Not so long ago, it was hard to imagine ordering up a massage as spontaneously as a salad from Seamless. But now, with on-demand beauty and spa services popping up as quickly as Uber spin-offs, it’s downright de rigueur.
Though famously discreet, Namaste New York is popping up its massage tables, unrolling its yoga mats, and putting down its kettlebells in more places (like your apartment?) providing some seriously ultra-customized, insider-y wellness services (think: restorative yoga with energy work and sound therapy). Therapists, yoga instructors, and personal trainers can often arrive on your doorstep within an hour.
One yoga teacher incorporates aromatherapy, meditation, and energy work in pre-bedtime sessions for a client with chronic insomnia.
“We meet clients where they are and take them to a place that’s better,” says Julie Wald, who founded Namaste in 2002 with her husband, Michael, whom she met in a yoga class. Wald spent years as a hospital and family services social worker while also teaching yoga, handing out wellness advice so often that the idea for a business sprung up “organically before our eyes.”
Creating super custom experiences
Wald, who is also a Reiki master, soon learned that her background lent itself brilliantly to helping those looking for top-notch private yoga or custom wellness programs—and she personally conducts phone interviews with each new client to find the best match with one of their wellness professionals.
“I get these little things, important information that makes or breaks their experience,” she says. Thus, the professional shows up already knowing, say, that you don’t like to be touched during savasana or that it’s your first time meditating—eliminating a lot of time-sucking, pre-treatment chit-chat. Any follow-up notes go into a file, forming a continuous, communication loop.
“If your personal trainer notices that a specific area of your body is not doing so well, “ explains Wald, “and then you are seeing a yoga teacher, that teacher will receive that information.”
Picking the right, multi-tasking practitioners
Wald’s background also helps in the thorough vetting of these wellness pros. She arrives at our interview wearing cute Mara Hoffman workout gear—she’d been “demo-ing” yoga instructors all day (yes, she also gets to demo massages, if you’re keeping a list of best jobs ever).
By trying out these practitioners firsthand, she says, “I’m trying to extract what is their mojo, what is amazing about them and how can they help people.”
With over 400 licensed and credentialed wellness pros at Namaste’s fingertips (who are in Los Angeles, San Francisco, the Hamptons, Westchester, Connecticut, Aspen, and Palm Beach, as well as New York City), a session can be arranged on a moment’s notice. You pay a la carte per service (between $150–$285) or set up a larger, debit “wellness account” if you’re planning on making it a habit.
But what makes Namaste’s custom-wellness-on-demand formula so special is the “custom” part—with most of the practitioners trained in multiple modalities, says Wald, mentioning a yoga teacher who incorporates aromatherapy, meditation, and energy work in pre-bedtime sessions for a client with chronic insomnia.
“Most of our staff has a lot of tricks up their sleeves and that’s a big piece of it,” she says, adding, “We get that people have different MOs, so it’s an evolving thing we create.”
So start thinking up the yoga/massage/myofascial mashup of your dreams.