In New York, a city where 49-hour work weeks and over-stuffed social calendars are the norm, a new slew of contemporary meditation studios and mindfulness pop-ups are gaining momentum. Providing some much-needed tranquility, these organizations are riding a new wave of research that suggests a few moments of daily stillness can have profound health benefits. We’ve located the five best options to help you drop in and zone out in the city that never sleeps.
New York’s hippest zen den, MNDFL, wants to demystify meditation for the masses. Founders Ellie Burrows and Lodro Rinzler shelved the more esoteric elements of the practice, choosing to focus on traditional techniques with a contemporary context instead. MNDFL classes — held in a very on-brand minimalist setting with white-washed brick, neutral fabrics and lush terrariums — encompass 12 themes. Cherry pick the session that appeals on any given day, from mantra based methods to meditative walking, and everything in between.
Some of the trendiest venues in the city (think The Standard Hotel, East Village) host pop up meditations by The Path. This inclusive group offers weekly ‘sits’, courses, workshops, and urban retreats taught by renowned teachers, like author and co-founder of Insight Meditation Society, Sharon Salzberg. As its tagline ‘come sit with us’ suggests, The Path’s emphasis is on community building, so anticipate sharing floor space with young professionals and entrepreneurial types for 45 minutes of modern meditation, followed by casual networking with mugs of mild peppermint tea.
Central Park Summer Stage, the former Domino Sugar Factory, an Upper West Side concert hall, and a boat floating down the Hudson River — four prominent sites taken over by The Big Quiet for its unprecedentedly popular mass meditations.
The secret behind The Big Quiet’s success? In a city shrill with sirens, horns and the incessant clang of construction, the experience of joining 1,500 of your fellow New Yorkers for a few moments of perfect silence is magical.
From the calm of his eponymous Midtown studio, a sunlit space elevated above bustling 5th avenue, Ben Turshen spends his days convincing type-A New Yorkers to pick meditation over medication. His technique of preference is Vedic meditation — a striped-back, universally acessible style that turned him from anxiety-wracked lawyer to modern meditation guru. If you struggle to sit for long periods of time ‘watching the breath’ the simplicity of this approach will be a welcome revelation.
Ziva is the antithesis of the hippie-vegan meditation stereotype, a studio that aims to elevate your everyday performance, both professional and personal, through specific meditations. Founder Emily Fletcher is the go-to meditation expert for A-list actors, high net worth CEOs, and Google’s notoriously wellness obsessed team, but average civilians wanting to boost their brain can sign up for a Ziva course too. They take place twice a month in NYC and the introductory talk is free of charge.