Since MNDFL opened nearly a year ago in Greenwich Village, New Yorkers have flocked to the meditation studio, selling out classes in a variety of styles. But one thing students often request is how to meditate in the city itself, whether on the subway or the streets.
“We live in a city where we’re bombarded by noise, and there’s not a lot of space, so people are really looking for meditation here in the city in order to navigate the day-to-day stressful conditions,” says Lodro Rinzler, a co-founder of MNDFL.
If you’re looking to get meditating on your commute, Rinzler offers these tips:
Pick a style
MNDFL has nearly 30 instructors teaching in everything from Buddhist to Vedic traditions and classes that focus on sound to breath to intention, so finding a style you want to train in is key, Rinzler says. Speaking of training…
“Having an established meditation practice makes it a lot easier to meditate in public,” Rinzler says. “We have to train the mind to really be able to settle. Once we do, it becomes a lot easier.”
Practicing every day, even just for 10 minutes, will “allow you to go out into these busy streets and turn it on again,” he says.
Set a time
To maintain a meditation practice, Rinzler suggests choosing a set time to practice. “The best time to meditate is the time you can actually do it consistently,” he says. “Building it in your routine is really helpful in maintaining the practice.”
“Have a seat and adjust to feel the weight of your feet on the earth and your sit bones beneath you, gently lifting up through the spine,” Rinzler says. “When ready, connect with the natural flow of your breath, your in-breath and your out-breath.” Focusing on just your breathing can be calming, he says. You can close your eyes — if you feel comfortable doing so, he adds.
Being mindful of your movement — the rise and fall of your feet as you walk — is a simple way to meditate in the city, Rinzler says. “Our mind in some sense is always meditating on something — it could be how hungry we are before dinner, it could be how much work we have to do before we get home,” he says. “Here, you’re just choosing to have it meditate on something that is more relaxing and soothing.”
A mindful intention can also be helpful on your way to work. “If you’re commuting to an important business meeting, you can concentrate on the quality that you want to cultivate in that meeting,” Rinzler says.
Embrace the noise
“The idea that we could actually use the various sounds that come up as the object of meditation is helpful for those of us that live in a noisy neighborhood,” Rinzler says. “Being open to how things are is a practice in its own right.”