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5 Ways to Stay Sane in New York

Finding calm in the concrete jungle

I recently attended a comedy show at The McKittrick Hotel in Chelsea and a comedian—a young, unassuming Indian woman—took the stage as the opening act. "When you move to New York," she began, "it's like you're signing a waiver to be on one of those survivor shows. As soon as you head out of the door in the morning, you'll never know what's going to break you!" New York is definitely a city that can get under your skin, which is why it's so important to find some balance. Here are five ways that I unplug in one of the most plugged-in cities in the world.

1. Meditate

The Big Quiet
I was first turned on to the meditation community by a good friend of mine. Though I wasn’t a prolific meditator, I can say I have become a devotee in the past year. My entry point was through a group called Medi Club, which produces The Big Quiet—a mass meditation of close to a thousand people, held in different locations around the city. Both movements were started by Jesse Israel, a refreshing spokesperson for the modern meditation movement, though he may shy away from my saying so. “Our generation is burning out from technology overload and constant digital contact,” Jesse says. “As we find ourselves with less and less time to just be, we start to crave quiet and introspection. On a subconscious level, I believe the Millennial meditation trend has to do with bringing back the quiet that we once knew before life with constant connectivity. On a more obvious level, we're seeking meditation as a way to eliminate anxiety because we are experiencing more stress than any other generation in U.S. history.”

If meditating in a large group seems overwhelming, you can look into spaces like MNDFL, a new drop-in meditation studio in Greenwich Village. Co-founders Ellie Burrows and Lodro Rinzler came to the idea of a drop-in studio one day over tea. “[Ellie] posed a very simple question,” Lodro says. “She said, ‘Why can't I drop into a space in NYC that's made for meditation and take a class? Why is it always me committing several hours at a spot that's affiliated with a specific religious organization?’ When Ellie told me she could handle the look and feel of the space if I could bring the teachers and content, I knew MNDFL was ready to be born.”

The Big Quiet, various locations. bigquiet.nyc

MNDFL, 10 E. 8th St., East Village. 212-477-0487; mndflmeditation.com

2. Soak in a Sound Bath

Twisted Trunk Yoga
Sound therapy and sound baths are also growing in popularity. “Everything in life is vibration,” Sara Auster, a certified sound therapy practitioner, says, quoting Einstein. “What happens when you hear your favorite song? Music is powerful. It affects our health and the way we think. Most of us know that upbeat music can help you to exercise harder and slower songs can be soothing, but sound and music actually affect your brain waves, and have the potential to alter your mental and physical states.”

You can join Sara for sound baths at MNDFL (listed above) on Wednesday evenings and on select dates at Twisted Trunk Yoga.

Twisted Trunk Yoga, 580 Broadway, 2nd flr., Soho. twistedtrunkyoga.com

3. Head to the Library

Jefferson Market Library
A few years ago I made a New Year’s resolution to get a library card, as limited apartment space in New York means that I need to limit excessive book buying. A few weeks ago, after a little hiatus (okay, a long hiatus because I had to renew my library card!), I visited two of the New York Public Library (NYPL) branches. How peaceful and awe-inspiring the library can be! After ogling the architecture of the Schwarzman Library and getting lost down its many hallways, I decided to pay a visit to the Jefferson Market Library

, an old Victorian Gothic-style courthouse with generous spiral staircases and cathedral-worthy stained glass. I pulled out a few good books, pulled up a chair at a long, communal wooden table and started to read. If you have an opportunity, I would suggest taking a look at the NYPL’s

exhibitions—like this exploration of Afrofuturism.

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, Fifth Ave. & 42nd St., Midtown. 917-275-6975; nypl.org

Jefferson Market Library, 425 Sixth Ave., Greenwich Village. 212-243-4334; nypl.org

4. Visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Brooklyn Botanic Garden
Though we don’t often think about visiting gardens in winter in the Northeast, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden remains open year round. Mark your calendar for the much-anticipated cherry blossom festival and monitor the trees thanks to CherryWatch Blossom, an up-to-the-minute map on which trees are blooming. Also check out the events calendar for exhibits, yoga sessions, and plant-related seminars and workshops.

Entrances at 990 Washington Ave., 150 Eastern Pkwy. & 455 Flatbush Ave., Brooklyn. bbg.org

5. Take a Walk on the High Line

The High Line
The High Line is an unconventional public park — built on a historic freight rail line above the bustling streets of Manhattan’s West Side. There is something magical about traversing the native greenery, passing through a landscaped urban environment of junipers, crab apples, native sedges and goldenrods. The 14th Street Passage is the space where you can typically can see public programs, such as curated art exhibits and films.

Various entrances from Gansevoort St. to 34th St., West Side of Manhattan. thehighline.org

This post was originally published on SavoteurSavoteur is a digital publication celebrating what makes the world rich and unique - the food, music, art, culture, nightlife, style and travel.

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