Fitness | November 1st 2018

Studio Spotlight: MNDFL

This month, we’re so excited to tell you guys about MNDFL meditation studio in New York City. MNDFL is NYC’s first drop in meditation studio, with various offerings for those at every level. Make sure to subscribe to our newsletter to receive a unique discount code for a free 30 minute class!

Tell us about MNDFL.
MNDFL exists to enable humans to feel good and we do that by making meditation accessible and helping people build a practice. We have an incredibly kind and diverse community and you can feel that when you’re in our space or practicing with our teachers.

What distinguishes MNDFL from other studios?
Aside from being New York City’s first drop in meditation studio, we now have three locations (Greenwich Village, Upper East Side, Williamsburg) featuring 45 expert teachers from a variety of traditions offering simple techniques in an accessible manner. In addition to our physical studio presence, we have a robust corporate offering which allows us to provide meditation instruction for companies in their offices, our signature MNDFL Teacher Training program which has attracted individuals from all over the world including Japan, Ireland and Russia, a video channel called MNDFL Video so that our community that lives outside NYC can practice with us regularly and last, but definitely not least, MNDFL Ed. – our nonprofit arm which allows us to do what we do best for underserved communities and schools. Our content is pretty special as is our teaching staff and our spaces feel like home – that’s probably the real special sauce.

Walk us through what a MNDFL newbie can expect from their first visit.
As soon as a first time community member crosses the threshold into our studio, they are warmly greeted by a member of our incredible front desk staff. We try to spend about five minutes with each person who comes in, including a brief tour of the space (tech free lounge area, free tea, cushion demo!) and run down of what to expect from class. Depending on what brought that individual to MNDFL, we also spend some time with them to craft their personal journey at MNDFL. This means we can make recommendations for certain class types or teachers depending on interest. They can also expect to welcomed with open arms by the rest of our community too.

What are the different types of meditation you offer?
Buddhist practices at MNDFL include Theravadin, Tibetan, Insight, Zen. We also offer MBSR, Vedic Meditation (that’s what I teach!), Kundalini, Sound, Jewish Mindfulness, Hindu and Yogic traditions as well.

Which classes do you recommend for each experience level?
For our beginners (the medi-curious!), I always recommend starting with MNDFL Breath, MNDFL Heart, or MNDFL Intentions. If you’re curious about MNDFL Sound that can be a very relaxing place to start. Think about it this way: if meditation were a mountain, mindfulness practice would be hiking up and sound would be taking the chairlift to the top. If you’ve been practicing for a while, I recommend trying our longer classes that are 45m or 60m. Also if you already have a steady practice, our private studio is always open for self-guided practice. Lastly, if you really want to become an entirely self-sufficient meditator, definitely join me for a four-day Vedic Meditation course. Next one is in January!

Why is the physical space important at MNDFL?
Our intention was to create an optimal environment for meditation and relaxation. That beautiful intention gave rise to an equally beautiful space that is the physical manifestation of that intention. The physical space is part of the accountability structure MNDFL provides. It’s very helpful to have a dedicated space to go to begin to build a consistent practice, especially since consistent practice is the only way to experience the benefits of meditation. We don’t allow technology in the lounge or main studio spaces so it’s a real opportunity to physically separate from your devices. The beauty of the space serves the practice. You might come back to the space because it’s appealing, but what you’re really doing is coming back to your practice.

What do you want people to take away from their practice with you?
One of the Tibetan words for meditation is “gom” which means “to become familiar with.” Meditation helps you become familiar with all of who you are.  If we understand how we are feeling in the present moment (joyful, fearful, closed off, triggered), then we can learn how to cultivate compassion for ourselves and then in turn have compassion for others. Hopefully meditating can help people be kinder to themselves and in turn, kinder to others.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone to feel their best, what would it be?
Sometimes it’s totally ok not to feel your best. Sometimes it feels good and is important to allow ourselves the space to feel what that feels like. Life is an all-inclusive experience – we can’t just erase the discomfort. The kindest thing you can do is to see yourself as a work in progress and begin to understand how you’re occurring in whatever moment you’re in. Definitely celebrate the moments in which you feel wonderful, experience that joy, but also allow yourself to ride the waves of the more difficult emotions. It’s all you and that’s real.