By day, she’s managing her company and teaching meditation. By night, she’s spinning everything from flamenco to funk at the coolest clubs in town. Meet sensualist, spirituality and meditation guru Donna D’Cruz, the founder of Rasa Living, a lifestyle company whose motto is to “Elevate Your Spirit, Stimulate Your Senses, Awaken Your Style.” With her husband, Tom Silverman of legendary hip-hop and electronic label Tommy Boy Entertainment, friends like Rosario Dawson and collaborators like Deepak Chopra by her side, D’Cruz is a true powerhouse.
Born in South India and raised in Australia, D’Cruz grew up in a musically inclined household, steeped in faith and tradition. However, it wasn’t until she was 17 that she decided to begin meditation. With ambition, curiosity and an encyclopedic knowledge of music and sound, D’Cruz made her way to New York about 16 years ago where she founded record label Rasa Music.
In 2010 D’Cruz DJ-ed for Phoenix House, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation organization in the Hamptons. Moved by two individuals who candidly shared their stories of addiction and recovery, D’Cruz reached out to Phoenix House to inquire about a wellness program the next day. Three years later, D’Cruz’s meditation classes went public at The Standard, High Line, where she teaches two to three times a month. With a picturesque view of the sunset over the Hudson River, D’Cruz’s late afternoon classes are extra-Zen. And, to encourage people to try meditation and practice regularly, classes are free.
Dressed in all white for meditation, D’Cruz is a vision of purity. She combines voice and Tibetan bells with two or three iPods to mix music live. For the first 45 minutes, participants sit on the ground with their palms facing up, and the final 15 minutes are spent laying down in full relaxation. While it may seem impossible to completely rid your mind of chaos for an hour, the goal is to “come to stillness,” as D’Cruz puts it.
“I think for so long we gave ourselves treats: spa experiences, retreats, going on holidays, all these sort of things as a privilege,” D’Cruz says. “Peace is not a privilege. Peace exists inside us.”
When asked which type of meditation produces the best results, D’Cruz is appropriately neutral. “The best meditation is the one you do.” It could be cooking, gardening, DJ-ing. It could be traditional meditation classes or even a personal practice through an app, which the multitasking mogul plans to launch this year. No matter how you achieve that sense of calm, D’Cruz’s main message is to just simply make it happen.
“You don’t want to be the person that closes your eyes for the last time and your song is still in you,” says D’Cruz. “Listen to that song. Eavesdrop on that song. Give yourself time to sing it and fully express it.”