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Cyber Dating

Are you looking for someone who follows Ammachi, Yogananda or Dada Vasswani? Or maybe someone who is into the Kabbalah, or something else? You may just find them on Match My Spirit. If you're looking for your soul-mate you might want to check out this website, designed to help you do just that, or at the very least help you find a lover who walks a similar spiritual path as you do.

While they ask you some of the same bells and whistles you would find on more traditional dating sites, in terms of how it looks and feels, Match My Spirit also takes you down some very different avenues to find out who your guru's are, what your spiritual life looks like and how you bring that into your relationships. Asking questions like “Is my love for God greater than the love I would have for my partner” and “How important is marriage counseling to me.” All to determine where your focus is, and match you up with someone who you are also spiritually compatible with.

It may take you a little longer to fill in the blanks and mean spending a little more time pondering how you feel about certain aspects of life before sharing it with a website, a significant other, or even a new friend. A friend? Yes they ask people who meet through the site to actually be friends for six to eight months before starting to date so they can really get to know each other.

This is definitely not your average dating site.

And Naini Nakagawa, the founder of Match My Spirit wouldn’t have it any other way. While you may naturally assume that it was inspired by a desire to cash in on the online dating bonanza by adding a more spiritual spin into the mix, that wasn’t the case, her inspiration was more spiritually driven, and perhaps in some ways based on her personal experience.

Nakagawa is a long time devotee of Yogananda, having read a copy of his autobiography when she was 11 or 12 in India, where she was raised. “I’ve always found yoga, meditation and a holistic way of living very attractive,” she says. hen she was 22 she moved from India to the U.S, and things changed for her. “I was married, but it was a horrible, and even though we had a child I ended it.”

Years later she met her current husband, who she clearly adores, at the Yogananda center. They've been together for seven years and married for five years – and they follow a very similar spiritual path and guru.

After 20 years in the fashion business she was looking for a new career, and had some down time. So she delved into deep meditation, and the idea came to her.. “I got a message to create a website to bring spiritual people together. I had gotten messages before but this one was crystal clear and that had never happened to me like this before.” She decided to see what she could do, asking some devotees of Yogananda to help out – within a week she a graphic designer and a programmer. “We started working on it right away,” she says.

The site found caught on and has inspired some successful matches, all of which waited to start dating and became friends first, while some stayed friends others are now lovers, and are still together. And some are married, including one couple who used the site to connect in India. “A couple, who are both Yogananda devotees all the way in India, got together on the site and now have a baby as well, says Nakagawa. She is also very passionate about making sure that everyone is represented on the site, and can find a match, so much so she brought the site to the LGBT Expo.

The site has also evolved since its inception, so that while your exploring the site and perhaps looking for your soul-mate, you may just find a community where you can have some fun, chill out and have a stimulating chat because Nakagawa has started a Holistic Bazaar at the Open Center. Its a monthly event where people who have connected on the site can meet for the first time, in a safe, non judgmental, and fun environment. “Its a space where there is no pressure to look great or dress up, people can just be themselves.” However, its not just for those new potential couples, its designed for anyone looking to have a good time, and to connect with people on.

The setting for the Holistic Bazaar was inspired by Nakagawa's festive childhood trips to the local bazaar where she shopped as a child. In keeping with that theme she has included a potluck, so you can have a snack or meal, while mixing it up, getting a massage or reiki session, or exploring the wares of the merchants who have set up shop. There is plenty of holistically inclined and fun items to choose from, whether that means checking out some rather beautiful handmade jewelry by Emily Dana Originals, sampling doTerra oils being sold by Caroline Lee or checking out the wares of other vendors.

In many ways the community on the website and the Bazaar are one in the same, and something Nakagawa treasures. “Its a community from my heart,” she says. One that she believes New Yorkers whether single or partnered up can benefit from. “Everyone needs nourishing love especially in NYC so we wanted to create a platform for that to manifest.”

People who want to try out the site can do so for free over the next 4 to 6 months, while its being revamped. Once the upgrade is finished the price tag for finding your soul-mate will go up to $2.99 a month, which is still a bargain. The Bazaar happens once a month, at the Open Center, and everyone is invite, and like I said it’s free.

For more information go to their website.

--Dar Dowling

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