The pandemic has created many challenges for people and, with Israel under lockdown once again, Serenity House is a way for people to safely see others.
By Joseph Wolkin, World Israel News
A startup in Tel Aviv-Yafo is changing the way people work and connect during the coronavirus pandemic. Serenity House, which is just a 10-minute walk from the Jaffa Port, is helping to support peoples’ mental health during this difficult time of isolation — through connection.
Serenity House is both a space and a community that sits at the intersection of spirituality and practicality. It’s vision is to bridge the gap between what people consider two separate worlds, by taking concepts from mysticism, yoga, and mindfulness and articulating these as practical tools for their community to apply to their businesses, projects and ventures.
The pandemic has created many challenges for people, and with Israel under lockdown once again, this is a way for people to safely see others. It provides a unique and serene environment that allows them to work “from home” and connect with others in the international community.
Mikayla Bogart, one of Serenity House’s founders, believes this trend could spread across the globe once the coronavirus pandemic regulations are lifted.
“The community we’ve been able to build through the seger (lockdown) is amazing,” Bogart, who runs Serenity House with Hayley Alexander and Arye Shabati, said.
“Once regulations are lifted, we are going to have different in-person offerings in terms of retreats, workshops, yoga classes, meditation classes and we will offer the space to be rented for other practitioners to host their own offerings. We really see this space as a physical place for others to share their gifts with the international community living in Tel Aviv.”
Shabati introduced Alexander and Bogart to one another as he opted to focus on different ventures. But the introduction went perfectly, almost like the meeting of “soulmates,” as Bogart put it.
Serenity House will offer multiple packages, including co-working spaces, an all-purpose room, a wellness space and an exclusive space for companies to rent out. Throughout each month, they have plenty of programs too, such as yoga, professional development workshops, round table discussions and more.
“We want this space to serve as a foundation and an opportunity for people who have amazing content to have the right environment to deliver it in,” said Bogart, who is originally from Boston. Their goal is to create a global community of people championing each other to co-create great and impactful things, and enjoy doing it, believing that a shared knowledge economy is the only way we will be able to shape the world we want to live in.
The concept is not one that has been utilized on a large scale before. Groups like WeWork offer a shared office space, but none have done so with both a focus on the individual while offering a wide variety of programs at a low cost.
Bogart moved to New York City after college to work in digital advertising. But at some point, she found herself dreaming of something more and began a personal journey looking for a deeper meaning in her life.
“I had a dream that I was blissfully living in Israel,” Bogart said. “I woke up the next morning and told my parents I was moving.”
She began working in Sport Events planning while studying to get her certification in Mind, Body Health coaching. Eventually, Bogart went back to university for a master’s degree in organizational behavior and development. Then she went to Peru to become a certified yoga instructor.
“During the first lockdown, I used my yoga teacher certification to start offering Zoom classes to provide people with some mental sanity,” she said.
Alexander grew up in Sydney, Australia. She, too, began her professional career in marketing before moving into creative business communications and solutions. But while diving deeper into her yoga practice, she too realized that traditional corporate office life was not the only path for her.
After a few trips and completing her Yoga Teacher Certification in Bali, Alexander – also prompted by a dream – moved to Tel Aviv, where she became a corporate project manager and learning specialist before a grand departure to join the Desert Ashram community in Shitim in southern Israel, where she worked as the Workshop Producer and Yoga and Meditation facilitator.
“When I finally returned to Tel Aviv, I wasn’t looking to go back to a big office corporation,” Alexander said of life during the coronavirus pandemic. “I heard of Mikayla through the grapevine, and people kept telling me I had to meet this girl. I told her about this creative accountability program I wanted to do within the space, and she suggested we sit down to have a meet and greet.”
Now, in the middle of yet another lockdown in Israel, the dynamic duo are finding a way forward. They are staying connected online, creating yoga videos on Instagram, providing access to people growing new ventures, and providing fresh approaches for people to “look at a new way to walk through the world,” as Alexander puts it. They are excited about inviting a mix of people into the space, from solopreneurs to corporates to healers, to find what it is that each is looking to create and express.
This small business could play a major role for Tel Avivians looking to leave their homes and have social interactions once again. Specifically, as Israel prepares to reopen its economy, Serenity House’s brand could certainly pick up steam.
“We want people to have all types of tools that will allow people to grow into the best versions of themselves and reach their full potential” Bogart said.