I Went to a MNDFL Space for the First Time

BY MIA MONTALVO

An unlikely silent space hidden in the hectic bustle, MNDFL, is the site where New Yorkers go to escape.

PHOTO: MNDFL Meditation /  Instagram

PHOTO: MNDFL Meditation / Instagram

Although trendy, the meditation studio with three exclusive locations on the Upper East Side, Greenwich Village, and Williamsburg, is an experience unlike other hot spots that have caused a stir. Similar to Soul Cycle, MNDFL classes allow one to “book a cushion” and are meant to be transformative.

After a long day of class, interning, and commuting through the migraine-inducing subway, I found myself awkwardly buzzing in at the MNDFL studio on the Upper East Side. Nervously chuckling, and alone, a man stood next to me just as confused as I was and quickly confessed that this was his first time trying out one of these classes.

We both exhaled, and walked up the staircase. Waiting at the desk was a cheery and warm receptionist who welcomed me, offered hot tea on the house, and instructed me to take my shoes off and put my phone on airplane mode. Walking over to the “community room,” barefoot and hesitant, I plopped down on a large cushion.

The space in itself was calming, warm, and the people all shared a similar exhaustion and desire to gain a better sense of self. Waiting, phone-less -- which does not happen very often -- I began surveying the room. Exposed white brick walls, greenery and bookshelves, all stood elevated above the bustling sidewalk. The class began in a separate room with cushions that lined the floor in rows. Little did I know the mindfulness had already begun.

We sat down, and were given the option to keep our eyes open in a glazed over-stare, or closed and content. I chose closed. The class Mindful Emotions, was essentially a thirty-minute session to feel. Some may be a bit skeptical of this -- and, trust me, I absolutely was in the beginning.

However, that thirty minutes was a silent, but powerful eruption of everything that had been building in me for the past few months.

Mindful meditation is a difficult practice. Trying to hyper focus on the moment and only feel your reactions is quite challenging. We often fall on two sides of the thinking spectrum: burying our emotions so deep down we forget they exist or feeling so much it consumes our every thought. I’m an over-thinker. Trying to clear my mind and only feel the natural responses my body transcribes, was almost impossible at first.

Yet, as time went on I began to feel more deeply and attempted to not tie a narrative to my thoughts. The instructor told us to ask ourselves “How does it feel to be me?” Honestly, and without judgment, I thought: right now I feel strong, but also there’s a lot that is scary and uncertain. She asked this question repeatedly and with each time I grew more separate from the problems, worries, and fears I was dealing with.

The meditation class itself felt very quick, and I wish it could have been stretched a bit longer. Even so, it definitely made me feel in tune with myself and I was able to escape the loudness of the world for a little bit. The instructor commended us for taking the time out of our days to work on ourselves, which was a really nice reminder.

Mindful Emotions, as a class, is probably not something I would find myself doing routinely, but it was definitely a good practice that I can now take with me on the go. We are always evolving, but allowing ourselves to  be in the now is something that we should all work a little harder on, be you a New Yorker or not.

Lead Image Credit: MNDFL Meditation / Instagram