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The Best Meditation in New York

Photo-Illustration: Curbed; Photos: Getty

For a Good Cry

Good Move + TherapART, 43 S. 4th St., Williamsburg;;

To clear any negative energy, every person who walks into TherapArt’s Ceremony of You class at Brooklyn dance school Good Move is saged. Then the class, which is offered monthly and co-led by performance artist Ashley Rucker and dancer Robert Vail, begins with a 15-minute guided meditation, building to art therapy (students might, for instance, write a letter to a loved one) and ending with a Soul Train line. It’s not uncommon for people to express intense emotions during class. “Often I walk in feeling tense, uptight, and like I’m holding onto a ball of energy in my throat or in my body,” says director Madeline Clayton. “But through the class, you literally move through each part of the body, guided by breath, to unlock these sticky bits. It’s a true release. I’ve burst out crying during class, I’ve laughed, I’ve screamed at the top of my lungs.” Creative producer Nicole Napolitano says the movement allows her to stay present more than a typical meditation class. “It’s playful and powerful,” she says. (From $15.)

For Breakups

Three Jewels, 5 E. 3rd St.;

Though Ashley Rucker runs her own meditation practice, she goes regularly to Three Jewels — a Tibetan Buddhist–influenced meditation studio — for its “purification meditation class” to help process her breakup. In the Purify class, students work to “disrupt and eliminate” negative thoughts about people who’ve hurt them by mentally giving them love and compassion instead. “The teachers take you into this almost hypnosis, with the breath, with the mind, and with this intense visualization,” says Rucker. “You imagine the person who hurt you sitting in front of you. You imagine all the suffering within their body. Then you take a deep breath and inhale all of their suffering and take that away from them.” Her feelings toward her ex-partner have completely changed, she says. “I no longer see him as a person who has hurt me or made me sad. And in turn, my heart isn’t heavy anymore.” (In-person classes are $20; livestream classes are free/by donation.)

For Sound Meditation

Awarehouse, 225 Starr St., Bushwick;

Instructor-couple Christine Alfred and Bobby Picciotto begin their two-hour sound meditation classes, held once or twice a month in their Bushwick studio, Awarehouse (sometimes aligned with the new or full moon), by playing a shruti box, a small organlike instrument common in Indian classical music, and inviting people to hum along. From there, they switch instruments intuitively, playing gongs, chimes, Tibetan singing bowls, finger pianos, drums, and tuning forks over people’s prone bodies. (Their methodology is inspired by sound healers Jonathan Goldman and Alexandre Tannous.) During this, some people see colors or geometric shapes; others feel pulsing in their bodies. Sabrina Greig, who works in curatorial affairs at the Brooklyn Museum and has been going to other Awarehouse classes for past two years, says that “after class, I feel grounded — and am prepared to think more long term and holistically about what’s going on in my life.” Social worker Melissa Delizia feels the same: “The instructors are so thoughtful about teaching skills and giving tools that we can use outside of class, like how to pay careful attention to the breath and draw your awareness back to the present. I’ve passed so much of what I’ve learned from Bobby and Christine onto my clients.” According to Jené, a musician, Christine and Bobby perform Reiki on each person in the class. “When I leave, I feel like I’m starting with a clear mind and heart, free of anything toxic or that was a burden. It’s a whole mind and body release.” (From $40; some need-based scholarships are available for students.)

For Manifesting Abundance

Manjit Devgun;

Manjit Devgun’s hypnosis meditation classes are especially popular among executives with specific objectives. (She has clients at Google, Chanel, Gates Ventures, and Squarespace.) During the class, Devgun uses hypnosis techniques — repetition, breathwork, music — to lull her students into a state of semi-awareness, then she helps them figure out what is blocking their goals. (Many of them are looking to access peak performance, unblock creativity, or “manifest abundance.”) One client, a partner at a private-equity firm who asked to remain anonymous, has been doing private sessions with her once every two weeks for over two years. She says that even as an active participant, you almost don’t realize you’ve been hypnotized until you’re out of it. Another incentive for busy clients: Devgun also offers meditations you can play anywhere. “It’s a music audio file that you can keep in your email and play back as many times as you want to,” the private-equity partner says. “If I’m traveling and I’m feeling anxious about a meeting or trying to work through a solution to something that’s causing me stress or I can’t fall asleep, I turn to it.” (From $18 at HealHaus; from $20 at The Well.)

For Calm

Carlos Alberto;

When visiting New York in December 2020, executive coach Maria Glenn’s friend brought her to a meditation session with Carlos Alberto, who teaches regularly at various wellness centers around the city (including HealHaus and the Well). Glenn has regularly meditated (she’s practiced Transcendental Meditation, a form of silent mantra meditation, for 20 minutes twice a day for over 25 years) but immediately loved Alberto’s style. “Carlos has taught me that I don’t have to always meditate for a full 20 minutes a day — that three to five rounds of breath is sometimes all you need.” Time to Manifest, Alberto’s remote Sunday-morning class, regularly leaves her feeling peaceful and grateful, she says — and has helped her get through potentially challenging situations with a new ease. Recently, for instance, “I went to a family reunion. We are very different politically and philosophically. I practiced manifesting peace and harmony with the group beforehand and was able to get through the week with nothing but love and acceptance. Not one meltdown.” (From $8 at Time to Sit; by donation at the Meditation Lab; from $18 at HealHaus; from $20 at The Well.)

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The Best Meditation in New York