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Meditate in the a.m.? Here’s why you should do it in a group

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The pros of a daily morning meditation are vast (hello serious focus and productivity, goodbye stress). But getting into a Zen place when your warm bed is three feet away, and your significant other is rattling about the kitchen? Not so easy.

That’s why meditating en masse—away from the snooze button’s siren call—is gaining momentum as a compelling solution. And this season, Samsung 837 and Wanderlust have teamed up to lead the charge.

Wanderlust, the creative force behind those gorgeous community-focused mindfulness festivals, is adding its touch to Samsung 837’s dynamic meeting space every week through February—and we stopped by the Samsung 837 Main Stage in the heart of New York City’s Meatpacking District to experience it ourselves.

Photo: Samsung
The Samsung 837 Main Stage. Photo: Samsung

Morning meditators showed up bright and early for the 8:30 a.m. session (doors open at 8) inside the high-tech space. Cushy mats were placed across the tiered main stage under a filter of soothing, dimmed blue light, offering an accoustically pleasing stadium setting that seemed to hum with anticipation.

The host? Mindfulness expert Ally Bogard, owner and teacher of Gaiatri Yoga Teacher Training. With a calming demeanor (and an even more calming voice), she led the group through a 30-minute meditation, instructing us to focus on our breath, until breathing deeply through the nose and slowly exhaling became second nature.

Photo: Pete Longworth
Ally Bogard. Photo: Pete Longworth

And if you suffer from chronic brain chatter (a common problem), Bogard had a genius tip for quieting the mind. Instead of judging yourself for thinking about what to put in your smoothie that day, Bogard recommended repeating the mantra “I wonder what my next thought will be” in your head each time a new thread appeared.

As new ones kept coming, she told us to continue shortening the line, until merely the idea of “I wonder” would stop a new thought in its tracks. The result was a sort of concentrated echo chamber, where your mind is tuned out from your inner monologue enough to focus on total body awareness.

There’s something about being in a mass of like-minded people all striving for the same goal that really puts your practice into high gear.

Also? There’s something about being in a mass of like-minded people all striving for the same goal that really puts your practice into high gear. Without the usual distractions of ringing iPhone alarms, car horns, and tea kettles—just the hive-like energy of a mindfully collected group—you can actually focus inward with more ease.

When the half-hour session was winding down (Bogard instructed the group to stretch our arms and neck from side to side, then slowly open our eyes), it felt like only five minutes had passed—definitely a sign of a good session.

Want to check it our yourself? See all the yoga, meditation, and fitness events coming up (and reserve your spot!) at

Top photo: Stocksy/Danil Nevsky