the future is now

I Tried It: 33 Minutes Of Digital Meditation At Manhattan's Newest Wellness Hotspot

A modern meditation studio smack in the middle of Manhattan. Worth a visit? In short: Yes.

I recently traveled to New York to meet some friends and work from a different place for a few days. (Sometimes, it takes getting outside our day-to-day lives for the creativity to flow, right?) As I flipped through New York magazine on the plane over, I came across an article written about Inscape, a new meditation studio located in the Flatiron District. Inscape, I read, aims to take meditation mainstream by offering people a sanctuary to learn and practice, and, like many modern yoga studios, boasts various modalities of meditation, including mantra, deep sound, visualization, deep breath, mindfulness and more. I knew I had to go.

Inscape is everything the city is not: Spacious, calm, clean and pleasantly scented. Arriving at the the studio is akin to walking into a high-end spa; you feel transformed just by entering the space. The minimalist reception area doubles as a well-curated wellness shop: The walls are lined with shelves full of essential oils, luxe candles and products from coveted wellness brands, like Moon Juice.

I had registered online for the Mindfulness Meditation class taking place in The Dome. Inspired by “the mood in the temple at Burning Man”, The Dome features natural components of wood and sacred geometry highlighted by warm, colorful lighting. Cozy bean bags and super-soft cotton-wool blend blankets contribute to a cozy, womb-like feeling. (Side note: I now feel inspired to redesign my home.)

After everyone enters the space and gets comfortable, a facilitator offers up a greeting before a digital guru comes in through the surround sound speakers and begins the session. (Here is where I got a little lost, and why I find myself still undecided on how I feel about Inscape as a meditation studio.) There was a soothing tone in that digital voice as it guided our meditation through a series of movements and breathing exercises, and quiet time to simply meditate on our own. Yet a couple times the thoughts I found bubbling up were, “Why is there a facilitator?” “What is her purpose?” “What is my purpose?” Just as my mind started to wander, the digital voice would come in and say something along the lines of, “If your mind has started to wander, allow yourself to come back to your breath.” She wasn’t wrong, but the voice was somewhat strange to me. I yearned for more human interaction as our facilitator sat with us in the middle of the room on a special pillow labeled “Facilitator” (just in case we forgot who she was). When the 33-minute meditation was complete, she chimed in to give gratitude for our presence, and that was the end.

Despite my inability to fully embrace the digital voice, I still really love the concept; it was a great way to reset in the middle of a busy day in the city. I left feeling relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on the next meeting. As someone who practices transcendental mediation, I believe that meditation is something we can all benefit from. All in all: Inscape is, actually, a true “escape” inward (hence the name).

And if you can’t make it to Inscape in New York, never fear: The studio has an app so you can carry that soothing digital voice around with you wherever you go.

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