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Meet Melanie Pensak of Meditate @ the Beach in Santa Monica

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melanie Pensak.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Melanie. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
Ever since I was a little girl, I had a side hustle. I could be found on my driveway selling friendship bracelets or cold lemonade. I remember wanting to start a pet sitting business in my neighborhood and to babysit as soon as I was old enough. Looking back now, it wasn’t about making money; although, that was, of course, a great reward. For me, it was about the joy I felt creating. It was about entertaining endless possibilities and flowing with the creative process. Making the flyers, interacting with people, and selling my goods gave me energy. I was a young entrepreneur.

Flash forward to 2015, when I moved to Los Angeles to work in a leadership position as a pediatric speech-language pathologist. At the same time, my love for learning and personal growth drove me to explore many areas in the health and wellness world. I was blown away by the abundant resources available to me in this city, and my personal mindfulness meditation practice started to grow. When I learned to return to the present moment in my body instead of worrying or planning, life started to open naturally allowing me the freedom to enjoy the simplicity of life.

From practicing meditation and living near the ocean in Santa Monica, I was inspired to create a new side hustle with the intention to get people outside, unplugging in nature, communicating with each other, and exploring mindfulness meditation in an intimate environment. Airbnb Experiences launched in November 2016, and I began hosting guests from all over the world, now from 26 countries and counting, at my 2-hour nature meditation experience, Meditate @ the Beach.

In August 2018, I decided to take the leap and transition from side hustle to full-time entrepreneur combining my love of nature, communication, meditation, and working closely with children and adults. Following college, I practiced as a pediatric speech-language pathologist for 13 years working primarily inside at small private practices.

While I loved working one-on-one with families and their children, nature kept calling me and inviting me back home. I started my nature-based speech-language therapy business, Destination Speech, to help children cultivate receptive, expressive, and social language through an embodied understanding of their natural world. From Meditate @ the Beach, the experience Mindfulness for Families was born where adults and children playfully learn mindfulness practices together near the ocean.

I also shifted from indoor speech therapy to taking kids outside to target their speech and language goals around LA. I am grateful to now call the beach, playground, and mountains my “office.” I feel great joy seeing the children tuning into their natural surroundings and seeing parents and adults taking the time to get outside. We know connecting to nature is an essential part of our well- being, and I hope every child learns this at a young age.

Now every “work” day is different. Some days I am hosting small groups on the beach leading meditation and then treating children for speech therapy at the playground near the ocean. Some days I’m at a park providing Orofacial Myofunctional Therapy and then teaching children mindfulness practices under the palm trees. Opportunities to host small groups, private parties, and to collaborate with other creative entrepreneurs continues to blossom.

Everyday I feel great joy sharing mindfulness meditation practices and being outside for a variety of reasons. It feels like exactly what I was born to do. The meditation practice is powerful because it continually helps me understand my own mind and to make choices that positively impact my well-being. When my mind is calm and concentrated, I can feel my intuition and heart which allows me to make choices aligned with my values.

Happiness is our birthright, and I truly hope to help others learn tools that can assist in ending their suffering.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The biggest challenge for me was mental. I had to find the courage to follow my own path instead of following society’s norms. I had to learn to trust that everything is working out for me.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Meditate @ the Beach – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
I’m proud to offer my mindfulness meditation practices for adults and children and my speech-language therapy services outside in nature. As a speech-language pathologist, I hold 13-years of experience helping kids communicate. As a mindfulness meditation leader, I am becoming a certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher through the Mindfulness Training Institute with my teachers Mark Coleman and Martin Aylward.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
I look forward to offering a bigger variety of nature meditation classes around the city. I intend to run more hiking + meditation classes as well as meditations in the mountains or hidden natural gems around LA. I’ll be running 6-week Introduction to Mindfulness Courses in 2019 and growing my offerings for adults and families.

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