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Secret Underground Meditation Sessions Are the New Brooklyn Yoga Raves

in YD News

Participants of The Path.

Secret swanky meditation sessions are sweeping New York. Just when you thought Brooklyn’s early morning sober yoga rave dance party was the next big thing, secret underground meditation classes have come in to silently (and consciously!) yank the rug right out from under their prancing feet.

The first rule of Secret Meditation Club? You do not talk about Secret Meditation Club. Unless, of course, someone you know is interested, or a random person asks about it, or people in your life just really need meditation because they’re super stressed and they don’t know WHAT TO DO and they’ve been hearing all about how meditation is great for stress relief and living consciously and making better choices so they really want to try it out…then, by all means, go ahead and tell the world! Because it’s secret but it’s not STINGY. Sheesh. Just make sure you’re invited.

OK, so cheeksterness, we’re not kidding about this. While some people are building the “Soul Cycle for Meditation” franchise of the future, there are other small pockets of yogapreneurs taking the opportunity to host invite-only intimate and underground meditation sessions at random and secret locations around New York City.

The Path, for instance, is one of these such groups. The Path is a weekly meditation workshop held at various unnamed venues that requires a special invite and probably a password like “Open Lakshmi!” Featured recently in the NY Daily News, The Path focuses its outreach to the city’s professionals, cutting out all of the spiritual spook and just keeping it about manifesting buzzworthy, yet also helpful, things like creativity, productivity and success.

“When you go to a typical meditation center, it’s more of a spiritual joint,” said Path-goer, John Ebner, 29, after a recent meditation session. “But I’m a business guy and I’m an athlete, so I like the vibe better at the Path. It’s a place to go where you know you will feel good at the end of the class. And maybe network with the other people there.”

The Path session at midtown event space Lightbox.

The Path session led by Elena Brower at midtown event space Lightbox.

Meditation and networking in one super hip setting? What could be better? (Maybe more beer? Or weed?) Before you get too excited, though, we have to note that these sessions happen Monday mornings at 8 a.m. Yeah, we thought that might put a little dent in your dandy. Then again, that’s probably the perfect time to set yourself up for a good week and maybe even help rid you of that dreaded case of the Mondays.

That is, if you get in. To attend The Path medi seshes (we’re sure that’s what they call them) you have to go to the website and request an invitation. Then you pay $20 for the mindfulness and mingling.

That might sound like a lot, but not if you’re looking for a posh experience. One review of a recent Path session held at the Soho Synagogue, known as the “hipster” synagogue, paints a very swanky picture.

When I arrived at the location on this particularly freezing Friday morning, a doorman was outside checking in a list of names. With an 8:00 AM start time, it felt like I was entering a VIP after-hours party from the night prior. Upon entering the space, a very friendly woman offered to take my jacket, and then directed me to a complimentary tea station.The Synagogue lobby, dressed in colorful artwork and exposed brick, was a welcoming area for people to mingle before going inwards.

A similar, yet smaller scale pop-up meditation group is facilitated by Center of the Cyclone, aka Biet Simkin, a meditation teacher holding weekly meditation events in art galleries or in another “special location” TBA. The spaces are chosen for their “great beauty to invoke a kind of magic and elicit joy” because “beauty makes it easier for us to come alive as we once were as children; free, happy and calm.” Fair enough. We like pretty things. In order to be a part of these secret sessions you can call or text Biet for details. She also makes house/office/birthday party calls.

All of this shouldn’t seem so surprising. Meditation and mindfulness are kind of a thing, from being the cover of TIME magazine to being a perk at some companies to being a way to help kids manage and understand their thoughts and emotions. The benefits are many. And frankly we’re happy to see people embracing meditation as a way to de-stress, find compassion (for themselves and others) and connect (with themselves and others).

Not a ton of yoga studios in NYC offer meditation classes, and those that do offer them almost as an afterthought. So, in a sense, these secret meditation sessions are filling a void, and when you have 75 people all sitting together at 8 a.m. on a Monday morning “So Hum”-ing their way to mindfulness, they’re also filling a demand. Glow sticks not required.

image credit M.B. Elian for New York Daily News



9 comments… add one
  • S..

    Did someone say…cult?

  • So cool!!! World will transform by going inside.

  • vq2

    For about a fifth of the cost (subscribing to a religion, optional), they could go sit zazen at a Kadampa center. 😉

    But, I guess, even the concept of an actual Zen meditation hall scares these people.

    • Dwayne

      I strongly agree with the idea behind your post. But isn’t Kadampa in the Tibetan (roughly Gelug) Buddhist tradition, rather than Zen? 🙂

      • vq2

        Yes, but a seated meditation venue. Does it matter how I got to the cushion, so long as I’m there and it’s encouraged–all styles encouraged and no questions asked?

        A full altar. The works. Sometimes those hipsters the author keeps writing about, don’t know what they’re missing in not meditating in a real ghampa.

        But then, maybe they don’t really know how. There is always a big price tag on kewl.

  • macncheese

    how the hell would it be a cult. you clearly have not spent any time in a cult.

  • macncheese

    I looked at the Center of the Cyclone website and they offer wedding meditation. I wonder if this meditation is gonna go the same way as yoga and end up being trivialised by market forces. You can almost feel it coming. We will have bungee mindfulness or sky diving mindfulness soon. Wait and see. What a hoot this all is…

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