In 2007, Myk Likhov founded Miami’s Green Monkey Yoga because he wanted to make yoga accessible to the Miami mainstream. Last year, he launched Modern ŌM, which has a mission of doing the same for meditation through their underground meditation community The 7.I had the opportunity to sit for a guided meditation in the Modern ŌM loft after our chat and was blown away. Sitting for 15 minutes in my own home feels like an eternity. Sitting for 45 minutes surrounded by members of my community, guided by an awesome teacher went by quickly, and seemed much more impactful.Adding to the experience, Myk offered us all a post-sit tea and we had the opportunity to stick around and talk about our experiences of both the wonders and challenges of meditation.
- You have a background in economics and business. How did you come to start a meditation-focused business?
My lifelong passion is personal development. My whole life I’ve been reading books on both eastern and western spirituality, and the reading led to my yoga and meditation practices.My foray into the business of spirituality began right before I entered Wharton. My mom sent me to a 3-day session with two karmic astrologers in Vermont. I went to humor her, but I had some pretty profound spiritual experiences there. At the end, they kind of gave me the idea to go into the spirituality business.
- How long have you been practicing yoga?
I’ve been practicing yoga 2-3 times a week since I was 20. I completed two teacher trainings: one with with Paul Toliuszis, now of Tropical Vinyasa, and one with Rossella Rossi to deepen my practice and to connect with the Green Monkey Yoga teachers. I also subbed a few classes in the early days of Green Monkey.
- How did Green Monkey impact Miami’s yoga community?
Green Monkey Yoga helped bring yoga to the mainstream. We made yoga really accessible and community-driven. It helped to shine a light on that aspect of wellness and making it non-threatening.
Green Monkey allowed people who were interested in yoga, but maybe hadn’t tried it, to be suddenly very open to the practice.
- What is Modern ŌM?
The mission of Modern ŌM is to make mindfulness accessible through product, practice, and community. It’s exciting because we are on the cutting edge of mindfulness not only in Miami, but also nationally and globally. Making these practices palatable and relatable is a really big deal, because we can help a lot of people.
- Aren’t yoga and mindfulness the same thing?
Mindfulness is a set of practices and attitudes that are not dissimilar to yoga, but broader than yoga. Mindfulness can be applied to many areas of life —you can eat mindfully, exercise mindfully, speak mindfully, work mindfully… people can incorporate this set of practices into so many things that they do.
- What is the Modern ŌM community like?
Modern ŌM started with the launch of the products and then I realized that people really need to experience the practices, so I started an underground meditation community. I’ve always sort of been the ringleader in life, the party was always at my house. The party is still at my house, only this time it’s a meditation.
- What do the colors behind the Modern ŌM products mean?
The product line represents intentionality. Modern OM products have 7 intentions (such as Vitality, Compassion, Connection…) that correlate to the body’s chakras (energy centers). Because the chakra system can be a bit esoteric and complex, we made them more accessible by reconsidering the chakras as intentions and colors and bringing them into everyday objects that remind people of who they want to be and how they want to live.
- Tell me about your own meditation practice?
I meditate at least once a day for at least 12 minutes at a time. I also attend all of the bi-weekly sits of The 7. Meditation can be really powerful when practiced in a group, there is almost a tribal element to a community setting that allows people to connect in a more meaningful way.
- Can everyone benefit from meditation?
Yes. Meditation is hugely beneficial in this world that we live in because we’re always so stressed, anxious and over stimulated. It can help people find a deeper understanding of who they are, which helps them choose to release thoughts and emotions that aren’t serving them. Meditation becomes a tool that is useful in all areas of life and the longer you spend with the practice, the more accessible the tool will be.
- What are you excited about right now?
I’m really excited about our upcoming Mass Meditation at Brickell City Center that will take place on Earth Day. My friends and teachers Luchi Estevez and Jennifer Grace will be leading the meditation. There will be 1,000 people there – the largest event of its kind. And it’s free! Get tickets.