American Buddhism, for all its go-with-the-flow ethos, can still be a pretty stodgy practice. Not so at Against the Stream, founded by ex–punk rocker and ex-crackhead Noah Levine, a tattooed iconoclast who has become one of the most respected teachers of Buddhism in the country. Against the Stream's ethos is much more casual, much more open to the beginner or even the meditation-curious. There are no robes, no bowing. As such, it tends to draw a younger and more diverse crowd — one class is specifically for people of color. With locations in Santa Monica and East Hollywood (as well as one in San Francisco and 20 affiliated groups across the country) and more than 20 weekly classes — plus special series and daylong workshops — there's something for nearly everyone here, with a special emphasis on recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.
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