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Photograph: Courtesy Christian Harder

The best places to meditate in NYC

Chill out, focus and gain inner peace at these meditation centers and spas that range from relaxing to mind-blowing

Written by
David Goldberg
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With so many free things to do, NYC may be overwhelming at times. But there are plenty of places to calm down and meditate if you know where to look. We run down the best places to attain a clear head with the pros, including boutique meditation centers, spas and even art museums. Your chill begins now.

Best places to meditate in NYC

  • Sports and fitness
  • Yoga & Pilates

It’s never been easier to make meditation a routine in your life than with this boutique, which runs its 150 weekly sessions with the efficiency of a spin studio. Head to the Upper West Side, Greenwich Village or Williamsburg locations for 30 to 45 minute classes that include Mindfulness 101, Sleep and Mantra. Better buy a class pack or even a membership: You’re about to be an addict.

  • Health and beauty
  • Self-help

At this colorful studio, put a dab of scented oil on your wrist and step into a dome that looks like a set from Dune. Prerecorded audio guides you through phases of movement, breathing and silent meditation as the lights around you change to deepen your experience. It’s like entering a self-improvement planetarium.

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Ben Turshen Meditation
  • Health and beauty
  • Self-help
  • Midtown West

Founded by former attorney Ben Turshen, this center focuses on the ancient Indian practice of Vedic meditation, which uses mantras to calm the multi-tasking mind. First-timers can head to morning and evening intro talks to test the waters, then join four-session courses happening every month. 

Modrn Sanctuary
  • Health and beauty
  • Spas

This new Manhattan space offers yoga, healing, meditation, mindfulness and wellness courses in a state-of-the-art facility. Experience Reiki, acupuncture, Ayurveda, physical therapy and beyond at regular classes with pro practitioners. 

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  • Health and beauty
  • Spas
  • Midtown East

If you’ve visited Spa Castle in Queens, then you know why we’re pumped about this Manhattan location, which opened in late 2014. Occupying floors seven, eight and nine in a midtown building, Spa Castle Premier 57 is the ultimate relaxation mecca. The shoe-free facility (you’ll still have to wear those odd T-shirt/shorts uniforms) features "Sauna Valley," an area boasting six types of rooms (including cold saunas, one paved with gold—seriously—and an infrared lounge), a swim-up full service bar and a year-round roof deck. Day passes (which include access to tubs and other communal areas) are $65. Food, drinks and treatments cost extra. No one under the age of 16 is admitted.

  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers
  • Chelsea

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 $5 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."

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Shambhala Meditation Center
  • Things to do
  • Cultural centers
  • Chelsea

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. Besides running meditation classes on every level, the center has a positively enlightening talks program (“Queer Dharma,” “Sex, Love, and Compassion”), and guest speakers include the spiritually starry likes of Pema Chödrön.

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