If you're a New Yorker who's always thought about trying meditation but never quite knew how—or where—to start, you've officially run out of excuses.
MNDFL, pronounced "mindful," is a new Manhattan studio opening on November 6 at East 8th Street and University Place in Greenwich Village that's offering a full schedule of 30 and 45-minute non-denominational guided meditation classes ($15 per drop in) in a super chic and modern setting.
While meditation spots have been growing in New York City, MNDFL takes the concept to the next level by creating a dedicated space designed specifically for meditation that's not overly spiritual or time consuming (think of it as the East Coast equivalent of Los Angeles' Unplug).
The concept is the brainchild of former film industry exec-turned-spiritual blogger Ellie Burrows and esteemed Buddhist teacher and The Buddha Walks Into A Bar author Lodro Rinzler, friends who dreamed up the idea for MNDFL over coffee last year.
"I told him I was having trouble sitting at home practicing, and asked him why there was no place to go meditate like the way I drop into a salon and get my nails done, or drop into a Body By Simone for a workout," Burrows remembers. "As a busy New Yorker, I wanted a place to go that didn’t involve climbing five flights of stairs and sitting in on two-hour talks."
That initial conversation manifested itself into a program system akin to DryBar; just as the beauty destination has a menu for the type of blowout you want, MNDFL has a menu for the type of meditation you're in the mood for. For example, there's MNDFL Breath for relaxation and MNDFL Sleep for insomniacs, with each teacher bringing in their own unique meditation style, be it Vedic or zen.
"I like to think of this as meditation university," Rinzler says. "You can take different classes and decide what style you want to major in. It's about finding a practice that's right for you." It helps that Rinzler brought in an A-list roster of visiting and resident teachers, including leading meditation teachers Sharon Salzberg, Elena Brower, and Emily Fletcher.
The space is equally impressive. Cool designers Homepolish created the modern-but-calming studio, complete with natural materials, exposed brick, and walls of plants curated by The Sill. There's also a complimentary tea section stocked by Thrive Market to encourage people to linger and commune before and after class, a retail section with groceries, apparel, and Folk Rebellion products, and a space for teachers to sell their own favorite meditation books and apothecary items. In other words, when it comes to appealing to stylish Manhattanites of a certain healthy ilk, Burrows knows what she's doing.
"We want to help New Yorkers feel good," Burrows says of MNDFL's ultimate goal. "It's such a chaotic city. We want to provide a dedicated space for people to sit quietly that's not [their] home or office, so that they can reset and reflect. Everything we built is all for that singular goal: creating a space to breathe." —Jamie McKillop
MNDFL, 10 E. 8th St., New York, NY, 10003, mndflmeditation.com
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