Meditation has become a real buzzword, but is it just another wellbeing trend or is there more to it? The Resident talks to London’s meditation and mindfulness experts to see why it’s become so popular, the benefits for stressed out city dwellers and where you can try it for yourself…
In today’s crazy, busy world, we’re constantly moving from one thing to the next. We very rarely, if ever, slow down to breathe let alone process how we’re filling our days. This inability to slow down is causing us to ignore our stresses and anxieties instead of dealing with them when they appear.
But people have begun trying to figure out how to slow down and pay more attention to their mental health. One way to do this is by picking up the practice of meditation.
At a time when the world has never been busier (especially for those living in a city), people are starting to look towards meditation centres and experts to slow everything down. Two London-based meditation specialists, the Reset Button and Inhere Studios, are run by women who fell into meditation when their lives grew far too stressful and negative. Both offer spaces for Londoners to retreat to in order to press pause on their busy lives.
Rachel Le Feuvre created the Reset Button, a health retreat that sets you up in various European locations with the goal to help you relax and learn how to use meditation to better your life back home.
‘Stress forces our minds to narrow, even though our minds are being pulled in a thousand different ways at the same time,’ Le Feuvre says. ‘Mindfulness is about retraining our attention to the present moment, by doing this, we can become calmer and our focus becomes broader.’
After the success of her retreats, Le Feuvre began offering health workshops around London, and is now offering online Mindfulness courses which can be used at your convenience. ‘With the clutter of modern life drawing our attention in a million directions, I wanted to create alternative therapies for professionals to use that are effective, enjoyable and straight-talking,’ Le Feuvre says.
Mindfulness is about retraining our attention to the present moment, by doing this, we can become calmer and our focus becomes broader
Inhere Studios was created by Adiba Osmani with the intention of combating the busyness of the world. ‘People living busy city lives, by definition, are rushed, under pressure, and consumed by all the busyness. Meditation helps to gather the awareness out of mayhem, and instead find a space outside of it from which we can watch the busyness of our minds, rather than be pushed around by it,’ Osmani says.
Osmani created Inhere Studios with the goal of creating a place where London professionals can always feel relaxed and welcome. At Inhere Studios, you can attend sessions up to 30 minutes or as short as five, where soothing soundscapes and easy-to-follow audio tracks play as you are walked through breathing and meditation exercises.
‘Just at the time people need it most, science is validating how meditation can help them to improve the quality of our mental state, and to help manage our lives,’ says Osmani. ‘Meditation helps to reduce stress and anxiety, making us more focused, more compassionate and generally increasing our quality of living.’
The Reset Button offers workshops in London and European retreats. Call 0787 2456 779 or see theresetbutton.co.uk
Inhere Studios, 36 Mary St at Hill EC3R 8DU; inherestudio.com
& classes in London
1 Inner Space, Covent Garden & the City
At Inner Space in Covent Garden and the City, you can learn how to meditate or take lunchtime and evening guided meditation sessions, as well as time management classes, people skills classes and sessions on how to boost your self esteem. It’s a great place to learn how to get your stress and anxiety under control and boost your vitality.
36 Shorts Gardens WC2H 9AB & Templeton House, 33-34 Chiswell Street EC1Y 4SB; innerspace.org.uk
2 School of Meditation
The School of Meditation on Holland Park Avenue offers introductory courses to teach you more about mediation before you make the commitment to the centre.
158 Holland Park Avenue W11 4UH; 020 7603 6116; schoolofmeditation.org
3 London Meditation Centre
London Meditation Centre in Kensington focuses on Vedic Meditation, and offers an informative hour-long discussion where you can decide on whether you want to attend a basic course or not.
10 Kendrick Mews, Kensington SW7 3HG; londonmeditationcentre.com
4 North London Buddhist Centre
North London Buddhist Centre on Holloway Road offers meditation classes and the chance to learn more about Buddhism.
72 Holloway Road N7 8JG; 020 7700 1177; northlondonbuddhistcentre.com
5 Kadampa Meditation Centre
Kadampa Meditation Centre in Morden offers meditation classes, workshops, retreats and more information about Buddhism.
1a Ashridge Way, Morden SM4 4EF; 020 8540 0049; kmclondon.org
6 Will Williams Meditation
Will Williams offers group meditation classes with a twist. The one-off sessions are usually centred around a legendary album and held in a location significant to its history. Past sessions have taken place at RAK Studios in north west London, where Radiohead recorded The Bends album in 1994, followed by the chance to listen to the record in full in a heightened state of awareness; and also at The Jazz Cafe, followed by a listen-through of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
you can TRY at home
1 Meditation Apps
There are tons of meditation apps out there for you to check out and try, but perhaps the best two are Headspace and Insight Timer. Both offer guided and unguided meditation videos and audio tracks that you can tailor to your specific desires. Headspace gives you the ability to try out their tracks for 10-days before committing, along with SOS meditation videos for your times of desperation once you’ve subscribed. Insight Timer allows you to connect with meditators around the world and world-class meditation teachers while using their meditation videos and tracks. Both are very good at introducing you to the art of meditation, and by residing in your back pocket, are super convenient.
2 Techniques to try at home
If you don’t want to download an app and still don’t really have time to go to a studio, there are plenty of easy techniques you can try on your own to help you slow down and take a moment to appreciate what’s occurring around you. Many experts say the best thing you can do is to take a couple of minutes and just breathe — all the way in and all the way out.
3 Focus on an object
Adiba Osmani of Inhere Studios suggests you pick an object and maintain your focus on it for three minutes. Whether that’s a favourite view from a window, a plant or your breath, maintain that focus and every time your mind wanders, bring it back to the object. She believes ‘this is a fantastic workout for the mind’, and is a great start to meditating on a regular basis.
4 Listen to your surroundings
Le Feuvre suggests you simply listen to your surrounding environment. She advises you to ‘close your eyes and open your ears to see what you can hear. Be open to every kind of noise. Instead of judging or labeling anything you can hear, try listening to the rhythm and tone of the sound.’