These $10 Yoga-and-Dinner Classes Are One of Philly’s Best Kept Secrets

Well, they were one of Philly's best kept secrets.

If I told you that 10 bucks could get you a yoga or meditation class followed by a vegan dinner here in Philly multiple days a week, you’d probably laugh in my face then shove your latest Sweetgreen receipt toward me to prove just how too-good-to-be-true this sounds. But, my dear friends, I am here to tell you that it is not too good to be true: The folks at South Kensington’s Mantra Lounge, a volunteer-led non-profit yoga and meditation-focused center that opened at 312 East Girard Avenue in August, hosts $10 yoga and/or meditation sessions followed by vegan dinners three times a week.

Okay, go ahead and pick your jaw up off of the ground.

Here’s the deal: Mantra Lounge — helmed by Mangal-arti, a veteran in the yoga and meditation world, along with a handful of volunteer yoga and meditation instructors — has three weekly offerings. On Mondays, they offer an all-levels vinyasa yoga class at 6 p.m., followed by vegan dinner for all; on Tuesdays, you’ll find mantra meditation at 6 p.m., followed by guided meditation, followed by a vegan dinner; and Fridays are for vinyasa yoga at 5 p.m., followed by a philosophy workshop at 6 p.m., meditation at 7 p.m. and vegan dinner at 7:30 p.m. (We’ll call this the Marathon of Mantra’s offerings). All of the combos ring in at $10.

As one of Mantra’s yoga instructors, Andrea Kapeleris, tells me, “We’re trying to hit three major areas of holistic and spiritual health.” They’re introducing folks to the spiritual side of yoga and mantra meditation — a sound-based meditation that Kapeleris, also a psychology professor at Penn State, says is recommended for urban environments (because let’s face it: finding a silent space in the city is hard) — they’re making people feel part of a community, and they’re promoting health by handing folks plates of healthy vegan grub like pad Thai and apple pie. (Mmmmmm.)

And the values of mindfulness go into everything — including the food. Kapeleris tells us the cooks who make the vegan meals are meditation teachers, so naturally the meals are made while practicing conscious cooking, essentially mindfulness meditation, in the kitchen. And while, yes, to all the anti-social yogis among us, you can take your post-yoga or meditation vegan meal to go, “It’s really nice to share meals with people and we don’t do that so much,” Kapeleris says. It’s true — I eat dinner with my cats more often than anyone else, and I am sure I’m not alone. “It’s also a community center in a sense. You come in, you do yoga, and you get to share this meal with people and bond with people who have common interests.”

See? Did I not tell you that this is one of the best kept secrets in Philly?

When it comes to the feel of Mantra Lounge, you can expect the vibes of a place where conscious cooking is practiced: Kapeleris describes the center as cozy, with candles, incense and salt lamps lighting it up. It sounds like a lovely space to erase workday drama like who didn’t fill the printer with paper (AGAIN) from your brain. You can learn more about Mantra Lounge and see their schedule here. We say you start filling in your calendar while toasting to the thought of weekdays suddenly becoming a little less hard.

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