While there is no doubt a yoga studio can be a safe space to meet like-minded people, sometimes it’s nice to broaden your horizons. Check out these 10 suggestions for where to meet mindfuls (no yoga mat required).
I have a friend from high school who once told me I had the ability to meet men anywhere… including the entrance to the ladies room.
That may have been true because I was out and about a lot and I could—and did—talk to anyone. However, what she failed to realize was my inability to meet quality men. I mean, if a guy is standing idle outside the ladies room and he’s not waiting for his date, then his choice locations are questionable, to say the least.
So where do you meet quality singles? Heck, where do you meet quality people in general?
As someone who practices mindful living, my first thought is always the yoga studio (of course). But, there’s more to mindful living than downward dog. After thinking about where and how people have entered my life and by listening to friends share their stories, I’ve compiled this list of best places and activities where you can mix and mingle with the mindful set:
1.Natural Grocery Stores—especially those with cafes
There is no better way to get a person excited than with food. And how many of us stop for a healthy snack after a yoga class? Plus, when you sit outside, you can chat with people who are leaving their dogs at the entrance while they run in to grab a bite. Or, you might only have to get in line… my friend’s life partner struck up a conversation with her while she was paying for groceries at Whole Foods!
2. Fair Trade Shops
Smart shopping that benefits disadvantaged artisans around the world isn’t for people looking for a bargain; it’s for people who want to use their spending dollars to make a difference. Plus, you can pick up some amazing coffee, chocolate, music as well as handmade crafts. It’s a win-win for everyone, making it a great place to strike up a conversation with a fellow shopper. Ten Thousand Villages, a founding member of the World Fair Trade Organization (WFTO), has a network of more than 390 retail outlets throughout the United States, so it’s a great place to spend some time whether shopping or attending an event.
People who give back also tend to be people who just plain give! They are the type you want as friends, as neighbors and as spouses. There are so many non-profits in need of volunteers that selecting one can be overwhelming. That’s where volunteermatch.org comes in to help. With more than 97,000 participating organizations, they take pride in matching good people with good causes. All you have to do is let them know your geographic area and your passions—they do the rest of the heavy lifting!
4. Authentically Traveling
It’s so amazing to be far away from home, exploring new areas and meeting new people. When you travel authentically, you’re able to meet—and get to know—the locals; plus, you also get to spend quality time with other travelers. The travelers that you meet are ones who will get off the beaten path and travel deeper using the trip as a learning experience, a language experience or even a personal growth experience. You will have no better bond with someone after you’ve been far away from home getting exotic bug bites, getting lost and getting stuck because of a language barrier—together. Need advice about planning your next experience? Visit the travel highlights posted by AFAR readers.
5. Going on a Retreat
While a retreat gives you the opportunity to have privacy, seclusion and solitude, it also gives you a chance to participate in group meditation or study. A retreat is powerful in a number of ways, so it’s not a surprise to experience intense new relationships with other attendees that can continue once the retreat ends. People are more relaxed and open in retreat settings, making it easier to connect that when you’re running from appointment to appointment at home. Retreats come in many forms, so Retreat Finder can be a great way to find the one that’s the best fit for your interests.
6. Having a Soul Vacation
Want to find inner peace, self-improvement and personal growth? Want to find others that want the same? Then take a soul vacation! It will help you be your personal best, and you’ll meet people to support you while you try to be your personal best. There are so many types of soul vacations that range from quiet, meditative yoga holidays to crazy, adventurous treks in the wilds of Africa. You can find something that suits not only your interests, but your mood too. I recently had a soul vacation at We Move Forward—a women’s conference, retreat and celebration for International Women’s Day that took place—yes, you guessed it—on Isla Mujeres, the Island of Women! I’m already planning my 2015 We Move Forward experience.
7. Laughter Yoga Clubs
Laughter yoga is a global movement for health, joy and world peace that involves laughing for no reason at all—but with a purpose! It’s an exercise routine involving stretching, clapping, deep breathing, laughter exercises, meditation and relaxation that has scientifically proven physiological and psychological benefits. You make eye contact, enjoy childlike playfulness and laugh… perhaps faking it at first, but it then turns into real and contagious laughter! Who can say “no” to adding more laughter into their lives? Check out Laughter Yoga to find a club in your area and start ha-ha-ha-ing with new people immediately.
8. Bicycling Events
I don’t know what makes people who ride bicycles more pleasant to be around, maybe it’s all that fresh air or maybe it’s that they get to take in the scenery unlike people whizzing by in cars. Whatever the case, bicycle people are good people. Bonus: they have great legs! It’s also amazing how many types of bicycle events you can find: charity rides, races, cruiser clubs—and the list goes on and on. Hop on BikeRide.com to see a comprehensive list. Be sure to pick one that involves costumes as those bring out the kid in everyone!
9. Craft Beer Events
I’m always leery of people who drink bad beer. With microbrews popping up everywhere, good beer is becoming more easily available to everyone. There’s nothing more lovely on a Sunday afternoon than a hike followed by a wonderful craft beer. Top the day off with a restorative yoga class and you’ve just entered heaven. But, back to the beer… Ad Age magazine and Mindset Media recently surveyed 2,600 people to detect trends among craft beer drinkers. They found that this group tends to be more open minded and intellectually curious and that they are more likely to seek out interesting, varied experiences. And, as a bonus, these folks are 153 percent more likely to always buy organic. Visit Beer Advocate to find a craft beer event near you. Cheers!
10. REI Events
Oh REI, how I love thee. Well, ok, I admit that I’m spoiled living in Denver with the flagship store being located in an old train shed; but, REI can be your friend anywhere! Check out their bargain room, check out one of their special events or seminars, or check out one of their amazing trips! But, before you check out any of that, check out their Department of Venns—this is where REI connects some different (and funny) ideas somewhat related to the outdoors. Don’t be worried if you’re not a “thoner” (marathoner, bike-a-thoner, mountain climb-a-thoner) as I’m sure not. All sorts of people love the outdoors; so whether you’re walking a nature trail or climbing a 14er, you’ll find someone who digs your style of recreation.
Even though this is an amazing list of opportunities to bring new people into your life, keep all your options open! Chat with the person behind you at the post office. Greet a fellow dog walker. Engage your server or bartender. You never know when and how a new person will enter your life. Be open. Look up from your electronic device. Make eye contact. Smile. The world is out there waiting for you!
[image: via That Other Paper on flickr]