Lawyers and venture capitalists do yoga and meditate in a new type of New York City coworking space that was created after its founder took a psychedelic drug in Peru -- see inside

Sarah Jacobs/Business InsiderThe Assemblage in Manhattan’s NoMad neighbourhood.
  • The Assemblage is a coworking space in New York City that provides its members with yoga, meditation, sound and breath work classes, and more.
  • Its founder, Rodrigo Niño, came up with the idea after taking a hallucinogenic drug called ayahuasca, which he said connected him to his “higher mind.”
  • Memberships at the coworking space start at $US200 for individuals, and run up to $US6,500 for companies that want to rent out space.

Before Rodrigo Niño founded the New York City coworking space The Assemblage, he was first a real-estate developer and economist who launched the Prodigy Network in 2003, which uses crowdfunding to purchase commercial real estate.

Originally from Colombia, Niño had been working in the US for over 20 years when he was diagnosed with stage-3 Metastatic Melanoma cancer at age 41. After two surgeries, he went on to seek answers outside of the traditional medical community.

Niño went to Peru to participate in an ayahuasca ceremony, an ancient spiritual healing practice – and the latest craze among entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley. Ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic brew that scientists have said has the ability to make users “objectively observe one’s thoughts and feelings without associating them with identity.”

“I was looking for answers in this physical reality, traditional medicine,” Niño told Business Insider. “I’m an economist, [in] real estate, I’m very secular, very evidence and numbers driven. I couldn’t find the answers that would satisfy my craving to deal with this fear,” he said. “When you’re confronted with the potential of dying, it’s a very frightening experience.”

“I saw that we had this physical reality, and we have our individual self in our physical reality which is what I call the physical mind,” Niño said of his own hallucinogenic experience. “But there was the unknown – and it [felt] very familiar. I had this spark of life. I call it the higher mind.”

After participating in the ceremonies for three days, Niño’s connection to his “higher mind” was at its peak. His fear of death dissipated, he said, as he realised he had a “radical urge for service” to others.

With The Assemblage, Niño is aiming to help members discover their “higher mind.” Complete with traditional office space, meeting rooms, and a common area for food and drink, The Assemblage resembles something like a WeWork.

But its difference lies in its offerings, providing members with Ayurvedic food, a non-alcoholic bar, and speaking events with guests such as spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra. The Assemblage will also offer studio and one-bedroom apartments for rent in their Financial District location, which is set to open in April.

Below, explore The Assemblage’s NoMad location – which Niño describes as “a consciousness incubator.”

The Assemblage’s NoMad space is the first of three locations in New York City. The two others, in Midtown East and the Financial District, are set to open soon.

Niño has reportedly invested $US400 million dollars in real estate for the Assemblage. This location covers 48,000 square feet and is 12 stories. Inside the main space the atmosphere is busy, yet calm. Members were quietly conversing and working as we walked through.

Source: The New York Times

Pricing starts at $US200 a month for evening access to the common areas and events, and runs up to $US6,500 a month for businesses that rent out office space. For $US1,600 a month, workers can rent a private desk.

Sarah Jacobs/Business InsiderEvent space in the Assemblage.

The more traditional workspace provides office space to companies such as NY Venture Partners, Nue Agency, and the Fridman Law Group. A private office with multiple desks costs upwards of $US2,500 a month.

For members, communal breakfast and lunch are a part of the program. In the common area, Ayurvedic foods — which follow the principles of the Indian practice Ayurveda, which believes food is a form of medicine — are prepared and served. Ingredients are sourced within a 200-mile range. When the sun began to set, candles were lit around the common area for a warm, relaxing light.

The Alchemy Bar offers non-alcoholic, plant-based drinks called “joy,” “immunity,” “energy” and “balance.”

We tried the “joy” beverage, which was prepared with the carefulness of a complex cocktail, but sans alcohol. Its Rooibos tea base and raspberry flavour was a delicious alternative to a normal happy-hour beer.

A library space provides a more quiet place for members to get work done. People here seemed more focused than in the common space.

Daily programming at The Assemblage includes yoga, breath work, meditation, and sound classes.

Meditation space, as well as meeting rooms, are available for companies that rent out office space.

Members also have access to the rooftop. Niño hopes for Assemblage members to realise their higher calling by working, collaborating, and taking part in the weekly classes and events within the space.

In the Financial District location, which is set to open April 2, hotel accommodations are also available to book. Amenities include a fully-functioning kitchen, work desks, and laundry service.

Photo courtesy of the Assemblage

“We want to incite in people that there is more to them than what they see,” Niño said of The Assemblage’s mission. “There is a higher expression of yourself. But we don’t stop there…once you do that, we want you to know that there’s a very specific protocol that you can follow to make change as a function of doing well for yourself.”

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