BY: ADRIAN SMITH
What would New York City be like if everyone meditated? Less angry, you’d imagine, maybe even a bit more compassionate—at the very least more relaxed. In a fast-paced city like Manhattan, where people get caught up in the frenzy of their personal and professional lives, it’s refreshing to have a space to breathe and become familiar with your thoughts and your mind.
Ellie Burrows thought so, and in conversation with Lodro Rinzler, author of best-selling book The Budda Walks into a Bar, said there should be a modern, non-religious, drop-in studio where she could meditate in the same way she’s able to stop by a salon to get her hair done. Rinzler, who was leading the Institute for Compassionate Leadership at the time, agreed, and together, the two created MNDFL, the new “meditation gym” located in Greenwich Village, where people can stop in to meditate, allowing them to feel more present within themselves while escaping the chaos of the outer world.
“MNDFL is an environment specifically made for the experience of quiet, focus, comfort and calm, and they’ve seen results in ameliorating depression, anxiety and chronic pain”
Launched in 2015, MNDFL offers 30 to 45-minute themed-classes where people get to choose the form of meditation that’s most helpful to them that specific day. Themes range anywhere from ‘breath’ to ‘movement,’ ‘energy, sleep’ and even ‘kids.’ When classes are not in session, rooms become open to the public for self-guided practice. In these meditation rooms, natural light seeps onto a living plant wall fresh with ferns, moss and lichen, creating a calm and organic environment for meditators.
Classes are also offered for younger children to learn the essentials of meditation
Guests are encouraged to book their own cushions online and enroll in these sessions led by MNDFL’s 25 meditative experts, whose level of practice ranges from Vedic to Kundalini to Theravada meditation. These 25 experts include founder Lodro Rinzler and Sharon Salzberg, who have been studying the practice of meditation since 1971.
Why do we need a studio to meditate? Why can’t we just do it anywhere? Can’t you meditate at home? Well, you could…but it takes a lot of discipline and determination not to turn on the TV or browse the Internet with that small amount of time you set aside. It’s easy to find reasons not to meditate at home, and it’s difficult to maintain focus with all the distractions. MNDFL is an environment specifically made to experience quiet, focus, comfort and calm, and they’ve seen results in ameliorating depression, anxiety and chronic pain.
Founders Lodro Rinzler and Sharon Salzberg
True meditation is an investment in health. It improves cognitive functions, mitigates anxiety, modulates pain and raises self-awareness. The studio was created for humans to feel good spiritually, so why not experience the real benefits of the practice? We’re constantly in the search of happiness. The problem is, we always look for it and hope to find it in our work, our relationships or other external things. Happiness is a quality of consciousness that is accessible to anyone who takes the time to dive within, instead of seeking out. MNDFL makes that quality a bit easier to find in a city known for its chaotic pace, by offering a calming space to breathe.