RecharjDC offers a safe haven for D.C.’s busy-bodies


Isabella Brody

Cushions sit inside RecharjDC. The meditation studio offers residents in the D.C. area various classes to relax and reflect.

By Isabella Brody

Ambient blue lighting, tranquil music and a cushion-filled room all create the relaxed vibe of the Recharj meditation studio. Residents in the D.C. area seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of city life can attend the variety of meditation classes that Recharj has to offer.

Whether customers are in pursuit of a 25-minute power-nap or a guided meditation session, Recharj provides a safe haven for anyone looking to relax and reflect. The studio also offers a multitude of teacher training classes and workshops for people interested in becoming certified meditation instructors. 

Co-owner of the studio Maria Jose Hernandez first discovered Recharj after a friend introduced her to it in 2016. Working in international development at the time, Hernandez dealt with the usual stresses of a nine-to-five job, and she lacked a post-work environment where she could relax. After attending a few trial classes at Recharj shortly after its opening, Hernandez became a regular at the studio. Soon after, she approached the founder of Recharj, Daniel J. Turissini, to express her interest in becoming an investor in the newly started company. 

Once Hernandez became co-owner, she began to collaborate with Turissini to market to employees of private companies. She knew the stress of working in an office, and she wanted to create a haven for people who were just as stressed as she was, she said. Together, Turissini and Hernandez developed a plan where businesses would hire Recharj instructors to run guided meditations in conference rooms. 

“Because [bosses] demand more and more from their employees, people end up working more,” Hernandez said. “Companies have started to provide all these other wellness practices.”

Recharj also holds unique meditative practices that most other wellness studios don’t offer. Classes such as “gong bath,” which is a type of sound therapy that reduces stress, and other various sound healing classes are popular among customers. Recharj offers 25 minute windows throughout the day in their studio where adults can take a break from their jobs, lie down on large pillows called “yogibos” and falling asleep to lo-fi music.

Once a month, certified breathwork instructor Kathleen Kulikowski holds a specialized breathwork workshop. Breathwork is the manipulation of breath to facilitate emotional release; the practice requires full emotional commitment in order to reap its benefits. Kulikowski’s ability to make a space feel safe allows for a particularly transformational meditative practice, Hernandez said. 

A SoulCycle retreat in the Poconos introduced Kulikowski to breathwork; on the trip, breathwork mentor Erin Telford led about 40 SoulCycle instructors — including Kulikowski — through a breathwork session.

After the retreat, Kulikowski headed to New York where Telford trained her privately; she described the training as “transformative.” 

Breathwork offers what therapy sometimes can’t: the feeling of immediate relief. For people dealing with past traumas or current anxieties, breathwork can help release stress because it facilitates emotional “shedding” by tapping into the nervous system, Kulikowski said. 

To benefit fully from breathwork, students have to commit to the unusual “three part” breath. The first part is an inhale through the stomach, then an inhale through the chest and finally an open-mouth exhale through the mouth. 

“The body holds pain and trauma. We can say in our heads that we are good, and we got this, and we are fine, yet our body always knows,” Kullikowski said. “Breath allows us to really go inward and get some really good information about what we need to release.” 

1445 New York Ave NW Washington, DC, hours depend on class schedule, 7 Days a Week