On Friday, Three Jewels, a 26-year-old yoga and meditation studio in New York City, hosted its second annual Med Gala at the Knockdown Center in Queens.
Members, teachers and friends of Three Jewels lined up outside of the venue as the sun began to set. Attendees were decked out in gold crowns, glitter makeup, painted-on third eyes and ethereal ensembles. A red carpet was adorned with rose petals and a Med Gala logo photo opp, a nod to the Met Gala, which was held the Monday before.
Upon entering the venue, guests were welcomed by neon lights and a bit of fog. They could explore different experiences, like placing a rose petal offering at an altar, opting for silence in the Inner Light Room or grabbing a mocktail at the bar. Meanwhile, two masked DJs garnered crowds near the dance floor.
After a bit of mingling, Karla Misjan, a teacher at The Class, guided everyone through a mindful movement meditation. President of the board and lead teacher trainer Hector Marcel also led a meditation, during which he asked yogis to imagine their future, enlightened self.
The event welcomed more than 1,100 attendees — some who typically attend digitally flew in from Europe — and will provide scholarships, free programming and fund the business, which is run by volunteers. For Marcel, the Med Gala is about uplifting people and ensuring Three Jewels is able to make mental health resources, specifically yoga and meditation, accessible.
“We put on the Med Gala to say, ‘We all have to get happy and really well centered if we’re going to take care of the 8 million people-plus.’ So for me, it felt like, ‘Oh, they showed up the second time,’ maybe more than last year, definitely more pointed than last year, and it really gave me hope. Humans can do this transformation and help each other get there,” he said.
For executive director Rachel Webb, hosting the Med Gala is a way to better understand and connect with visitors.
“What is Three Jewels gonna do in the next 26 years? That’s what we’re trying to think about doing all the time. There’s an inner way to do that, where we look at the team and we look at the practitioners and their skills and what makes them excited about passing on the lineage,” she said. “It’s also looking out in the world, and what do people want to do? Well, they want to party. They’re curious about sobriety. They want to dress up like the Met Gala. And so that’s the service of the Med Gala, showing people that you can get free and that meditation helps you do that.”
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, in 2022 Three Jewels offered 22,000 free visits and 2,000 free virtual classes, which it first added in 2021, with $118,000 in scholarships.