We Tried It: Lunchtime Meditation

Is meditation the new yoga?

Holding still is really hard; shutting your mind off for a bit is even harder. And to attempt either while life is demanding so much from you—meal planning, work deadlines, trying to actually have friends and making sure it’s all well-documented on Instagram—can sometimes feel impossible. So it’s not surprising that meditation studios and tools for mindfulness are becoming a standard part of urbanites’ ongoing quest for wellness—juicing and yoga can only take us so far.Meditation has obviously been around for thousands of years as part of various spiritual practices, but as of late, you may have noticed meditation has shed its historic and hippie roots for something a little more minimalist-chic (just peep popular New York studios like MNDFL and InScape). That’s not to say that meditation has become shallow, but rather that a growing group of entrepreneurs (incredibly centred entrepreneurs, that is) are realizing the value of creating spaces that are inviting to the wellness-curious and suitable for busy lives.One such beautiful modern studio is Gastown’s Moment Meditation. Open since October, the bright and airy space in the Dominion building offers guided classes (choose between drop-in rates, an unlimited monthly membership, or a 10-class pass) and quiet spaces for self- or audio-guided sessions. Classes focus on happiness, focus or calmness, and are often offered in convenient 30-minute lunch-time blocks which are followed by lunch from Say Hey Cafe. Get in, get centred, get fed, get out. (Photo: Alexa Mazzarello.)It was this lunch-hour class that I tried out this week. While going during the height of allergy season was perhaps not the wisest choice (apologies to my fellow meditators for the sneeze fits), it was still a beautiful thing to be able to step out of the office mid-day, turn off my phone, and try, however unsuccessfully, to turn off my brain, too. Owner Anita Cheung led this particular class, and got us started by asking us to draw to music with our eyes closed. She then directed us gently to focus attention on the little things—the feeling in our toes, the rhythm of our breath. Overall: very, very chill, except when someone insisted on getting up for more kleenex. (Me. It was me.)Did I reach a higher plane? No. (Did I learn that I need to load up on antihistamines before I allow myself to go out in public? Yes.) But it was lovely nonetheless. Cross legged on cushy, low-slung armless chairs, with a cozy blanket at the ready and mid-day sun streaming through the window, it was a serious step up from eating at my desk…and one tiny step towards learning to pause. (Photo: Alexa Mazzarello.)Meditation is definitely something that takes practice; focusing inward (especially with a week to go before a publication deadline, or a list of afternoon appointments you can’t stop thinking about, or terribly inflamed sinuses) isn’t something you can master in a day. But maybe with studios like Moment, it’s something you can master one lunch break at a time.$20 for a drop-in class, $35 for a “Lunch Date and Meditate” session. Check out the full class schedule and pricing at momentmeditation.com