Nestled on the second floor of the B.F. Goodrich Building, The Refuge Meditation welcomes you in from Fair Park’s streets with the sweet scent of palo santo and incense. Once inside the sun-soaked studio, it’s impossible not to feel immediately relaxed and at home.
Everyone talks to each other like they’ve been friends for years, boiling pots of tea for and bringing in homemade treats for everyone else to enjoy. Mats lining the floor are topped with blankets and bolsters, just close enough together to be cozy without feeling overcrowded. In the tiny studio (classes are capped at 18 students), The Refuge hosts a variety of classes, from sound bath meditations and yin yoga to deep breathing and reiki. They also host workshops and events on everything from crystal healing and anxiety relief to mandala making and the positions of the moon, sometimes late into a weeknight evening.
Founded and run by the brother and sister team of Alex Fox and Rachel Fox Poteet, the young business is infused with a lot of heart. While living in Los Angeles, Rachel became fascinated with meditation and the healing that can come with it. At the same time, Alex had begun practicing meditation as a means to help him fall asleep. At that point, it was pretty much impossible to find a place where simple, healing movement met meditation without an emphasis on calorie burning. With that realization, the idea for The Refuge was born: a place that married simple, healing movement and restoration through yoga and meditation. They opened the studio the summer of 2018. “We wanted to create a refuge in the literal sense,” Rachel explains. “A home away from home where practice is truly communal, and with relationships that extend beyond the surface.”
One Sunday afternoon, I stepped in to the little Fair Park studio for a deep stretch class followed by a sound bath meditation. By the end of the sessions, I’d had a conversation with a sweet older gentleman, a woman named Cricket, both owners, the teacher, and the girl on the mat next to me. I’d also been given a no-sugar truffle and a steaming mug of tea by a fellow class goer. I even learned about sciatica, the benefits of sound baths, and the community and mission that the Refuge inspired.
I’ve always been a yoga girl (I can downward dog with the best of them), but I wasn’t sure what to expect in my two classes that day. I was most unsure about the sound bath, but the 30-minute meditation ended up being my favorite part of the weekend as a whole. With a gentle voice, crystal bowls, and a box filled of sound instruments, the instructor helped me realize how rarely I take the time to lay still with just my thoughts.
After two hours in the studio, I felt like Jello in the best way. The deep stretch class included a reiki (touch) component that pushed everything to the next level, while the sound bath put me in that glorious space between sleep and feeling so relaxed I couldn’t speak.
Rachel and Alex know some of their offerings might sound a little “woo-woo,” especially in Dallas. Peeling the stigma off of meditation is part of the reason they The Refuge in the first place. The little studio serves as a space for the Dallas community at large to explore the benefits of meditation and movement at its finest. “We want people to leave feeling a better than they came in,” Rachel said. “Come in as you are, and leave feeling a little lighter.”