the fairy godmother of makeovers by the New York Times, says that while she loved her career, she was excited to move to a new state and try something new.
And — boy did she! Suze launched Unplug Meditation, a modern meditation studio where people can unwind in 30 minutes or less. She says it is the world’s first drop-in secular meditation studio, with thousands of people walking through the doors daily.
The classes are packed. The class lineups are simple, modern, interesting and engaging.
Since opening in 2014, Suze now owns two Unplug Meditation studios in Ca. that she says are frequented by top experts and some of the best meditation teachers in the country.
She also recently launched the Unplug app with meditations for any type of situation and wrote a book called, Unplug: A Simple Guide to Meditation for Busy Skeptics and Modern Soul Seekers.
“Want to lose weight, we’ve got many meditations for that; had a bad day, we’ve got some for that too; need to sleep, we’ve got lots for that one as well,” she says with a laugh. “Basically, every time someone at the studio has a situation calling for relief, we create a meditation for it!”
According to Suze, the Unplug: Meditation app, which is available on iOS and Android, offers a variety of teachers, fresh curated topics of video playlists and techniques for people of all ages, including children, to choose from. The one minute to 30-minute sessions are updated regularly. You can even create your own. There’s also a meditation timer and ambient sounds for self-guided sessions. In addition, you can set reminders to meditate and goals. You can also see stats. In addition, the app boasts a gratitude journal for taking notes on sessions and jotting down things you are grateful for.
Suze says she got into meditation after speaking with her mother-in-law, a psychotherapist, one day when she was feeling anxious and stressed. She told Suze to take some deep slow breaths and to think about being in a relaxing place. Suze did so and says that she suddenly felt better. Her mother-in-law explained that she had just meditated.
Suze says she was amazed at how fast she felt better and began researching meditation, only to find that while there were costly meditation retreats, there weren’t really any affordable options. In addition, she says that most of the programs she found seemed to complicate the simple mindfulness practice.
She says she kept thinking, “Where can you walk in feeling icky and walk out feeling great?”
Having been in a field where she transformed women affordably, she set about doing the same through meditation. Suze says she felt that everyone should be able to afford the practice — not just people with time to travel and money to spare.
Through Suze’s research and according to the Unplug website, scientifically-proven studies have shown that meditation offers many benefits. Meditation improves mood and increases presence, awareness, calmness, and happiness. It also improves memory, focus, and sleep. In addition, meditation reduces sensitivity to pain and lowers blood pressure. And, meditation has been proven to change your brain in eight weeks with constant practice. However, according to Suze, some people at her studio have shown this to happen in as little as two weeks.
Suze went from being a high-energy New Yorker to someone who speaks slowly, with purpose and focus. She says meditation is the first thing she does when she wakes up and that she does it many times a day to recenter herself.
“Meditation changed my life,” says Suze. “I hope others who discover the practice either at an Unplug studio or via our new app — get as much peace and joy out of meditation as I do. If they do, then I’ve achieved my goal of making meditation easy and affordable to everyone.”
She adds, “Every human being has the right to be happy and stress-free.”