Sep 13, 2019 | By Athena Chen
For Millennials, it used to be that heading to a yoga class was THE way to clear our mind and tone our bodies, and then like most things in fast paced cities, that too became a competition. We started to use yoga as a way impress each other ‘I went to the hot yoga at 6am, well I did aerial yoga at 5am’.
Now something else has filled that gap, offering up peace of mind without the added stress: meditation.
We are in a constantly connected world, where our tech so consumes our life that we are now desperately looking for ways to turn down the noise, the deluge of sounds, news, and people constantly seeking our attention. In some cases, we are turning to tech itself for the answer, smartwatches that mute notifications, or apps like Headspace that offer a break from the noise.
In the heart of New York, M N D F L, a meditation studio with multiple branches, is hoping to help consumers achieve peace of mind. With each studio, you enter a serene space, locations are packed with huge windows for maximum light and covered with plants that transport you away from the traffic, trash and loud noises for which the city that never sleeps is famous for. Ahead of time you book your meditation seat (a soft, inviting cushion) much like you would book a bike at a spin class- so you can choose if you want to be at the back, or right by the teacher. After a small gong, it’s meditation time.
Hey BK, we know we just met, but this Sunday we’re ready to get into bed with you. Get excited: Sunday Sound is happening this weekend! What does that mean? 😽 👉🏼@saraauster and @atonalmeditation are taking you on a deeply immersive and meditative 90 minute journey into sound. Come lay down, relax, and bathe in the soothing sounds of crystal and Himalayan singing bowls and tuning forks. #letsgetiton #MNDFLbk #MNDFLnyc
The chain of MNDFL studios was started by Ellie Burrows and her business partner Lodro Rinzler. (Rinzler is the company’s Chief Spiritual Officer, and this is interesting to note because in our report called The Message: States of Mind S/S 18 we called out the rise of the Chief Memory Officer, a role that brands are embracing and investing in, to maintain the brand’s memory and to recall the success of a campaign from years ago, or a design that totally flopped. Will the Chief Spiritual Officer, be the latest much-needed new business role?)
Burrows and Rinzler came up with the concept for MNDFL, after Burrows complained that she couldn’t find a place in the city with that offered a meditation community (without the restrictions to entry like religion or intimidation of the Lululemon workout gear or extreme cost)- it was a classic case of design to solve a problem. The simple idea behind the studios is that they offer you the room to breathe, you even check your cellphone in at the door in case you’re tempted to just check one more email. And the beautiful decor? “It’s part of the message of accessibility that we are trying to create, if it’s a beautiful environment, you’ll want to come everyday, it will seduce you into practicing daily, and being consistent with that practice.” Added to that is the ease of booking online, and the fact that classes are held in the early morning (for New Yorkers who like to be at their desk at the crack of dawn), as well as lunchtime sessions, and post work sessions; MNDFL wants to fit into your day. It also has a regular newsletter like your favourite lifestyle sites, and community events with guest teachers, as well as a feature introducing you to a new community member each time.
There is also a focus on simply being human beings who sit together in a room again. Not on WhatsApp, or scrolling Facebook, not watching your friends lives from afar, but sitting together on cushions with friends and strangers, and holding space for each other. This may seem a little too much like the buzzword of now, ‘self-care’, but we are also in age where people are booking apps to virtually hug you, because we have so forgotten how to revel in human touch.
The popularity of MNDFL (after opening with one branch in 2015, the company just opened their third studio) and other New York meditation studios like INSCAPE (started by retailer founder of Intermix Khajak Keledjian) prove that the demand for peace of mind is there. And the stats back it up.
The Millennial consumer appetite for wellness is at an all time high and while that means a rise in activewear and sneaker purchases, clearing the mind, has now become as important as toning the body. The last five years has seen the Wellness industry rise and rise, last year saw the inaugural Millennial 2020 conference with a focus on boutique gyms that offer more than just a work out for the body, and it also saw the launch of the first Business of Wellness summit in London. In our report of the Top 10: Key Ideas for 2017, (subscribers can read it here) we called out how that for 2017: Being alone, in silence, without distraction, is a luxury, and brands will look to deliver just that.” Then there’s rise of new festivals like Restival which launched last year in Morocco “establishing an innovative fusion of retreat and festival. The five-day event was created with the ‘desire to switch off and step away from a society dictated by technology”. And this trend has no sign of slowing down, in fact it’s the opposite. The last study from the NPD Group showed that wellness is a key demand, revealing that our consumer habits have changed from just dieting or working out, to wanting to create a lifestyle and a life that we love.
MNDFL is hoping to help consumers make that a reality, one inviting cushion at a time.
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