Resident Angela Deen has transformed a space in downtown Norman into a meditation-focused studio.
Hush Meditation and Yoga Studio, 300 W. Gray St., Suite 110, will open Monday, but residents can check out the facility from 4 to 8 p.m. Sunday.
“People need a place where they can go to enjoy stillness and of body and mind and experience inner peace,” Deen said.
Hours of operation are 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. A $35 monthly membership fee includes unlimited studio access, silence and guided meditations and free classes.
Non-members can attend a drop-in session for $8.
Deen said the intimate space can fit 15 meditators comfortably and nine yoga practitioners. She may expand the studio in the future if it's popular. No children are allowed, due to the theme of the studio.
Deen said she plans to have about 10 instructor-led classes a week, including seven meditation classes and three gentle yoga classes, including accessible yoga, which allows the use of chairs and walls for those who can't use mats.
“It makes it accessible to everyone,” Deen said.
Deen said she got her building in June, but while her business aspirations only started this year, her desire to help people started five years ago.
In 2006, Deen said she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. After the diagnosis, she thought she couldn't participate in yoga.
“I always thought my body was my enemy,” she said.
Deen tried traditional yoga once haphazardly and was initially turned off, she said.
Since her diagnosis, she said she has experienced more mental than physical problems, and she had a negative mindset.
“I thought I was defective, and therapy was not making me feel better,” she said.
About five years ago, she said felt the need to help others who were struggling, but her initial attempts didn't pan out.
“I wasn't there emotionally,” she said.
This year, she said she started trying to transform her life, following struggles with post-partum depression and anxiety. She started reading Buddhist texts, doing meditation and tried gentle yoga for the first time.
“It was incredible,” she said. “When I started yoga and meditation, I started feeling a sense of peace in my body and mind.”
After seeing a personal benefit from meditation and gentle yoga, Deen said she envisioned opening a meditation studio that was accessible to everyone's schedules.
She attended accessible yoga training in Colorado this summer, ahead of her fall business opening.
Deen said she has experienced some pushback from community members regarding opening a meditation studio.
“In the Bible Belt, people think it's sinful,” she said.
Deen said she is a Christian and started reading Buddhist literature as a way to deal with her life. The word “sangha” came up in her readings and stuck with her. She said it refers to a group of like-minded people who support each other.
Deen said she doesn't associate meditation with religion, but rather as the union between mind, body and soul.
She said her husband is supportive of her endeavors. However, it took him a little while to come around because meditation has a bad connotation to some Oklahomans.
“It actually brought me closer to God, because it helped get rid of my anxiety. I think he's seeing that it's OK now,” she said.
Since her initial attempt to help others, Deen said she has felt like she wasn't done with what God wanted her to do, so the studio's opening is her way to fulfill that calling.
“It's truly my passion to help teach others how to reach the level of peace I have felt,” she said.
For more information, visit thehushstudio.com or call 246-6276.