Photography by The Seventh Lens

For many years now, the combination of yoga and meditation have been used in tandem with conventional health practices to ease or completely eradicate the effects of stress on the body. Through her mother’s influence, Lauren Scott, co-owner of the newly opened Zen Den Wellness Center in Granbury, began taking yoga as a child and has been faithfully practicing it ever since. She finds yoga and meditation to be an incredible help for anxiety. As an ambassador for an international relief and development organization and a board member of two non-profits who deal with poverty and abuse, yoga and meditation help her deal with stress professionally, as well. “I’m always high strung so meditation saves me daily,” explains Lauren. “I can just go to my mat for five or ten minutes or even if it’s just a breathing meditation and it helps me.”

But never on the radar was a desire to open her own yoga studio. Yet, she increasingly grew tired of making the trek to Fort Worth to satisfy her need to de-stress. Then, a few months ago the idea to open her own studio/wellness center was passionately born in a dream one night. The next day she called her long-time “soul sister” friend, Summer Darvischi (a fellow yoga enthusiast who has her own private crystal healing practice). She asked Summer to be her business partner and open a wellness center with her. She eagerly agreed.

The word quickly got out. Many people in the metroplex jumped on board to help. All the details seemed to easily come together in only 12 weeks. It was “nothing less than divinely orchestrated,” marveled Summer.

“It seems like Granbury already knew about this before I had a name picked out!” Lauren added enthusiastically. The name, Zen Den (a “beautiful” suggestion from a friend), perfectly summarizes what the pair have to offer.

Yoga comes from the Vedas, a collection of hymns and other ancient religious texts written in India between about 1500 and 1000 BCE. It includes liturgical material as well as mythological accounts, poems, prayers, and formulas considered to be sacred by Vedic practices. Yoga practices didn’t gain prominence in the West until the 20th century. The term “yoga” in the Western world often denotes a modern form of Hatha yoga, which includes the physical practice of postures, called asanas, and breathing exercises.

Even though there are religious connections involved with yoga, Lauren says they believe in the “co-exist” philosophy in that everyone is free to practice their own religious beliefs and that none of the teachers impose their religious beliefs on any of their students. “We are not a religious organization,” explained Summer. “We believe in the all-inclusive love of God. We’re here to support your journey.”

Through the wellness center, Lauren and Summer hope “to offer an all-inclusive loving community that comes together to help with the transformation of body and soul, empowering women and men and whole families (kids camp is offered).”

Zen Den offers trapeze, kundalini, vinyasa, restorative, hot, power, acu-spinal flow and prenatal yoga. Also offered are Zumba classes, meditation classes, classes with Qi Gong, energy medicine, plant medicine (there’s a certified herbalist on staff), sound relaxation, Reiki, Shamanism, art as meditation and crystal healing. Classes are taught by ten well-qualified instructors. “I have the most incredible staff in Granbury,” says Lauren. “Between all of us we have over 30 years of yoga experience and all of us have been certified for no less than three years and most of them have been working in the Granbury area. We are either certified internationally or registered as a certified teacher with Yoga Alliance. My teachers are 200 to 500 hours certified in the different types of yoga.”

Trapeze yoga is Lauren’s favorite form of yoga. “I was a big dancer growing up so I have knee issues. Trapeze yoga takes off the strain of some poses of mat yoga that I will never be able to do again fully.” She just completed her certification in trapeze yoga and will be assisting in the yoga trapeze classes to get more hours of hands-on training. “I think a lot of Granbury people are super excited about it because aerial yoga is so big right now,” Lauren says.

Summer has been enthusiastically involved with Kundalini yoga for three years. Kundalini usually has 30 minutes of physical exercises and 30 minutes focused on just breathing and meditation. She looks forward to learning other styles of yoga, as well, at the studio.

Besides space for yoga classes, as you walk into the center, you’ll notice the entire left side has many shelves stocked full of different colored, glimmering crystals. “We got this amazing opportunity to buy out a crystal store,” explains Lauren. “We were thinking, ‘what a beautiful co-existence–it just goes together.’” Summer already had an online crystal store called Crystal Blessings and the pair thought it was perfect to combine the two businesses.

Crystals are thought to positively interact with the body’s energy field or chakras. These shiny stones are said to alleviate stress, while others are thought to improve concentration or creativity. Crystal healing is something Summer stumbled upon and she says, “…totally changed my path. Four-and-a half years ago, I was a math and science teacher. I was an extremely stressed out person with an extremely stressful personal life. I thought I was going to have a heart attack at 38 years old.” After finding that crystals and meditation radically changed her life, she incorporated her knowledge of herbs and essential oils and started her own holistic private practice. “Meditation and crystals have given me a different life. I’m just like everyone else–I get stressed but it doesn’t overtake me anymore.”

In a crystal healing class, Summer has students pick out a few crystals that capture their attention and spread them out on the edges of their mat. She plays soft music and speaks softly throughout the class, leading them in meditation. “A lot of people are intimidated by meditation because they think that if their mind isn’t totally still that they’re doing it wrong,” says Summer. “There’s no wrong way to do it.” Summer emphasizes that the staff is there to lead students during meditation, hopefully taking the intimidation factor away.

Summer also leads sound meditation classes with “singing bowls.” Similar to running your finger around the top of a wine glass to create a humming sound, a leather-wrapped mallet is rubbed around the top of several bronze bowls, emitting rich sounds that can bring a deep peace, easing feelings of depression or anxiety. Sometimes she uses chimes or tuning forks as well as the bowls in a dimly lit room, focusing on breathing exercises to get rid of “monkey mind chatter chatter” while students relax on mats or in chairs.

Whether it’s a sound meditation class or a trapeze yoga class, the two friends happily bring their complete yoga/wellness center experience to the Granbury community. “There is something for everyone here. It is just fun,” says Lauren. “It’s really incredible that we get to do something that is our passion and that we feel is our purpose in life and have the backing of so many people that have come before us in the community and elsewhere.” Whatever your preference, there’s no doubt that sharing a positive, healing experience with others is powerful.