“THE FIRST CHALLENGE IS DISCIPLINE,” SAYS ELLIE BURROWS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER AND CO-FOUNDER OF HIP MEDITATION MECCA MNDFL. “You wouldn’t expect to go to the gym and lose ten pounds in one visit, but if you go regularly you will definitely see results. Meditation is similar. When it comes to practicing, consistency is key.” Since opening her 8th Street location with co-founder Lodro Rinzler, Burrows has established MNDFL as the ne plus ultra in venues offering classes on breath, mantras and sound and attracting a cult of Manhattan workaholics who value peace of mind over partying.  This month with the recent opening of MNDFL’s second location on the Upper East Side and plans for a third opening in Brooklyn later this year, Burrows shows no signs of slowing down–except, well, to meditate, of course.

Photos by Sasha Israel

How would you describe you approach to your own diet and well-being?
Conscious and clean with room for pleasure. There’s always room for pleasure! Sleep, diet, exercise and meditation are the four pillars of my self-care routine.

Do you have any health non-negotiables?
I need eight hours of sleep to be 100% friendly and wholesome fuel in my body so I don’t feel lethargic.

How important is self-care to you?
I put my self-care routine above most things. When we set aside time to show up for our internal world, we can better show up for our external world. I love meditation, massage, chiropractor, acupuncture, steams and dance. 

In that respect, how would you describe your personal daily meditation practice.
I practice Vedic meditation: twice a day for 30 minutes with a mantra. 

What do you find is people’s biggest challenge or fears when meditating?
The first challenge is discipline. Consistency is key: consistent amount of time, consistent time of day, consistent environment and consistent pacing. The second challenge is accountability. When someone drops into one of our 30 or 45 minute classes, they’re meditating for a good chunk of that time and (thankfully) someone else is keeping an eye on the clock, guiding them every step of the way. Meditation helps you become familiar with all of who you are and it can be intimidating to peel away the layers of our personal onion – that’s why we recommend learning with a certified expert that can help you move a little more gracefully through that process.

What are three things you would recommend how readers can incorporate meditation into their daily lives?We just launched MNDFL Video which allows you take our teachers home with you. This is a great place to start. 

Are there any books that can help introduce meditation to a rookie?
I recommend my co-founder Lodro Rinzler’s The Buddha Walks Into A Bar, How to Meditate by Pema Chödrön and Start Here Now by Susan Piver. 

Takes us through a day in the life of meals from wake to bedtime.
Generally, I’m a three meal a day kind of girl. I’m not a big snacker. My diet consists of grass-fed organic meat, fish, greens, root veggies and tons of healthy fats. In the morning  after I meditate, I have a cup of black tea with steamed whole milk followed by a shake or eggs scrambled in ghee. For lunch in the winter, I usually eat something warming and grounding – think bone broth or hearty stew with a side of sweet potatoes. That’s because when it comes to the seasons, the subtext of my diet is Ayurveda. For dinner, I try to be mindful of what I’m mixing so I’m not kept up at night by my digestive system.

What are your favorite foods?
I have a real soft spot for Indian food and sushi.

Do you avoid certain things in your diet? 
I avoid gluten. I recently went on a cleanse and the craving for bread went away. That’s the first time that’s ever happened. Bread used to make me really sleepy when I ate it so I’m not sorry to see it go. I’ve also gone through extended periods of cutting out alcohol and I feel fantastic when I do, but currently alcohol and dessert are a weekend thing. Sugar is a challenging thing for me. I try to be super conscious of how much of it is included in my diet –- it’s a daily struggle. I struggle with my relationship to sugar more than any other food category, so I try to be balanced about it rather than hold myself to an ideal.

What’s the best advice you have been given or have to give when it comes to balanced eating?
When I was in high school, I went to see a nutritionist named Elyse Resch who wrote a book called Intuitive Eating. There is one principle that has stuck with me ever since: “deprivation can only lead to over-glorifying what is not allowed, which leads to rebellion. If we’re told we can’t have chocolate, chocolate is all we will think and dream about.” What she means is, if
 I allow myself to have a bit of that which I’m craving, then I might avoid overdosing on something else that is an insufficient substitute. For example, if I’m craving chocolate but instead eat an entire a bowl of fruit, I probably would have been better off with the small satisfying piece of chocolate. 

What are your top three favorite natural products that you use on a daily basis?
Ancient Organics Ghee; Neal’s Yard Remedies Frankincense Intense; JHS Natural Products Immune Builder 5 Mushroom Formula

Do you take any supplements?
Vitamin D (for so many reasons), probiotics (healthy gut), Methyl CpG (support methylation and homocysteine balance in the body), mushroom immunity supplement (when I’m feeling under the weather).

What is your favorite most nourishing meal to make yourself?
Organic eggs scrambled in ghee with a side of avocado. 

When you want to “detox”, what are some go-to tricks that you always resort to?
Dr. Frank Lipman‘s Be Well Cleanse. I like it because you can still eat food during it, but it cuts out gluten, alcohol, sugar, dairy etc. I love his shake. Dr. Frank Lipman’s Be Well Sustain protein powder, raw cacao powder and unsweetened vanilla almond milk. Yum. 

What is your approach towards fitness, do you have a favorite workout?
I love movement that supports my body, which is the vehicle with which I move about the planet. My approach is what one could call “intense.” I exercise five to six times a week and I get overly serious about my form. I have been a client of Simone De La Rue’s since she opened Body By Simone five years ago. That’s the cornerstone of my workout which also currently includes twice a week Pilates at New York Pilates and a stop at ModelFit or Bari. If I’m cranky, my business partner asks me “Have you gone to dance cardio this week?”