Spiritual events in NYC: Buddhism, art, yoga and more

Recharge your spiritual batteries with our Zen guide, featuring our pick of enlightening events in NYC.



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Amma Photograph: Wikimedia Commons/Jean Louis Audebaud

We love the socks off our crazy city, but sometimes New York gets a little—well, crazy. For those seeking serenity in Gotham, we’ve gathered together the best spiritual events in NYC. Watch celebrities grapple with the big philosophical questions in conversation at the Rubin Museum or massage your mind at a Zen center. If you’re trying to kick-start a meditation practice, the city’s top teachers are only a click away. Get busy, people! Just do it calmly.

Maha Rose Summer Celebration and Open House

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Holistic healing center Maha Rose hosts a summer celebration and open house at its Greenpoint HQ—which has been feted by actor Toni Collette, no less! Take advantage of special drop-in rates (30mins $30) from 11am to 6pm for treatments including acupuncture, Reiki and tarot readings; then from 7pm there are free workshops for "laughter yoga" and breathwork, plus a "voice journey" sing-along with Stephanie Rooker. We don't know what that is either, but dang, we're curious.

  1. Maha Rose 97 Green St, between Franklin St and Manhattan Ave, suite G3, 11222
  2. Sat Jul 19
More info

The Tipi Project

  • Critics choice

Located right on the water at Havemeyer Park, the Tipi Project is hosting a series of craft-y workshops and yoga classes throughout summer in, you've guessed it, a Sioux-style tipi. There are relatively straightforward activities (Navajo weaving, a children's music hour) and way-out adventures for the more spiritually inclined (psychic drawing, sacred drum making). Community yoga is by donation, classes start at around $20, and workshops start at $80.

  1. The Tipi Project 329 Kent Ave, at Havemeyer Park, 11211
  2. Fri Jun 20
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"Bodies in Balance: The Art of Tibetan Medicine"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Take a quiz to find out whether your body is guided predominantly by wind, bile or phlegm, the three forces of Tibetan medicine, then follow a customized path through this collection of paintings, medical instruments and texts. The items run from the 9th century to today, with a multimedia overview of present-day applications.

  1. Rubin Museum of Art 150 W 17th St, at Seventh Ave, 10011
  2. Until Mon Sep 8
More info

Inside the Cathedral of St. John the Divine Walking Tour

  • Critics choice

Join Bernie Cohen (of Bernie's New York Walking Tours) on a tour of the historic church, including its Rose Window, historical parapet and Chapels of the Tongues. Meet at northwest corner of 112th St and Amsterdam Ave. Subway: 1 to 110th St–Cathedral Pkwy.

  1. Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine 1047 Amsterdam Ave, at 112th St
More info

The Labyrinth at Marble Collegiate Church

  • Free

While we can’t promise you David Bowie and Sir Didymus, this walkable labyrinth does offer you the chance to get truly centered (rather than completely lost). While we tend to think of labyrinths as elaborate follies created by very rich people, these mazes have been used as meditative tools for thousands of years. The indoor marble creation at Marble Collegiate Church (itself established in the 17th century) echoes a medieval design found in the Chartres Cathedral in France. Walking the route, you’re instructed to clear your mind and focus on your breath; the center is a place of meditation and, if you like, prayer. The church has some pretty stunning stained glass windows too, perfect for reflection of all sorts. Call ahead to confirm.

  1. Fifth Ave, (at 29th St)
More info

“Count Your Blessings: The Art of Prayer Beads in Asia”

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Prayer beads come in a wide variety of sizes and materials, but some of the strands on show here are unbeatably strange. One set, made from the vertebrae of a snake, was likely used in Himalayan shamanic rituals. Another is made from a human skull and was probably employed in wrathful tantric practices. Taken as a whole, though, this exhibition gives essential and visually lovely insight into the ritual use of these unusual pieces.

  1. Rubin Museum of Art 150 W 17th St, at Seventh Ave, 10011
  2. Mon Jun 9
More info

Maha Rose

Peaceful, pretty neighborhood venue Maha Rose is a real oasis of calm in Greenpoint, offering an array of healing modalities that run the gamut from yoga classes, acupuncture and reiki sessions to more out-there techniques such as hypnotherapy, tarot and breath work.

  1. 97 Green St, suite G3, (between Franklin St and Manhattan Ave), 11222
More info

Shambhala Meditation Center

  • Price band: 4/4

This meditational mainstay was founded in NYC in 1971 by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche—the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader who revolutionized the way Buddhist meditation was taught in the ’70s in the West. Besides running meditation classes on every level, the center has a positively enlightening talks program, the Tuesday Weekly Dharma Gathering (“Queer Dharma,” “Sex, Love, and Compassion”), and guest speakers include the spiritually starry likes of Pema Chödrön.

  1. 118 W 22nd St, sixth floor, (between Sixth and Seventh Aves)
More info

Kadampa Meditation Center

An eight-foot golden statue of the Buddha glows in the center of the meditation room at Kadampa Meditation Center, a serene space in Chelsea. Originally founded in 1994 by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, the studio was first located in a graffiti-covered dance studio, two blocks away from its present home, which opened in 2012. Besides daily meditation classes (it only costs $4 for a spot at lunchtime), the center offers a variety of retreats and courses with such promising titles as "How to Have a Wonderful Life," plus a Sunday session for children called "Dharma for Kids."

  1. 127 W 24th Street, (between Sixth and Seventh Aves), 10011
More info

Brooklyn Zen Center

If you’re constantly being told to chill out, it may be time to check out this Park Slope meditation haven. Whether you’re simply curious about the practice or are a lifelong Buddhist, the BZC aims to accommodate you in its community, offering daily meditation meetings (zazen), stacks of courses covering the basics of Zen Buddhism and practical workshops. The center also hosts concerts in addition to classes and talks.

  1. 505 Carroll St, (between Third and Fourth Aves)
More info

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