New wave meditation: How to embrace spirituality in the modern world
Mindfulness has been the buzz word in wellness for some time now, as more of us attempt to find peace in a stressed out, digitally dependent culture. With Ariana Huffington praising work-life balance in the best-selling Thrive and meditation apps topping the iTunes charts, everyone from employers to yogis are embracing the benefits of meditation.
Rooted in Buddhism and greatly varied in method, meditation has long been in the public consciousness. Joel S. Goldsmith’s Art Of Meditation has sold millions of copies since its first publication in 1957. However, it is only in the past few years that the practice has begun to throw off stigma of lofty ideals as more creative and accessible ways of embracing spirituality have surfaced. Here, Sweaty Betty compiles a few of our favourite ways to add spirituality to a fast-paced lifestyle…
A constant fixture among iTunes’ best-selling apps, Headspace provides guided meditation for beginners and has been credited with increasing mindfulness across the globe. Offering daily 10-minute guided sessions, these meditations fit easily into even the busiest lifestyles. Tune in everywhere from your daily commute to your bed (naturally, just before you drift off into a more restful sleep).
When time is in short supply and stress levels rise, the first signs of tension typically appear in the body. Aiming to counteract these tensions is the Aman Spa at Connaught Hotel, which offers complimentary daily meditation sessions to help nearby office workers convert their lunch breaks into something much more meaningful.
Taking the trend a step further is Unplug Meditation - the brainchild of former fashion editor Suze Yalof-Schwartz. Designed as a sanctuary away from the stresses of life, this peaceful mindfulness studio in Brentwood, California offers 30-45 minute meditation sessions that appeal to all manner of clients from professionals to celebrities to wellness enthusiasts.
One of the most common ways we find peace in the frantic world is through exercise. Yogis in particular often credit their time on the mat as a way of restoring sanity and achieving deeper clarity. But whether you love yoga, trail running, TRX training or any other form of fitness, the simple act of focusing on the movement of the body is an ideal way to manage stress levels.
Companies including Mindful Movements, run by Sweaty Betty Ambassador Hana Saotome, offers workshops, retreats and bespoke events that share the benefits of mindfulness. With classes taking place in tranquil outdoor spaces including parks and forests, Hana helps you feel more grounded and aligned with the universe.
Meanwhile, cardio enthusiasts are most likely to head to the UK’s Psycle or the nearest branch of Soul Cycle in the US for a sweaty workout in a zen setting established by advanced pyrotechnics or dedicated candlelight classes to encourage positive affirmations.
Living in the present
With benefits of meditation including increased focus, clarity of mind and greater productivity, it is no surprise that businesses are taking advantage of its benefits with group-led sessions. In order to remain competitive in today’s market, successful companies need to reduce stress levels, and increased mindfulness can improve teamwork, aid communication and even decrease absenteeism due to illness. Cue the arrival of Work Wellbeing and similar companies bringing meditation to the workplace. On an individual level, mindfulness at work can dissolve office tensions, stimulate creativity and paint a clearer picture of your desired career progression.
Those looking for a dedicated escape from everyday life are also increasingly drawn to mindfulness retreats abroad. Countless resorts and holiday providers now promise to help you focus on the present and develop techniques to take home a long-lasting sense of wellbeing - a souvenir admittedly more valuable than anything you can pack in your suitcase. Researching your next holiday? Look out for tailored retreats that combine mindfulness with beautiful scenery, sea kayaking, surfing, wild camping and all manner of active and cultural pursuits for a restorative getaway that’s unique to you.
Words: Harriet Tisdall