Amid the flurry of the pre-holiday season, Studio Table recently hosted a unique dinner with lululemon. Candles and evergreen branches dotting the table and new faces coming through the door, this dinner, our capstone of 2016, was an opportunity to let mental background noise settle and live fully in the present moment.
Focused on the intersection of mindfulness and connectivity, the evening began like many others, but took us into deeper territory—thanks to ideas lululemon brought to the table. Their background as a grassroots company and the value they place on self-improvement and development gave us common ground—which sparked conversations and emboldened us to participate purposefully.
Tucked in Heather’s industrial studio, we began the meal by introducing Studio Table as a convergence of differing talents, journeys, and personalities. Similar to combining ingredients to make a meal, Studio Table intersects food, art, and community and represents the importance of taking time to appreciate moments and connections with new people.
While Chef Ben and his sous chef, Will prepared the courses, Jeanne, a lululemon Store Manager and embodiment of culture, led us through a series of mindfulness exercises. With our arms over our heads, doing a version of table yoga and breathing meditations, we moved from feeling mentally distracted to feeling rooted in the present. From work-related stress to the recent warehouse fire in Oakland, the exercises reminded us that regardless of any emotions we felt during that day, being aware at the table and enjoying conversing and eating with new friends represents the best part of coming together. We also learned that "mindfulness" is not something new-age or inaccessible; it's as easy as taking a few deep breaths.
Our guests that night included two lululemon team members and ten other San Franciscans from different professional and personal backgrounds. The diversity of the group and the intimate setting of an artist’s studio made for open conversations about the expectations of group dinners. Designed to push people outside their comfort zones, Ben prepared the menu around the theme of synesthesia, a condition where the senses overlap each other. The focus on mindfulness allowed us to savor the flavors of each course longer and truly appreciate the melding of sense and consciousness. For example, the third course was experienced blindfolded to demonstrate how without eye contact and visual clues you become a better listener and taste becomes more detailed. It was a dinner of surprising sensory experimentation.
By the end of the evening, our guests were making plans to meet again and discussing how to bring mindfulness to their workplaces. Placing focus on the point where mindfulness and connection meet, we made space for the deeper conversations that always lie beneath the surface. That’s how Studio Table creates opportunities to expand the experience of community. With such a loving take on dinner, we can’t wait to see the impact Studio Table makes in 2017.
Thanks go to lululemon for providing the vehicle and tools for our guests to be experience and enjoy being fully present. As a takeaway, lululemon provided each of us with a copy of a mindfulness book by Thich Nhat Hanh, the famed meditation teacher and peace activist. Two quotes really stood out to us: "We live a kind of artificial life, with lots of plans, lots of worries and anger. Never are we able to establish ourselves in the here and now and live our lives deeply. We have to wake up! We have to make it possible for the moment of awareness to manifest...Mindfulness is not an evasion or an escape. It means being here, present, and totally alive.” The three of us are grateful that lululemon sponsored such a wonderful evening of learning and for their presence as genuine and supportive members of the San Francisco community. We felt like old friends catching up over a great meal.
To learn more about Lululemon SF, check them out on Instagram.
Cheers and Happy Holidays from Heather, Michelle, Ben
A word on partnerships: With the objective of building lasting relationships in the San Francisco community, Studio Table agrees to partnerships with companies that share similar values. We’re thankful for companies like lululemon athletica that place such emphasis on supporting local businesses and creative individuals. With the goal of being as transparent as possible out of respect for our readers and in accordance with the FTC law of 2013, all content and opinions expressed are written by Studio Table members.