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David Romanelli sets out to make meditation entertaining

David Romanelli (Photo:
David Romanelli (Photo:

“I opened my studios in Arizona in the ’90s before yoga was mainstream, and I had a mission to make yoga fun, entertaining, and familiar to people when it was still just people in leotards chanting with incense,” says David Romanelli, the popular yogi known for his Yoga for Foodies and Yoga and Chocolate workshops, and author of Yeah Dave’s Guide to Livin’ the Moment.

Two decades later, yoga studios are as common as Starbucks, and now, Romanelli says, he wants to do the same for meditation. “It’s still just a very old practice [to others], and most people can’t relate to it.”

On March 15, he’s launching Meditation Vacation on the healthy living app Happier, which he hopes will be the first approach to meditation that harnesses entertainment and technology in a way that makes it more accessible. “Nobody has made an effort to make meditation entertaining, and that’s the mission here,” he says. “We’re taking the technology and meeting people where they’re at.”

The seven-day program ($20) includes 5–10 minute daily meditations, all of which include music from Wanderlust-favorite DJ East Forest and storytelling with Romanelli. (It’s a technique he employs a lot during his yoga classes—think subway encounters and Grateful Dead concerts.)

And to critics who say he’s watering down meditation? That it’s not supposed to be entertaining? “If it gets more people to sit for three minutes with their eyes closed, it’s a great first step,” towards a healthier, happier world, he says. —Lisa Elaine Held

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